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Northwestern baseball drops doubleheader to California as pitching struggles continue

The Wildcats got blown out in Game 1 and the same thing happened in Game 2.

Photo Credit: Josh Burton
Photo Credit: Josh Burton

EVANSTON -- A rare scheduled doubleheader on Sunday featuring two games too many for the Northwestern Wildcats, as they lost both games. Inconsistent starting pitching -- from Joe Schindler and Tommy Bordignon -- doomed Northwestern, which still couldn't get the big hits with runners in scoring position that have been elusive all season.

California won both games by a combined 23 runs. It was definitely a day the Wildcats -- and their coaching staff -- will try to forget soon.

One day after losing the series opener 16-0 to the Golden Bears, the Wildcats dropped Sunday's Game 1 by a score of 15-3. After Cal scored a run in the top of the 1st on a Nick Halamandaris groundout, Northwestern had multiple chances to tie the score or take the lead before the Golden Bears really got the bats going in the 4th.

With runners on the corners and no outs in the bottom of the 3rd, Zach Jones hit a hard grounder to pitcher Tanner Dodson, who turned a conventional 1-6-3 double play. But, Antonio Freschet -- who was on third base -- decided to take off for home and was easily thrown out, turning a potential run-scoring opportunity into an inning-ending triple play.

Schindler wasn't helped much by his defense in this one as a Jack Claeys passed ball gave Cal its second run in the 4th before Schindler broke down in the next inning, giving up another run. Then, Jake Stolley relieved him and allowed two more inherited runners to score, pushing the Golden Bears' advantage to 5-0.

They would tack on crooked numbers in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th innings off Stolley and Wetherbee to eventually take a commanding 15-3 lead.

The Wildcats were able to push three runs across in the bottom of the 5th off Dodson on a pair of bases loaded walks and a Freschet RBI single, but that would constitute all of Northwestern's scoring in the game.

Bordignon got the start for the Wildcats in Game 2 of the doubleheader and had trouble locating his fastball early on. In his four innings of work, he walked six and allowed four hits, leading to five runs (four earned). By the 5th inning, Cal already had a 6-0 lead, and that was before Northwestern even got a hit off Joey Matulovich.

Freshman Willie Bourbon lined a single right up the middle in the bottom of the 5th for the first blemish on Matulovich's record. The Wildcats weren't able to do anything with it, but they got on the board in the next inning with a pair of runs. A single from Jack Dunn and double from Zach Jones set up back-to-back sacrifice flies by Matt Hopfner and Joe Hoscheit cut the Golden Bears' lead to 6-2.

Josh Davis entered for Bordignon and did a good job in the 5th, 6th and 7th, allowing just one run. But, he fell apart in the 8th and gave way to Richard Fordon. Thanks to a bunch of walks and a key error by Bourbon on a catchable line drive, Cal added seven runs in the 8th, capped off by a Denis Karas three-run shot to left-center. That sealed the game as for Northwestern's third-straight double-digit loss. Cal went on win 13-2.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Rocky and Berenice Miller Park at 3:00 pm CST. Both team's starting pitchers are TBA. Northwestern is now 13-37 on the season while California is 28-18.