The Wildcats pulled out a hard-earned victory against an inferior opponent in Chicago State on Tuesday afternoon, defeating the Cougars 3-1. The Cougars came into Rocky Miller Park a lowly opponent with a record of (6-31) Northwestern utilized a 3 hit, 3 run fourth inning by swaying the momentum in their favor and never looking back.
Southpaw freshman hurler Reed Mason showed his “Cali swagger” on the mound, tossing four innings of solid baseball for the Wildcats. Mason fanned 5 Cougars out of the 16 he faced, which equivocates to more then a quarter of the batters, and he only gave up one run.
Chicago State got on the board first in the second inning. Northwestern had two errors to allow Cougar runners to get on base. The damage could have been two runs but Trevor Stevens made a heads up play seeing a Cougar trying to cross the plate for the 2nd run. Stevens gunned him out at home from short to lessen the damage to only 1 run.
The Wildcat offense had a sluggish start but woke up in the fourth. Zach Jones got the offense going with a leadoff single to second, showing his wheels as he beat the throw to first.
Scott Heelan followed that up with a towering fly ball near the right field line that dropped for a single. Luke Dauch then showed his veteran batting skills, advancing both runners with a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners to second and third.
Colby Everett came up and hit a laser dead center that the center fielder couldn’t haul in, and dropping the ball for an RBI single to knot the game up at one a piece. Then, Walker Moses came to the plate and made a wily offensive play, executing the unsuspected RBI bunt down the first base line to score go-ahead-run.
Stevens came up next and hit a routine ground ball to the third baseman that easily corralled the ball, but committed a timely error by overthrowing the ball to first that even Shaq couldn’t catch. This allowed Everett to score an extra insurance run to put the Cats’ up 3-1 through four innings. The Wildcat bats did work on the day with 8 hits.
The Cats used four other pitchers besides Reed the rest of the game as they coasted in for the win. Coach Paul Stevens alluded to why 5 pitchers saw action on the day and what this win did for Northwestern heading into the 3 game home series against the 38th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
“There’s a 20 something mph wind coming in here,” he said. “I don’t care what team they are. You’ve got to put the ball in play to get a chance to score runs. What I took away from this was pitchers getting opportunities to throw pitchers throwing strikes which I was very pleased with, and finding a way to put the bat on the ball with people in scoring position.”
The Wildcats next game is slated for tomorrow against Western Michigan at 3 p.m. at Rocky Miller Park.