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Northwestern baseball: Dalton Sawyer and Minnesota shut down Northwestern

Northwestern's pitchers weren't fooling anybody as the Wildcats were blown out 11-1 against No. 25 Minnesota on Saturday. After a close loss yesterday, Northwestern (10-29, 2-12) had no answer to Dalton Sawyer of Minnesota (24-11, 8-2), who struck out 12 batters over 7 dominant innings and gave up only 1 unearned run.

Northwestern fell behind quickly, as Minnesota got to Dan Kubiuk in the top of the first. Minnesota strung together 3 hits with runners in scoring position and took a 4-0 lead behind RBIs from Alex Boxwell, Austin Athmann, Toby Hanson and Micah Coffey. Northwestern could not muster any response for the first two innings.

In the top of the third, Kubiuk lost his command and walked three straight batters. The third walk was to Boxwell which forced in another run for Minnesota to make it 5-0. Head coach Spencer Allen pulled Kubiuk with the bases loaded and Cooper Weatherbee escaped the jam, but the damage had already been done. Kubiuk only competed 2.1 innings and did not record a strikeout. He was charged with 5 earned runs.

Northwestern threatened with two hits in the bottom of the third but failed to score. Minnesota scored again with another RBI single for Athmann, who finished the day with 3 hits and 2 runs. Northwestern scored in the bottom of the fourth off an error from third baseman Boxwell, but were unable to make any dent on the lead for the rest of the game.

Sawyer mowed down Northwestern's hitters and set a new career-high in strikeouts. The lefty had all of his pitches working and worked the strike zone well. The 27th-round choice by the Minnesota Twins in the 2015 draft certainly lived up to his billing, and his offense continued to back him up with more runs. Northwestern's leaky bullpen surrendered 4 more runs, leaving the final score a resounding 10-1 in favor of Minnesota. Danny Katz, Cooper Wetherbee and Justin Yoss all gave up runs as Minnesota's high-powered offense torched the bullpen. Northwestern's pitching staff allowed 17 hits to Minnesota in the course of the game.

The loss drops Northwestern to 10-29 and Northwestern will hope to salvage one game in the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.