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    Missed Chances Sink Wildcats at No. 14 Indiana, 3-1

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Luke Farrell struck out six Hoosiers in five innings of work Friday.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Luke Farrell struck out six Hoosiers in five innings of work Friday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    May 10, 2013

     at Indiana
     Box Score  IU 3, NU 1
     Records  NU 21-22 (8-14 B1G), IU 37-10 (14-5 B1G)
     Next Game
     at No. 14 Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), May 11, 1:05 p.m. CT

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Northwestern could not convert on some early scoring chances Friday night and in the end the Wildcats fell to the 14th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers in the first game of a three-game set, 3-1, at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Ind.

    The Wildcats made Indiana's Joey DeNato labor in the first inning, but ultimately they could not score as a steady rain shower passed through the ballpark. Trevor Stevens coaxed a lead-off walk before Kyle Ruchim extended his hitting streak to seven games with a base hit to left field. Unfortunately the next three hitters all flew out to right field and Northwestern was held off the board.

    NU threatened, but came up empty once again in the top of the second. Walker Moses hit a seeing-eye single through the right side that sent Jack Quigley from first to third with two outs. Stevens flipped a DeNato offering to shallow right field, but IU second baseman Chad Clark had NU's shortstop played perfectly and he made a leaping grab to rob the Wildcats of their first run.

    Ruchim crushed his 13th double of the season to lead off the third inning and that actually brought DeNato's evening to an end after only two-plus innings on the hill. Scott Efross, who has been warming up in the bullpen since the first inning, came on to get the first three batters he faced out in order to strand Ruchim on third and end the frame.

    Meanwhile, the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week was dealing on the mound for Northwestern. Luke Farrell faced the minimum through the first three innings while striking out six Hoosiers in the process.

    Indiana finally threatened in its half of the fourth, but Farrell escaped unscathed. After a lead-off single and a walk, the 6-foot-6-inch right-hander made a fine defensive play to field a sacrifice bunt attempt and fire to third baseman Nick Linne to cut down the lead runner. Both runners moved up on a groundout to Havey at first but Stevens made a tremendous diving catch to snare a sinking line drive and end the inning.

    The Hoosiers broke through for the first run of the evening in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dustin DeMuth doubled to lead off the inning, but he later was thrown out trying to score on a ground ball to Stevens, who made a strong throw to Scott Heelan for the second out. Lead-off batter Will Nolden soon singled to left field allowing Clark to score IU's first run, but Moses made a strong throw to Linne to throw out the speedy Justin Cureton on a bang-bang play at third to end the stanza.

    The 'Cats finally kicked the door down as well in their half of the sixth inning. Heelan one-hopped the wall with a double to left-center with one out, his seventh of the season. Head coach Paul Stevens tapped Jack Livingston to pinch hit and he delivered with a two-bagger of his own to the corner in right field that allowed Heelan to score and even the ledger at a run apiece.

    The tie score did not last long. Farrell allowed hits to Indiana's first three batters, including a pair of doubles, to grab a 2-1 lead in its half. Coach Stevens went to the bullpen to bring in freshman Reed Mason to face Michael Basil. Mason's first pitch of the game was a wild one and another run scored to make it 3-1. Mason settled down quickly to get a strikeout and a double-play ball right back to the mound with the bases loaded to get out of the inning without the Hoosiers adding to their lead.

    Mason kept the home team off balance in the bottom of the seventh, as well. The Solana Beach, Calif. struck out a pair as he worked a perfect 1-2-3 frame.

    Heelan laced a one-out single to center field and moved to second on a slow ground ball to the pitcher in the eighth. IU's Brian Korte reached back and picked up a big strikeout to end the inning, however, and the Wildcats were left empty-handed once again.

    Livingston slid onto the mound to open the bottom of the eighth inning. The tall right-hander fanned clean-up hitter Scott Donley before a walk and a bloop single to left field gave Indiana a runner in scoring position. Livingston was unharmed, however, as he struck out another hitter and got a line drive to Ruchim in center to end the short scare.

    Linne reached on an error by Indiana's shortstop, Michael Basil to open the top of the ninth inning. He was lifted for a pinch runner, but Antonio Freschet was unable to come around to score and Ryan Halstead secured his ninth save of the season.

    Efross picked up his sixth win of the season in relief. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits in 4.1 innings pitched.

    Farrell lasted 5-plus frames Friday, his shortest outing of the season by innings. The Westlake, Ohio, native scattered seven hits and struck out six Hoosiers. The senior has struck out at least six hitters in seven of his 11 starts this year and at least five in all of them. Clark's fifth-inning run ended Farrell's streak of 19.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run dating back to his start on April 26 at Illinois.

    Ruchim and Heelan each tallied two hits for the Wildcats. For Ruchim, it was his team-high 16th multi-hit performance this season.

    Game two of the three-game set will commence on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. CT. Sophomore Brandon Magallones will be on the mound for the Wildcats opposed by IU's Kyle Hart. The game will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network. Free audio is also available through IUHoosiers.com.

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