Feb. 24, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After batting a robust .500 at the plate at the Snowbird Classic, Northwestern outfielder Matt Hopfner has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the conference announced Monday. Hopfner had four multi-hit game games and batted .500 (9-for-18) for the Wildcats at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla.
On Friday, Feb. 21 against Kansas, Hopfner tallied a career-high three hits for Northwestern. The Edina, Minn., native scored twice against the Jayhawks and drove in his second run of the season with a base hit in the fourth inning. The Wildcats trailed 8-2 at one point in that game, but rallied to take a one-run lead before falling in 11 innings.
The following day against Nebraska-Omaha, the outfielder drove in a career-high three runs to help the 'Cats erase a four-run deficit and post an 8-5 victory, their first of the season. Hopfner's fourth-inning double to left field drove in a pair of runs and knotted the score at 4-4. He scored a run in the sixth inning and knocked in one more with a base hit to right field in the eighth.
In the second game of a split doubleheader Saturday, Hopfner had two hits and scored a run in a 12-4 thumping of Mississippi Valley State. His first single came in the fourth inning when he teamed up with designated hitter Jack Livingston to execute a flawless hit-and-run.
Hopfner concluded the weekend with two more hits against Ball State on Sunday, Feb. 23. He played all 38 innings in right field for the Wildcats and did not commit an error in 10 chances. Hopfner was also credited with his first collegiate assist against Kansas in the Snowbird opener.
The two-way player currently leads the Big Ten in batting average (.500) and ranks second in on-base percentage (.542). His 11 hits lead the Wildcats and rank tied for second in the conference, one behind the current leader. Hopfner, a left-handed pitcher, has yet to see action on the mound this season.
This is Hopfner's first weekly Big Ten honor. He is Northwestern's first Freshman of the Week since teammate Zach Jones, a two-time honoree, was named the recipient on April 8, 2013.
Northwestern will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 28 when it travels to Cookeville, Tenn. for a three-game set against Tennessee Tech. The series opener will begin at 3 p.m. with single games to follow on Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2.
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