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    Wildcats Extinguish Flames in Extra-Inning Thriller

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Scott Heelan hit his first career home run in Northwestern's win over UIC Tuesday.
    Scott Heelan hit his first career home run in Northwestern's win over UIC Tuesday.

    May 7, 2013

     at UIC
     Box Score  NU 5, UIC 3 (11)
     Records  NU 21-20 (8-13 B1G), UIC 21-25 (8-10 Horizon League)
     Next Game
     vs. Chicago (Evanston, Ill.), May 8, 3:00 p.m.

    CHICAGO -- The relentless Wildcats battled from behind to take a two-run lead and after the UIC Flames rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, Northwestern finally won the nonconference affair in the 11th inning Tuesday to sweep the season series from its crosstown rival with a 5-3 victory at Les Miller Field.

    Jack Livingston made just his second start of the season as the designated hitter for Northwestern and he rewarded head coach Paul Stevens' confidence in a big way Tuesday. The Kalamazoo, Mich., native smashed a double to the gap in left-center field in the top of the 11th inning off UIC's Joey Begel to bring home two runs and help his team escape Les Miller Field with a hard-fought victory. Scott Heelan scored from second on the hit, while Zach Jones motored home all the way from first base.

    Livingston was one of three Northwestern players with two hits in the ballgame, joining Jack Mitchell and Heelan. It was the theatrics of the latter pair that gave the 'Cats a chance to win in the first place. More on that in a moment.

    The Flames struck first with a run in the opening inning against Northwestern's Reed Mason. The first three batters Mason faced all recorded singles to lead off the game with Tyler Detmer's line drive to left field driving in shortstop John Coen for the game's first tally.

    After five scoreless innings, the Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard with one mighty swing of the bat. On a full-count pitch, NU catcher Scott Heelan took UIC's Mike Schoolcraft deep over the wall in left field for not only his first home run of the season, but the first of his collegiate career.

    Northwestern picked up another run via a solo shot in the top of the seventh inning to take its first lead of the evening. This time it was the left fielder Mitchell who was able to poke out his second home run of the year off relief pitcher Ian Lewandowski. UIC left fielder Carl Sugihara made a tremendous effort to scale the wall and try to save the run with a leaping grab, but Mitchell's blast had just enough pop to get out of the ballpark.

    While relief pitcher Ethan Bramschreiber continued to mow down the Flames lineup, his own offense added to its cushion again in the top of the eighth. Trevor Stevens drew a lead-off walk and advanced to third when Kyle Ruchim roped a line drive to left-center field. Jack Havey put a charge into an offering from Jack Andersen that sailed deep enough to the outfield to score Stevens easily and give NU a 3-1 lead.

    Bramschreiber got a fly ball to right field for the first out in the bottom of the ninth before the Flames mounted a game-tying comeback. After the Glendora, Calif., native tossed a career-best 4.1 innings, Northwestern summoned Jack Quigley from the bullpen to try to nail down the victory. The submarine-style thrower uncharacteristically issued back-to-back walks to open his appearance. Quigley struck out Coen for the second out, but UIC still would not go quietly.

    Zenon Kolakowski delivered a two-out RBI single to left field to pull the home team within a run. The next batter, Detmer, found a hole in right field to allow Ryan Shober to score and tie the game at 3-3. Quigley then struck out Ryan Boss looking to end the ninth and force extra innings on a beautiful evening in Chicago.

    Neither team was able to generate much offense in the 10th inning. The Wildcats were retired in order before UIC opened its half with a lead-off single up the middle by Alex De LaRosa. De LaRosa tried to steal second base, but Heelan wouldn't allow it and he threw out the would-be base stealer. Quigley got two more quick outs to end the inning.

    Northwestern took the lead back with Livingston's big effort in the top of the 11th, but the pesky Flames still would not succumb to the Wildcats. Quigley struck out the first batter he faced and got the second to fly out to Jones in right field. Coen singled up the middle to give the home team hope and prompt Stevens to tap left-hander Dan Tyson to face the left-handed hitting Kolakowski. Tyson got the best of Kolakowski in a lengthy at-bat by getting the outfielder to strike out swinging to end the ballgame.

    Quigley notched his first win of the season and matched a season-high with three strikeouts in 2.1 innings pitched. Tyson picked up his second save of the season to tie him with Bramschreiber for second on the team behind Ruchim, who has three. Bramschreiber matched matched a career high with four strikeouts in the win.

    Northwestern returns home on Wednesday afternoon to Rocky Miller Park in order to conclude its stretch of five games in as many days with a tilt against the University of Chicago Maroons at 3 p.m.


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