EVANSTON — Midweek college baseball means saving arms for conference play. For Northwestern, that didn't mean any kind of step down in production.
Northwestern ran out nine pitchers and every one of them did a good job. As a group, Northwestern scattered six hits across 9 innings, racking up 10 strikeouts to just 1 walk. Joe Schindler got himself into a jam, but a couple of big punchouts stranded two Braves in scoring position in the 6th. That was the closest thing to danger that Bradley ever presented in this one. It was a low intensity, walk-in-the-park cruise to the finish line, something Northwestern baseball hasn't had a whole lot of this season.
Temperatures that dipped below 50 degrees kept balls from jumping off bats. The Wildcats had only two extra base hits and only two balls were hit onto the track by either team. Northwestern stacked up singles in the bottom half of the order. The five through nine spots in the order notched 7 hits, 5 of them singles. Jack Claeys reached twice and scored twice, Ben Dickey notched a pair of RBI, and Jake Schieber came through with a clutch two-run, two-out triple in the 6th to give Northwestern some breathing room.
Northwestern's top of the order took a day off, but it didn't come back to hurt them. Jack Dunn, Zach Jones, Matt Hopfner, and Joe Hoscheit combined for just 2 hits. Whenever you can squeeze out five without your .374 hitting right fielder putting the ball in play, you're stealing one.
Beating a 15-10 MVC team in a vacuum isn't that impressive, but after winning the series finale against Nebraska on Sunday, today's win is the first time since the opening day of the season that Northwestern has won back-to-back games.
The road to legitimacy is a long one, but any positive steps Northwestern can take out of this season are important. If the Wildcats can string together a couple of wins together with a series against 18-14 Penn State coming to town, who knows? A little momentum can't be a bad thing.