May 6, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Despite playing its fifth game in four days and coming off a heart-breaking loss, the Northwestern baseball team had enough left in its tank to easily dispose of Elmhurst 15-4 Tuesday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park. Rob Campbell and Max Mann led the Wildcats with three hits apiece.
NU (18-23) tied a season high for hits in a regulation game with 17 in the contest. The Wildcats collected 20 hits in a 10-inning victory over Oklahoma State March 1. Northwestern was also aided by six Elmhurst errors in Tuesday's contest.
Coming off tough 10-9 loss at Illinois in the finale of a four-game series Monday, Northwestern jumped on the Bluejays and starter Dan Napientek for four runs in the bottom of the first. After the first two batters were retired, Jake Goebbert was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Chris Lashmet. Nate Roberts, Mann and Campbell each followed with RBI singles.
Elmhurst got one run back against Matt Gailey in the top of the second inning before the Wildcats broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the third.
With runners on first and second and no one out, Mann bunted for a hit and Lashmet came around to score on a throwing error on the play. Despite not being known as a speed merchent, Campbell then posted his first of two triples on the day to score a pair and make it 7-1. Tony Vercelli brought home Campbell with a single to center before Tommy Finn later added a sacrifice fly.
NU tallied its 10th run in the fourth when Brant Cavagnaro just missed a home run and settled for a double to open the frame. He later scored on a passed ball.
The Bluejays tallied one run in the fifth off reliever Brian Morgan before Northwestern scored two in the bottom half on sac flies by Goebbert and Cavagnaro.
Senior infielder Jake Owens made his first collegiate appearance on the mound in the sixth inning, coming on with one out. The hard-throwing righty worked around a pair of walks to get a strikeout and groundout to hold the Bluejays scoreless.
Campbell's second three-base hit of the contest to open the sixth led to the Wildcats' 13th run before Elmhurst completed its scoring with two in the top of the seventh.
The damage could have been worse had it not been for the defensive play of the game by Cavagnaro. With runners and second and third and one out, the freshman left fielder made a long running catch along the fence in foul territory. Tom Rhein attempted to tag from third and score on the play, but Cavagnaro fired a missle to Vercelli at the plate who applied the tag for the third out to complete the double play.
NU finished the game's scoring in its half of the seventh, getting the two runs right back when Jim Grieco scored on an error and Vercelli contributed the team's fourth sacrifice fly of the contest.
Goebbert and Jonathan Purcell each worked an inning on the bump to finish off the win. Gailey tossed the first four innings, allowing three hits and one run to earn his first collegiate win.
Owens had one hit to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
Northwestern returns to action at 3 p.m. Friday when it opens its final home series of the season against Indiana.