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    Wildcats Fall in Rubber Match to Ohio State, 6-2

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Nick Linne drove in both Northwestern runs with a second-inning single Monday.
    Nick Linne drove in both Northwestern runs with a second-inning single Monday.

    May 6, 2013

    Box Score

    Watch: Game Highlights

     vs. Ohio State
     Box Score  OSU 6, NU 2
     Records  NU 20-20 (8-13 B1G), OSU 32-14 (14-7 B1G)
     Next Game
     at UIC (Chicago, Ill.), May 7, 7:00 p.m.

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern carried a narrow one-run lead into the eighth inning Monday, but the Wildcats could not maintain the slim advantage as they fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the finale of a three-game series at Rocky Miller Park, 6-2.

    OSU's Kirby Pellant delivered a three-run home run over the wall in right field with one out in the top of the eighth to give Ohio State a two-run lead, its first of the day. The Buckeyes added another unearned tally in the frame and one more in the top of the ninth to set the final margin of victory.

    Northwestern jumped out to a 2-0 lead during the Monday matinee with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. The stanza started when Jack Havey and Scott Heelan drew back-to-back walks. Zach Jones reached on a fielder's choice and both he and Heelan advanced to second and third, respectively, on a grounder to third by Luke Dauch. NU's third baseman, Nick Linne, then delivered an RBI single to plate both runners and give the home team an early lead.

    Ohio State Game Three Highlights

    For a while it looked like those runs would be sufficient to support starting pitcher Zach Morton. The fifth-year senior retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced with relative ease before running into a brief scare in the top of the fifth. Morton issued two straight free passes to open the inning, but made up for it with an outstanding defensive play. He fielded a sacrifice bunt attempt and fired to Linne in time to cut down the lead runner for the first out. The Evanston, Ill., native got the next hitter to line to Havey for an unassisted, inning-ending double play.

    On the other side, Ohio State's Jaron Long settled down after his shaky second inning. The right-hander was cruising until Trevor Stevens reached on an error with one down in the bottom of the fifth. The senior speedster was thrown out for only the second time this season as he tried to steal second base with Kyle Ruchim at the plate. Ruchim walked to reach safely for the third-straight at-bat, but he too was gunned down trying to swipe second against Long and catcher Aaron Gretz.

    Ohio State finally touched Morton for a run in the top of the sixth, and did so without the benefit of a base hit. The first batter, Brad Hallberg, was hit by a pitch and the second, Joe Ciamacco, walked. Hallberg eventually scored on a wild pitch two batters later with Pellant at the dish.

    Later, Morton allowed a lead-off double to begin the seventh inning, but he bailed himself out once again by getting a ground ball back to the mound and a big strikeout of Tim Wetzel to end the trouble with a runner stranded on third base.

    In the home half, Long recorded three of his eight strikeouts when he sent the Wildcats down in order as they tried to extend one-run lead the lead.

    The troublesome eighth inning began for OSU when Hallberg singled sharply up the middle on the first pitch from Morton. Ciamacco singled to left field to set up another situation for the Buckeyes to bunt the runners over. As he did back in the fifth inning, Morton fielded the attempt and threw over to Linne in time to get pinch runner Craig Nennig.

    At that point, NU head coach Paul Stevens made an array of defensive changes that sent Morton to second base, Ruchim from second base to the mound, Jack Quigley into center field and Jake Schieber into right field. Pellant stepped to the plate and calmly launched the go-ahead homer on just the second pitch he saw for his second big fly of the season.

    Pellant also drove in OSU's ninth-inning run on an infield single on a hit the trickled just over the outstretched glove of NU reliever Jack Livingston.

    Morton was the hard-luck loser on the mound for Northwestern. In his final career start at Rocky Miller Park, the Evanston Township H.S. graduate turned in yet another quality start as he allowed just three runs on four hits over 7.1 innings Monday. He struck out three Buckeyes during his outing.

    Long picked up his sixth win for the Buckeyes. He allowed just the two second-inning runs on five hits, while striking out eight.

    The Wildcats will hit the road tomorrow evening and travel to Les Miller Field for a nonconference tilt against the UIC Flames at 7:05 p.m. Northwestern will return home on Wednesday afternoon for its fifth game in as many days in the finale at Rocky Miller Park against the Chicago Maroons. The first pitch in that contest is set for 3 p.m.


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