Northwestern dropped a tough one by the score of 5-2 at home against Western Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. The Wildcats couldn’t muster anything offensively, and squandered their few opportunities to put extra runs on the board in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings. ’The Cats’ had numerous fly outs and couldn’t quite figure out Bronco hurler Will Nimke until the sixth inning , before being relieved of his duties in the seventh.
The Broncos jumped on the board right off the bat, scoring the first run of the game in the first inning off Northwestern’s Matt Portland. Western Michigan would tack on 2 more runs by the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Before the bottom half of the fourth, the Broncos had 7 hits while the Cats’ hadn’t registered a hit all afternoon up until that point. Kyle Ruchim stepped up to the plate and hit a leadoff single off the pitcher who bobbled the ball at the mound.
Ruchim looked like Willie Mayes Hayes on the next play swiping second easily. Zach Morton then lined a bloop single over the shortstop, advancing Ruchim to third. Jack Havey made his only hit of the day count, driving in Ruchim on a bloop single single to the center that the center-fielder sprawled out for, but to no avail, allowing Ruchim to score the first run of the game for the Cats’ at 3-1 in the fourth inning.
Western Michigan lit another insurance run on the board in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1. After the top half of the sixth, the Broncos had 11 hits to the Cats’ mere 3.
Again, Ruchim came up big, leading off the bottom half of the sixth with a rocket single to center. Then, Morton beat out a well -placed bunt down the third base line and advanced Ruchim to second. Colby Everett as well made his lone hit for the day count for good measure, driving Ruchim in with a bloop single to left center that the left fielder again sprawled out for, but came up empty, making it 4-2.
Then Luke Dauch hit a laser to left, which if placed anywhere else would have brought in runs, but was hit directly at the left fielder to end the inning. For the game Northwestern’s Matt Portland tossed 5 innings allowing 10 hits, giving up 4 earned and fanning 4 batters.
Northwestern mounted their final charge in the seventh. The Cats’ had Everett on third with 2 out. The Broncos brought in a new hurler David Brennan after Nemke was beginning to show signs of fatigue. But Brennan doused the Cats’ flame and Northwestern couldn’t manage a hit off Brennan the rest of the way.
The Broncos added another run in the top of the ninth making the final 5-2. With the loss, Northwestern’s record drops to 19-18 overall. Next up: the Cats’ will host the Ohio State Buckeyes at home for a 3 game series beginning Friday at 3 p.m.