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    Northwestern Stumbles in Home Finale, 9-7

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM The Wildcats played their final home game of the season Wednesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    The Wildcats played their final home game of the season Wednesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    May 8, 2013

    Watch: Chicago Game Highlights

     vs. Chicago
     Box Score  UC 9, NU 7
     Records  NU 21-21 (8-13 B1G), UC 24-12
     Next Game
     at No. 14 Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), May 10, 5:05 p.m.

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern fell into a seven-run hole after five-and-a-half innings and the Wildcats were unable to claw all the way out as they fell to the Chicago Maroons in the final home game of the season at Rocky Miller Park Wednesday, 9-7.

    Chicago jumped on Wildcats starter Matt Portland for three runs in the first inning, but the home team was able to answer. Trevor Stevens led off the bottom of the first with his first triple of the season deep to right field. Kyle Ruchim wasted little time getting him in with a sacrifice fly to left field that sliced the deficit to two runs in a hurry.

    The Maroons added two more scores in the second inning and another run with two outs in third to take a sizable 6-1 lead. The 'Cats would chip away again in their half of the third when Walker Moses doubled to left to kick off the inning. Moses advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stevens and scored on Ruchim's second sacrifice fly in as many plate appearances. That tally made it 6-2 after three innings.

    Chicago Game Highlights

    Portland slowed Chicago's bats in the fourth inning by holding them off the scoreboard for the first time all day; it was only after Northwestern dipped into its bullpen that the Maroons began to come alive again. The visitors scored three unearned runs on five hits and a costly throwing error that was charged to NU. Suddenly, Chicago had gained its biggest lead of the day at seven runs, but of course the Wildcats would not back down. Spacer

    In the bottom of the fifth, first baseman Jack Havey produced a two-out single to center field and scored when the next batter, Jack Livingston, crushed a double to the gap in right-center field that allowed Havey to score. The Wildcats would soon add two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, as well.

    Another Jack, this one Jack Mitchell, opened the next inning with a double for his second hit of the afternoon. Nick Linne then reached on a fielder's choice and both he and pinch runner Josh Perlmutter moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt from Moses. The Studio City, Calif., native leads the Big Ten with 11 sacrifice bunts.

    Perlmutter scored his run on an RBI groundout by Stevens and Ruchim plated Linne with a base hit to left field. Ruchim's third RBI of the afternoon matched a career high, which he has done now four times, including three this season and two this week.

    Meanwhile on the mound, Dan Tyson steadily kept the Maroons at bay. Less than 24 hours after earning his second save of the season against UIC, the southpaw fired 2.1 scoreless innings against Chicago. He scattered four hits, but most importantly he kept Chicago from adding to its lead.

    Livingston took over for Tyson on the hill after a lead-off double in the top of the eighth. The right-hander struck out the first batter he faced and got the next two outs quickly. Later, after retiring the first two Maroons in the top of the ninth, Livingston surrendered a pair of singles before buckling down and get a slow grounder to Linne at third to end the brief threat.

    Needing four runs to tie the game and force their second extra-inning affair in as many days, Northwestern went to work in the bottom of the ninth. Havey drew a walk to lead off the inning; he moved to second on a ground-out by Livingston. Scott Heelan, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh, picked up an RBI single to left field to send Havey home and suddenly the 'Cats were in business.

    The Wildcats went to the bench and tapped Zach Jones to pinch-hit in Perlmutter's spot. Head coach Paul Stevens made the right call because Jones doubled to the corner in left field, allowing pinch-runner Antonio Freschet to get to third base. Following a pitching change, Freschet scored on a groundout by Linne to pull Northwestern within a pair at 9-7. Unfortunately the comeback ended there as Moses grounded to third and Jones was tagged out to end the ballgame.

    Northwestern hops back into conference play on Friday, May 10 when they open their final Big Ten series of the season at No. 14 Indiana and brand-new Bart Kaufman Field. The first pitch in Friday's showdown is set for 5:05 p.m. CT and the contest will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network.

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