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    Wildcats Fall Short at Wichita State, 8-2

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM The Wildcats wore special Under Armour hats to honor the Wounded Warrior Project Thursday night.
    The Wildcats wore special Under Armour hats to honor the Wounded Warrior Project Thursday night.

    May 16, 2013

     at No. 14 Indiana
     Box Score  WSU 8, NU 2
     Records  NU 22-24 (9-15 B1G), WSU 32-25 (15-6 MVC)
     Next Game
     at Wichita State (Wichita, Kan.), May 17, 6:30 p.m. CT

    WICHITA, Kan. -- Northwestern was unable to generate the offense necessary to overcome a steady attack put forth by Wichita State as the Wildcats dropped the opener of a three-game set to the Shockers, 8-2, Thursday at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kan.

    The Shocks pushed across a first-inning tally against Northwestern starting pitcher Luke Farrell. Leadoff batter Tanner Dearman reached on a bunt single and proceeded to steal second base. After moving to third on a ground ball to the right side, Dearman scored the first run of the ballgame on an RBI single to right field off the dangerous bat of Tyler Baker.

    The bottom of Northwestern's batting order kick-started its offense in the top of the third inning. Zach Jones drew a lead-off walk before Walker Moses chopped a one-out base hit through the left side to turn it over to the top of the lineup.Trevor Stevens pushed his teammates up 90 feet with a ground-out to first base and set the table for Kyle Ruchim. Ruchim calmly extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double to the wall in left field that allowed both Jones and Moses to score easily and give the Wildcats their first lead of the night, 2-1.

    Wichita State produced a quick answer in its half of the inning. The Shockers picked up two singles, both to center field, to tally an equalizer and knot the score at 2-2 after three innings of play.

    The home team regained a one-run lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mikel Mucha singled to right field and scored two batters later when Parker Zimmerman reached safely on a sacrifice bunt back to the mound. Wildcat catcher Scott Heelan threw out a would-be base stealer at third and Farrell fanned Micah Green to limit the damage and escape with a one-run deficit.

    The Shockers tagged the Wildcats for another run in the third-straight frame in the bottom of the fifth. Dearman scored his second run of the night when Baker brought him home with a sacrifice fly deep to left-center field. Wichita State had another runner on third base with just one away, but Northwestern's Zach Morton turned in a pair of fine defensive plays from his spot at second base to keep the Shocks at bay. After five innings, the 'Cats trailed, 4-2.

    Neither team produced a run in the sixth inning and the Wildcats came up empty in the top of the seventh, as well. Green emphatically ended the scoring drought for Wichita State when he hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot, against NU reliever Dan Tyson.

    Green, who was a late addition to the lineup, notched his third hit and second RBI of the contest with another single up the middle with two outs in the eighth. That two-out base hit gave the Shockers a 6-2 lead, but they weren't done quite yet. Garrett Bayliff drove home two more runs with a bases-loaded single to right field to stretch the lead to six runs and chase Tyson from the mound.

    Nick Friar relieved Tyson and got Baker to fly out to Ruchim to end the long inning.

    Heelan muscled a one-out single to center field in the top of the ninth, but a sharp grounder to shortstop by the next hitter turned into a game-ending double play for Wichita State.

    Cale Elam earned the win on the mound for the Shockers, his sixth of the season. Albert Minnis tossed three scoreless innings of relief for WSU, retiring all nine Wildcats he faced in order.

    Farrell surrendered four runs on nine singles in his final start in a Northwestern uniform. The senior struck out two and did not issue a walk in the game. The Westlake, Ohio, native's 2.13 ERA for the year ranks as the 10th-best single-season mark in program history; it is the lowest ERA for a Wildcat hurler since J.A. Happ finished the 2002 campaign with a mark of 2.10.

    Thursday night's game paid tribute to the Wounded Warrior Project and featured a special pre-game ceremony. Wichita State wore specially designed Under Armour uniforms that featured the Stars and Stripes of the American flag. The Wildcats donned new digital-camouflage Under Armour caps with the traditional block-N with a flag emblazoned on the front.

    The series resumes with the middle game on Friday night at Eck Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with NU's Brandon Magallones slated to oppose WSU's A.J. Ladwig on the hill.


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