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    April 28, 1998

    Wildcat Baseball Defeats Northern Illinois, 11-8

    Joe Hietpas' Three-Run Homer in 11th Inning Notches Win

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Freshman catcher Joe Hietpas (Appleton, Wis./North) knocked a three-run homer to left in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Northwestern an 11-8 victory over Northern Illinois on Tuesday afternoon. The Wildcats improve to 21-21 overall while the Huskies fall to 9-31-1.

    The Huskies opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning off Phil Rosengren. The 'Cats answered with a tally of their own in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Patrick Thompson. NU's lead increased to 3-1 in the second inning on a two-RBI single by Jeremy Kurella. J.P. Williamson added an RBI single in the third inning to give NU a 4-1 edge.

    Northern Illinois took a 6-4 lead in the top of the fourth inning with two homers off southpaw Dan Padgett, including a three-run shot by right fielder Ben Manning. Wildcat DH Brian Baron (Newhall, Calif./William S. Hart) answered with his fourth homer of the season in the bottom of the fourth, closing the gap to 6-5.

    With the game tied at 7-7 after six innings, the Huskies took an 8-7 lead in the seventh inning as second baseman Kyle Kimme's sacrifice fly brought home the go-ahead run. The Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by Ollie Dunn. NU had the bases loaded with one out, but was unable to score again in the ninth inning. Finally, in the 11th inning, the 'Cats broke through. After a pair of walks by Huskie reliever Brett Gaucher (0-1), Hietpas came through with the game-winning home run.

    Eight Wildcats took the mound in the contest, with Chris Hargan (3-4) getting the win after retiring the side in order in the top of the 11th inning. The pitching duo of John Seaman and Hargan did not allow a batter to reach base in the final three innings. Rosengren pitched just two innings, but fanned five of the 10 Huskies he faced.

    Kurella and Mike Stritch (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) each notched 3-for-5 efforts for Northwestern. Stritch's two-RBI single in the sixth inning tied him for fourth place on the all-time school RBI chart with 132. NU also had success on the basepaths, going 11-for-13 in stolen bases. Eight of the nine Wildcat starters had at least one stolen base.

    NU travels to Western Michigan for a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader before heading to Iowa for a four-game weekend series against the Hawkeyes.