May 1, 2014
The Last Meeting
April 21, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With seven home games remaining on its schedule, Northwestern returns to Rocky Miller Park this weekend to play the final Big Ten series of the year in Evanston, May 2-4, against the Michigan Wolverines.
The Wildcats defense has turned 37 double plays (DP) in 41 games this season, which ranks them third in the Big Ten. NU had six twin killings at Hawks Field in Lincoln, Neb., April 18-19, including a season-high four in its 3-2 victory in the first game of a doubleheader on April 19. In that game against Nebraska, Northwestern recorded a 4-6-3 DP in the 2nd, a 6-4-3 DP in the 3rd, a 3-6-1 DP in the 4th and a 1-5 line drive DP with the bases loaded and no outs in the 7th. The Wildcats turned double plays to end each of the first two innings against NIU on April 30.
Only one Northwestern position player has started all 41 games this season for head coach Paul Stevens. Cody Stevens started the first two games at second base against USC and the last 39 at shortstop. Zach Jones opened the first 40 games until missing his first contest on April 30 vs. NIU. Three players - Joe Hoscheit, Matt Hopfner and Nick Linne - have played in 39 games. Nick Friar leads the Wildcats with 16 appearances out of the bullpen and two midweek starts; Dan Tyson has made 16 appearances, including eight starts. Last season only one player started every game; Stevens' older brother, Trevor, started all 48 contests at shortstop for the `Cats.
Northwestern opened the 2014 season at USC with back-to-back extra-inning games for the first time in program history. The Wildcats played back-to-back extra-inning affairs for the first time since April 2001 when they went 11 innings against Valparaiso and 10 innings against Indiana, however there were two days in between those ballgames. The 'Cats were 5-3 in extra-inning contests in 2013 and are 1-4 in 2014 following a 12-inning win at Nebraska on April 18.
MASON THE MAGNIFICENT
Reed Mason made a pair of sensational starts for Northwestern during the month of April. In front of a national television audience, the southpaw turned in his team-best fourth quality start of the season against Nebraska on April 18. Mason did not allow an earned run over 8.2 IP, and at one point, retired 12 Huskers in a row between the fifth and ninth innings. On April 5 against Illinois, Mason did not allow an earned run in a career-high 9.0 IP against the Illini while striking out three and walking just one. He did not receive a decision in either game.
Sophomore first baseman Zach Jones has been red-hot over his last 10 games, helping the team to six wins. The Glenview, Ill., native has hit safely in each of those games and is batting .472 (17-for-36)with six RBI during that span. Jones is also batting a team-high .382 during Big Ten play this season and leads the conference with 26 hits in league games.
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