On March 30, 2016, Northwestern broke in Rocky and Berenice Miller Park with a resounding 11-5 win over Chicago State.
364 days later, the Wildcats (6-17, 0-3 B1G) topped the Cougars (6-16, 2-1 WAC) again at home, this time 2-0 behind seven brilliant innings from senior starter Cooper Wetherbee (1-1).
Most of the action (if you can call it that) in this one came early on. After Wetherbee sat Chicago State down in order to open the game, Northwestern loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first via a Matt Hopfner single and back-to-back walks by Alex Erro and Joe Hoscheit. Connor Lind pushed the first run of the day through with a third consecutive walk, but a chance for a greater rally was squandered by a Jack Claeys double-play ground ball one batter later.
Northwestern doubled their lead in the second frame in unusual fashion. Charlie Maxwell led the sequence off with a single to centerfield, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, then put Northwestern up 2-0 by scoring on a throwing error from Chicago State catcher Jacob Northrup as Maxwell attempted to swipe third.
The game moved along at a rather brisk pace from there. Wetherbee cruised to a win with seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out one Chicago State batter in the process (Wetherbee has a 1.53 ERA this season, but only 12 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched). From there, Sam Lawrence and Nick Cauley slammed the door, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout each.
Northwestern improves to 6-17 on the year and 2-7 on its current 12-game homestand with the win. Spencer Allen and co. wrap up the homestand with a three game series against Air Force (11-13, 2-10 MWC) this weekend.