Saturday was a great day to play baseball in Evanston and the Wildcats made the most of it. Northwestern blanked the favored Ohio State 8-0 thanks to a phenomenal 2 hitter, 8 k, no earned-run performance from senior Luke Farrell on the mound to take the first game of the three game set. The Wildcat bats scorched the undefeated pitcher Buckeye pitcher Brad Goldberg with 7 runs off 8 hits, tallying 13 hits for the contest.
After the game, Farrell delved into what was working for him today: “My control was there, and I was able to throw my fastball on both sides of the plate. Their lineup had a little bit of trouble with that and it kept them off balance- especially the left-handers, being able to come inside on them. I threw my slider for a lot of strikes and got a lot of batters swinging and missing. And hey, there’s no pressure when you’re up 8 runs.”
The Wildcats did the damage early and pounced on Goldberg in the second. Goldberg experienced control issues all afternoon, throwing low most of the day, producing six runs, off 4 hits and never looked back. Scott Heelan led off the second with a single up the middle that bounced of the mound. After Zach Jones struck out, Jack Livingston, who usually pitches, got the rare start in the lineup and drew a walk. Then, after a pitch to load them up hit Colby Everett, Goldberg with his lack of control walked in the first run of the game, walking Walker Moses, allowing Heelan to score.
Trevor Stevens stepped up to the plate and blistered a single through the left side of the infield, driving in a run to make it 2-0 and lifting the crowd to their feet. Kyle Ruchim utilized the surge of momentum, as he then raked an RBI double down the left field line going all the way to the wall that the left fielder mishandled, causing 3 more Cats’ runs to cross the plate to make it 5-0. The reliable senior Jack Havey came up and hit a laser RBI through the left side of the infield, driving in another run to make it 6-0 as it seemed the Cats’ were teeing off on Goldberg at this point. By the end of the inning, the Cats’ were up 6-0 and had the game in hand.
The Cats’ would later tack on an insurance run in the fourth thanks to Jack Havey’s second RBI of the day that rocketed through the left side of the infield.
The Cats’ would add on one more insurance run for good measure in the seventh thanks to a Trevor Stevens RBI flyout to left that almost left the ballpark.
But the story of the game was Wildcat standout hurler Luke Farrell. He was in the zone from the get-go, and seemed cool as a cucumber on the mound as he had a 1 hitter up until the eighth inning. Farrell got through the eighth without allowing a run, and amazingly struck out almost a third of the batters he faced. The Buckeyes couldn’t touch him. Jack Quigley came in for the save in the ninth (even though Farrell could have easily closed it out) and retired the side.
With the win, the Cats’ record improves to 20-18 overall and 8-11 in conference. Game two of the series is slated for Sunday at 1 pm at the friendly confines of Rocky Miller Park.