May 6, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's Dan Tyson struck out a career-high seven batters and matched a career high with 8.1 innings pitched as the Wildcats bested the Chicago Maroons in a nonconference clash at Rocky Miller Park Tuesday, 2-1.
Tyson cruised through the first 2.2 innings Tuesday before running into a tight spot for the first time in the top of the third. Chicago's Thomas Prescott reached on an error with two outs before Dylan Massey recorded his team's first hit of the ballgame. The senior shook off the minor dose of adversity by firing off his first strikeout of the game, getting Nicholas Toomey to go down swinging.
In the top of the fifth, Edward Akers tripled for the Maroons with two away to give the visitors their first runner at third base in the game. Once again, Tyson got a pivotal punchout when he really needed it by striking out Prescott swinging to end the frame.
Northwestern had its chances to score early on, but it left a man on base in each of the first four frames. The Wildcats finally broke through against U of C starter Alex Terry in the bottom of the fifth. Right fielder Jake Schieber led off the home-half with a bunt single and he then proceeded to steal his third base of the season, swiping second with Nick Linne at the dish. The 'Cats' veteran third baseman delivered the game's first run by lacing a single into center field that allowed Schieber to score and give NU a 1-0 lead.
For the time being, the one-run cushion was all that Tyson would need. The left-hander retired six in a row after Akers' three-bagger, but even after giving up back-to-back hits with two outs in the top of the seventh, he got a foul out to Schieber to end that inning. The Maroons later had runners at the corners with two gone in the top of the eighth, but on cue, Tyson notched his career-high seventh strikeout, sending down Ricky Troncelliti swinging to end that half-inning.
The Wildcats added a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Walker Moses led off with a double over the head of Chicago's left fielder and the visitors called upon Ray Kim to try and strand him there. Cody Stevens was able to sacrifice Moses to third base before first baseman Matt Hopfner sent a chopper past a drawn-in infield to bring him home and give Northwestern a 2-0 advantage.
Tyson climbed the hill once again to open the top of the ninth in search of his first career complete game. Brett Huff led off the ninth with a single and a sacrifice bunt put him in scoring position with only one out. Huff's single to right field was the first time all afternoon that the leadoff hitter in a particular inning reached against the southpaw. Another single gave Chicago runners at the corners with one away and at that point NU called upon closer Jack Quigley to get the final two outs.
Akers was able to hit a RBI groundout to Stevens at shortstop, but Quigley fanned pinch hitter Connor Bartelman to end the game and lock down his sixth save of the season.
Tyson picked up his career-high fourth win for the Wildcats, also the most on the club this season. He scattered seven hits and walked only one, while preserving the bulk of Northwestern's bullpen with 8.1 strong innings.
Scott Heelan and Stevens each had two hits for NU Tuesday. Heelan has been on fire at the plate over the past month. Since April 5, the redshirt junior is batting .421 (32-for-76) for his team with six doubles and 12 RBI in 20 games.
The Wildcats will make a short trip tomorrow night to play their final nonconference road game of the season. Northwestern will head south to take on the UIC Flames at 6:05 p.m. at Curtis Granderson Stadium. Right-hander Nick Friar is expected to get the call on the mound for Northwestern, opposed by UIC's right-hander Brian evak. NU swept the season series from the Flames a year ago, winning 3-1 at Rocky Miller Park in April and 5-3 (11) in the city in May.
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