May 10, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern fell into an early hole and failed to climb out Saturday, falling 8-2 to the SIUE Cougars at Rocky Miller Park.
For the second day in a row, SIUE jumped ahead with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. The Cougars opened the game with a single and a triple to take a quick 1-0 lead. Following a walk, the visitors plated their second run after Devin Caldwell hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field. SIUE eventually loaded the bases on the inning's second walk, but Reed Mason got Jacob Stewart to fly out to Scott Heelan in shallow center field, ending the inning.
Mason continued to labor during the second inning when SIUE posted two more runs on the scoreboard. The first two hitters reached via a walk and single to left-center field. Denton Reed gave his team a 3-0 lead with a base hit through the right side before Caldwell drove in a run on a fielder's choice.
SIUE starting pitcher Evan Martens retired the first five Wildcats he faced Saturday, needing only six pitches to do so. NU's Jake Schieber became his team's first base runner when he laced a single into center field. The Wheaton, Ill., native took second, and eventually third, on a pair of wild pitches by Martens, but Walker Moses grounded out to the right side to end the second. After two complete, SIUE led Northwestern, 4-0.
Neither team pushed across a run in the third inning, but the Wildcats finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth. Scott Heelan opened the frame with an unorthodox double. The second baseman hit a ball up that SIUE's shortstop, Skyler Geissinger, dove for and got a small piece of, but he couldn't come up with. He remained on the ground while the center fielder and second baseman charged after the ball and Heelan alertly hustled into second ahead of the throw.
Later in the fourth, Schieber walked to reach safely for the second time on the day, setting the stage for Moses. Northwestern's right fielder lined a single sharply into left field and Heelan came around from second to score the first run for the 'Cats.
Mason allowed multiple runs in the first two innings, but the left-hander settled down and tossed four scoreless frames to follow. The Cougars threatened once again in the top of the seventh and they had the bases loaded with one out, but NU reliever Dan Tyson got a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play to end the threat and keep his team within three runs.
SIUE created a significant cushion in the top of the eighth. The visitors scored four times against Tyson, including three unearned runs, to take an 8-1 lead. Northwestern scratched out a run in the bottom of the eighth when Joe Hoscheit singled home Heelan from second base to pull within six, but that was as close as the 'Cats could come.
Nick Linne led Northwestern with two hits Saturday, while Heelan went 1-for-3 and scored both runs for the Wildcats. Since April 5, Heelan is batting .409 (36-for-88) for his team, hitting safely in 21 of 23 games.
Northwestern will host the Cougars Sunday in the rubber game and final nonconference contest of the season at 1 p.m. The first 150 fans in attendance will receive a trading card set featuring the seven Wildcats seniors and that group will be honored in a postgame ceremony at Rocky Miller Park.
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