April 10, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- As the Northwestern Wildcats prepare to begin a busy stretch featuring eight games over a 10-day span, the Iowa Hawkeyes come to Rocky Miller Park to open up a three-game series this weekend. The 'Cats have not played the Hawkeyes on their home field since April 17-18, 2009.
Northwestern did welcome Iowa to the Chicagoland area last season, but due to unplayable field conditions, those games were not held on campus in Evanston. Instead, the 'Cats took two of three from their guests at Lee Pfund Stadium in Carol Stream, Ill. The home team won the series opener, 2-1, in 13 innings on March 22, while the clubs split a doubleheader the following day.
MASON THE MAGNIFICENT
Sophomore Reed Mason turned in his team-best third quality start of the season last time out against Illinois on April 5. The southpaw did not allow an earned run in a career-high 9.0 IP against the Illini while striking out three and walking just one. In three Big Ten starts this season, Mason owns a 1-0 record and a team-best 1.59 ERA.
Sophomore first baseman Zach Jones has been wielding a big bat for Northwestern during Big Ten play this season. The Glenview, Ill., native has hit safely in all eight conference games thus far and he has a team-high 12 hits during that span. On March 28, his birthday, Jones tallied a three-hit performance at Penn State. He also drove in the first run of the game with a base hit to right field against Illinois on April 5.
CAREER DAY FOR SEVERAL 'CATS
After being held to just two runs in a three-game series against Illinois, April 4-6, the Wildcats busted out of the offensive slump in a big way against Valparaiso on April 8. Junior Luke Dauch led off for NU in that game and matched a career high with four hits, doing so in his first four at-bats. Matt Hopfner also equaled his previous career bests with three hits and three RBI. Nick Linne matched a career high by scoring three runs following each of his three plate appearances. Cody Libman drove in the first run of his career on a sacrifice fly against the Crusaders.
Redshirt junior Cody Stevens returned to the diamond on opening weekend for Northwestern for the first time since the 2012 campaign. The Glenview, Ill., native missed all of last season while recovering from a blood clot that developed in his brain after he was hit by a pitch in a Prospect League game. Stevens was the recipient of the 2013 CollegeBaseballInsider.com Tom Walter Inspiration Award, an honor named after the Wake Forest head coach who donated a kidney to one of his players in 2011. Stevens is one of four Wildcats to start all 27 games this season. The infielder has seven RBI and a team-high four stolen bases for Northwestern.
For more notes and information about the series, please download the PDF at the top of the page.
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!