Feb. 12, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With opening day rapidly approaching, Northwestern seniors Luke Farrell, Zach Morton and Trevor Stevens have been named Big Ten Players to Watch in the 2013 season, the conference announced Tuesday.
Farrell and Morton are expected to be two of the top pillars in Northwestern's pitching rotation, while Stevens is ready to return to the diamond after missing the entire 2012 season with an injury.
Farrell led the Wildcat pitching staff with 19 appearances in 2012, including seven starts. The Westlake, Ohio, native got stronger as the season went along, posting a dazzling 2.18 ERA over his final 14 outings. Farrell was second on the team with three saves and did not allow a run in his final five appearances of the season. The senior struck out 50 batters in 51.2 IP and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He is slated to make his 2013 debut on Saturday, Feb. 16 against Furman at the First Pitch Invitational in Greenville, S.C.
On the mound Morton led Northwestern with four complete games in 2012 and ranked second with 83.2 IP. The Evanston, Ill., native posted a 3.46 ERA and fanned 49 batters in 14 appearances, including 13 starts. Morton is penciled in to take the bump in the season opener on Friday, Feb. 15 against Miami (OH) at the First Pitch Invitational.
At the plate, Morton led the Wildcats with a .297 batting average, 62 hits, 20 multi-hit games and 34 runs scored. The 2010 All-Big Ten second baseman reached base safely in 19 straight games to open the season in 2012, the best mark of any NU player during the campaign.
Stevens, a two-time All-Big Ten shortstop, is back in the mix after receiving a medical redshirt a year ago. The Glenview, Ill., native started 24 games at shortstop and 25 games in center field for the Wildcats in 2011. That year Stevens led the squad with 40 runs scored, four triples, 26 walks and 10 stolen bases. The table-setter also hit safely in the first 11 games of the year and batted .419 (13-31) with runners in scoring position throughout.
Farrell, Morton, Stevens and the rest of the Wildcats open the 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15 at the First Pitch Invitational in Greenville, S.C. NU will take on Miami (OH), Furman and Michigan State at Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
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