| Northwestern vs. LIU Brooklyn
|| Friday, March 14 | 5:00 p.m. CT
|| Chain of Lakes Park | Winter Haven, Fla.
| Live Stats
EVANSTON -- In what has become an annual excursion, Northwestern will head down to Winter Haven, Fla. this week to participate in the RussMatt Invitational at Chain of Lakes Park.
The Wildcats, fresh off a weekend series in Tampa to take on South Florida, open play on Thursday evening against Evansville at 5:30 p.m. CT. Northwestern will play games against both Maine and LIU Brooklyn on Friday before wrapping up the tournament against Bucknell on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. CT.
Northwestern won all three games it played last year at the former Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. The weekend opened with a 12-3 drubbing of LIU Brooklyn and ended with a 17-2 victory over Bucknell. In between, the Wildcats topped North Dakota State 3-2 in 11 thrilling innings.
Freshman Matt Hopfner has been NU's leading hitter during his inaugural collegiate campaign. The Edina, Minn., native is batting a team-high .409 with eight RBI. Hopfner has reached base safely in all 11 games in which he has played and has a team-high seven multi-hit games. Catcher Scott Heelan has been the leading run producer for NU with 12 RBI.
On the mound, Northwestern will send at least three lefties to the mound at the RussMatt Invitational. Sophomore Matt Portland will make his fifth start against Evansville Thursday, while classmate Reed Mason will take the ball for the fifth time against Maine on Friday. Senior Dan Tyson picked up his first win of the season in his first start since 2012 last time out against South Florida and he'll get the nod against LIU Brooklyn. The starting pitcher for Sunday's finale versus Bucknell has not been announced.
For a full audio preview of this weekend's tournament and a look back at the series against South Florida, click here for the Northwestern Baseball Report featuring head coach Paul Stevens and WNUR's Greg Mroz.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!