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Baseball: Dunn brothers lead the way as Northwestern takes one of three at No. 20 Duke

Despite giving up 23 runs in the series’ second game, Northwestern actually played pretty well this weekend.

@ckatzphoto via @NUCatsBaseball

After weather cancelled Friday’s scheduled contest against No. 20 Duke, Northwestern was forced to play a Saturday doubleheader for the second week in a row. The ‘Cats dropped both games of the doubleheader before grinding out a crucial road victory on Sunday to avoid leaving Durham empty-handed. Here’s a quick recap of each game:

Saturday (game 1): Loss, 5-4 in 10 innings

Another strong start, and another lead blown late for Northwestern. Hank Christie posted his second consecutive quality start for Northwestern (6.0 IP/3 H/1 ER/10 K), but the NU bullpen blew a 4-1 lead in the 8th inning and Duke walked it off two innings later.

Box Score

Saturday (game 2): Loss, 23-8

Northwestern was up 5-0 in the 3rd inning! And then all hell broke loose. Duke scored all of their runs in just two innings (12 in the 3rd, 11 in the 7th). Due to the rain delay, the game went well past midnight, which added insult to injury for a fatigued and depleted Northwestern bullpen in the backend of the double header.

Box Score

Sunday: Win, 5-3

Quinn Lavelle posted Northwestern’s second quality start of the weekend (6.0 IP/6 H/1 ER/3 K/1 BB) and led the way as Northwestern closed out the series on a high note. The NU bullpen was finally able to compliment the solid production of Northwestern’s starters as Parker Hanks and Nick Paciorek both threw scoreless frames to secure the victory.

Box Score

Three up

1. David Dunn

The redshirt freshman, who we featured last week, continued his hot start to the season with a huge weekend in Durham. Dunn hit 7-of-12 for the series, scored in each game and also stole a base on Sunday. Here’s a look at his impressive season numbers so far:

2. Jack Dunn (David’s older brother)

Although his younger brother may be stealing the spotlight at the moment, Jack Dunn also came up clutch for Northwestern this weekend, going 7-for-15 at the plate for the series and snagging an RBI in each contest as well. The senior shortstop also has a perfect fielding percentage thus far.

3. Pinch Hitting

The highlight of Northwestern’s weekend had to be Leo Kaplan’s pinch-hit, RBI triple that gave the Wildcats the lead for good in the top of the 7th inning. Kaplan’s clutch piece of hitting could prove to be important for his confidence moving forward as he had started the season just 1-of-12 at the plate before that hit.

Three down

1. Closing out games

For the second week in row, Northwestern dropped the opening game of a series despite outplaying their opponent for the majority of the game. NU outhit the Blue Devils in game 1 of the doubleheader, but ultimately fell after Anthony Alepra gave up a game-tying three-run shot in the bottom of the 8th inning. If the Northwestern bullpen can’t capitalize on quality starts as was the case on Saturday, it’s going to be a long season.

2. Clean Defense

Northwestern had five fielding errors over the weekend. Third baseman Charlie Maxwell was responsible for three of them. The only thing worse than bad pitching is bad pitching and bad fielding.

3. The backend of doubleheaders

Northwestern has now been outscored 34-10 in the two “game 2” doubleheader contests they’ve played in this season. No more doubleheaders, please.