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Baseball: ‘Cats tally first win of 2022 in series loss to Santa Clara

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A step in the right direction, kinda.

After being swept in their season-opening series at UAB, the Northwestern Wildcats remained on the road this past weekend, playing another four-game series against the Santa Clara Broncos.

By the end of the weekend, the ‘Cats had gone 1-3 against SCU, picking up their sole win of the series in the first leg of a doubleheader that took place on Saturday. Northwestern now sits at 1-7 on the 2022 season.

In the first game of the series, the Wildcats sent senior pitcher Mike Doherty to the mound to face off against SCU’s Cole Kitchen. Doherty led NU in innings pitched, ERA and WHIP last season, but struggled early on against the Broncos. By the end of his performance, Doherty pitched just four innings and gave up 11 hits and nine earned runs. He also walked three batters and allowed another baserunner via a hit by pitch. Ultimately, the ‘Cats fell 12-4, with two of their runs coming off of a two-run home run by senior Tommy D’Alise in the top of the eighth.

As previously mentioned, the second and third games of the series were played in a doubleheader on Saturday. To open the first game of the doubleheader, Northwestern took an early lead and never looked back, scoring four runs in both the top of the first and the top of the second. The ‘Cats tacked on two more runs later on the game and ultimately blanked Santa Clara 10-0. First-year pitcher Sean Sullivan pitched a gem, going six innings and striking out nine while only giving up five hits.

The second game of the doubleheader was far less fun for the Wildcats. Grad transfer Ruben Fontes got the scoring going early for NU, hitting a solo shot to center field in the top of the first. That 1-0 lead didn’t last long, however, as the Broncos added three runs of their own in the bottom of the first via a wild pitch, a single and a double.

As the third game of the series progressed, Santa Clara continued to add on to its advantage, eventually jumping out to a 5-1 lead through five innings. The ‘Cats did add two more runs of their own in the top of the sixth thanks to an RBI double from Ethan O’Donnell and a RBI single from Vincent Bianchina, but the Broncos didn’t stop either, responding with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning to make the score 7-3. As the game neared its close, SCU tacked on three more runs and walked away with a 10-3 victory. Graduate student Michael Farinelli received the loss for the ‘Cats after giving up nine hits and five earned runs over four innings on the mound.

To begin the series finale, Northwestern once again jumped out to an early lead, this time via a homer to left by first-year catcher Bennett Markinson. From there, though, the Wildcats’ offense stalled while the Broncos hit the gas. SCU scored seven unanswered runs from the third to seventh inning, taking a commanding 7-1 lead into the final two frames. The ‘Cats did manage to add one final run in the top of the ninth via an O’Donnell RBI single, but ultimately fell by a five-run margin.

With their series in California now out of the way, the 1-7 Wildcats will now travel to Ohio to take on the 2-3 Cincinnati Bearcats this weekend. First pitch of the series is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT on Friday.