May 1, 2012
Site: Geneva, Ill. (Fifth Third Bank Ballpark)
Score: Northwestern 2, Northern Illinois 1
Records: NU (15-26), Northern Illinois (13-31)
Next NU Event: Wednesday, May 2 - vs. Oakland (Rocky Miller Park), 3 p.m.
GENEVA, Ill. -- Luke Farrell tossed six scoreless innings and Northwestern got solo tallies in the first and ninth innings to defeat Northern Illinois 2-1 Tuesday evening at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Following an entertaining 90-minute rain delay prior to first pitch that saw both squads perform numerous skits, the Wildcats scored first in the top of the first inning. NIU starter Tom Barry struggled with his command, issuing three walks, including one with the bases loaded to Geoff Rowan to force in a run. Northwestern nearly got more, but Nick Linne was robbed of a hit by Huskie third baseman Troy White.
The Wildcats threatened again in the second inning, putting two on with one out, but Paul Snieder was robbed of at least one RBI on a terrific diving grab by Northern Illinois right fielder Alex Beckmann.
Meanwhile, Farrell got off to a solid start, working around a single in the bottom of the first to face the minimum the first time through the lineup. NIU got a leadoff single from Jamison Wells in the fourth, but Farrell got a strikeout to leave the tying run stranded at third.
The Huskies put their leadoff man aboard for the third time in the fifth inning as Farrell hit Jeff Zimmerman with a pitch. A one-out double by Connor Duckhorn gave NIU two in scoring position, but Farrell worked his way out of the jam by getting back-to-back strikeouts to maintain Northwestern's one-run lead.
Northern Illinois threatened again in the sixth as Jamison Wells started the inning with his third hit of the game, but Geoff Rowan gunned him down attempting to steal second for the first out. With two away, the Huskies got a single and a walk to put two men aboard, but Rowan nabbed Alex Jones attempting to swipe third to end the inning.
Northwestern had little luck offensively after the opening two innings of play but Farrell made the one-run advantage hold up before giving way to Michael Jahns
to start the seventh.
Jahns worked scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth before the Wildcats added a big insurance run in the top of the ninth. Cody Stevens drew a two-out walk, stole second and advanced to third when the catcher's throw got away. Hamilton Wise followed with a smash down the third base line and White made a diving stop, but his throw to first was off the mark allowing Stevens to score to make it 2-0.
The run proved huge as NIU got a one-out single to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Kyle Ruchim came on to replace Jahns on the mound and allowed a wild pitch before Alex Klonowski hit a two-out RBI single to end the shutout bid and put the tying run on base. However, Ruchim got a strikeout to end the contest and earn his seventh save of the season.
Farrell worked six scoreless innings, scattering five hits and allowing one walk while striking out six to pick up the win and improve to 2-3.
Northwestern returns to action at 3 p.m. Wednesday as it hosts Oakland at Rocky Miller Park.
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