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    Instate Foes Square Off as Wildcats Host Fighting Illini

    Paul Snieder set a Northwestern record with his 18th career save against Chicago State on Tuesday.

    Paul Snieder set a Northwestern record with his 18th career save against Chicago State on Tuesday.

    April 26, 2012

    Northwestern (14-23, 5-10 Big Ten) vs. Illinois (22-18, 5-7 Big Ten)
    Friday, April 27, 2012
    Rocky Miller Park
    Evanston, Ill. • 3 p.m.

    Saturday, April 28, 2012
    Rocky Miller Park
    Evanston, Ill. • 1 p.m.

    Sunday, April 29, 2012
    Rocky Miller Park
    Evanston, Ill. • 1 p.m.

    In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
    Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- After playing its last two Big Ten series on the road, Northwestern returns home to Rocky Miller Park to square off against Illinois this weekend. Friday's opener is set for a 3 p.m. first pitch.

    The contests on Saturday and Sunday are slated to get underway at 1 p.m. Weather permitting, fans are invited to a special spring edition of Wildcat Alley.

    Northwestern students are invited to a special pregame tailgate on Sunday. Students can get a free hot dog or burger, a free soda and a free t-shirt. There is also the opportunity to play bags prior to the game. The tailgate is made possible by the Northwestern Wildside student section and Coke Zero.

    The Wildcats got back on the winning track with a series victory at Michigan last weekend. NU swept a Saturday doubleheader, winning 6-5 in 11 innings before taking the nightcap, 8-5. The Wolverines got a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to take Sunday's finale, 5-4, despite two home runs by Kyle Ruchim. Northwestern followed it up with a 12-7 home win over Chicago State on Tuesday. Paul Snieder got his 18th career save to set a Northwestern record.



    Northwestern's weekend rotation of Magallones, Francis Brooke and Zach Morton has done its part in giving the Wildcats a chance to win. The three individuals have started all of the Wildcats' conference games to date this season. All three have an ERA of 4.01 or better on the season and 4.08 or better against conference foes. In Big Ten play, Northwestern's staff ranks first with 103 batters struck out and fifth with a 3.74 ERA.

    Senior catcher Geoff Rowan has been stellar behind the plate this season, gunning down 21 of 47 baserunners attempting to steal, good for a 44.7 percent success rate. He also leads all Big Ten catchers with four runners picked off base. He'll be challenged this weekend as Illinois leads the league with 67 stolen bases and 103 attempts.

    Scouting Illinois
    The Fighting Illini (22-18, 5-7 Big Ten) took two of three games from Ohio State in Champaign last weekend prior to falling 6-4 at Indiana State on Tuesday. The reigning Big Ten champs are paced at the plate by Jordan Parr who has a .356 batting average and nine doubles. Illinois leads the Big Ten with 18 triples and 67 stolen bases. On the mound, Kevin Johnson heads the starters with a 6-3 record and a 3.61 ERA. Dan Hartleb is in his seventh season as head coach.

    Last Season: NU won the series-opener, 9-2, before Illinois won the final two games, 6-3 and 9-4, April 29-May 1 in Evanston.

    Probable Pitching Matchups

    RHP Francis Brooke (1-4, 3.14 ERA, 63 IP) vs. RHP Kevin Johnson (6-3, 3.61 ERA, 62.1 IP)
    RHP Brandon Magallones (6-2, 3.99 ERA, 56.1 IP) vs. RHP John Kravetz (6-3, 4.67 ERA, 61.2 IP)
    RHP Zach Morton (1-7, 4.01 ERA, 58.1 IP) vs. TBA


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