EVANSTON -- Big Ten play hasn't been too welcoming for Northwestern in 2016, but after a four-game series sweep at the hands of the California Golden Bears, the Wildcats will be looking forward to a season-ending set with Rutgers next week.
Northwestern (13-38 overall) dropped the finale of the series on Monday at Rocky and Berenice Miller Park by a score of 15-0 to Cal, which dominated the weekend's play. The Golden Bears (29-18) hit 12 home runs and outscored the Wildcats 59-5 over the four games.
Dan Kubiuk got the start for Northwestern for the rare Monday afternoon affair and only got through one inning before he was lifted for Tyler Lass. Kubiuk, who has struggled as of late after a surprisingly good college debut, gave up a two-run homer to Mitchell Kranson and a RBI groundout to Nick Halamandaris, putting the Wildcats in an early 3-0 hole.
Lass didn't fare much better, allowing three runs in 2.1 innings after striking out two in a scoreless 2nd. He also gave up a home run, a solo shot to Robbie Tenerowicz. Meanwhile, the Wildcats managed just two hits (and no runs) off California starter Alex Schick in his five innings of work.
Pete Hofman, Justin Yoss, JR Reimer and Danny Katz also entered the fray out of Northwestern's bullpen and allowed a combined nine runs in 5.2 innings. Hofman gave up back-to-back homers to Halamandaris and Denis Karas for Cal's 9th and 10th longballs of the series. Tenerowicz hit another bomb in the 9th inning off Reimer for his second of the day.
For the fourth consecutive game, Northwestern's offense never really got going as it was shut down by Schick, Matt Ladrech and Akaash Agarwal. The Wildcats only connected on five hits Monday and were held to three runs or less in each game of the series.
California, which had dropped seven of its previous 10 games before heading to Evanston, won all four games by double digits. The Golden Bears had three double digit wins all season prior to this weekend, two of which came against Purdue, the team Northwestern swept a week ago.
In his final home game as a Wildcat, senior Zach Jones went 2-for-4 as he and Matt Hopfner both contributed a pair of singles.
Northwestern concludes the home portion of its season with a 5-14 record at Rocky and Berenice Miller Park.
The Wildcats will finish up their season at Rutgers this weekend. They will look to spoil the Scarlet Knights' outside shot at the Big Ten Tournament.
California will head back home to Berkeley to take on the Utah Utes before concluding its regular season at Washington State.