The boys have got the ball rolling.
After starting the season 2-10, Northwestern Baseball won seven straight contests before dropping last weekend’s finale to Butler on a walk-off home run.
Beforehand, the ‘Cats were afforded an extra rest day after their March 23 game against Notre Dame was postponed. Then, on fresh legs, the team traveled down to Carbondale, Ill., on Friday to meet the Southern Illinois Salukis and the Butler Bulldogs in a four-game set.
In their first contest against SIU, the ‘Cats hitting came alive. They beat the Salukis with a score of 10-4, which included a season-high five home runs. Sophomores Ethan O’Donnell and Jay Beshears tallied two home runs apiece while Senior Anthony Calarco added another.
The pitching was stellar again from first-year Sean Sullivan, who has tallied two B1G Freshman of the Week and Pitcher of the Week awards thus far. He delivered five innings of work with two earned runs on five hits and five strikeouts to bring his record to 4-0.
Northwestern took the first game from Butler on Saturday, proving that the ‘Cats were better than the Bulldogs, 13-3. Middlebury graduate transfer Michael Farinelli took the bump for all seven innings, allowing only three runs on five hits to Northwestern’s 12 hits. O’Donnell continued his offensive stand with another home run, while Junior Luke Tanner had his first career homer, delivering three RBIs.
Sunday’s double-header featured matchups with both SIU and Butler. Against the Salukis, the ‘Cats would not be stopped again as they won by a 15-6 margin. O’Donnell added six RBIs, including a grand slam for his fourth run of the weekend in the seventh inning to help NU come away with the victory after trailing the majority of the contest.
Calarco broke the lead open for the ‘Cats when he hit the second grand slam of the game in the next inning, bringing the score to 14-5. He went on to tally another HR in the second game of the double header as well against Butler.
That game did not go as well as the rest, as Northwestern ultimately fell to a walk-off home run by Butler’s Kollyn All, where the Bulldogs took the game 11-10.
Overall, last weekend was an offensive slugfest for the ‘Cats, and they have made great strides since starting this season on a losing streak. For O’Donnell and Beshears, their weekend performances were acknowledged with offensive player of the week honors from the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
The ‘Cats will look to start Big Ten play on the right foot at Indiana in a three-game set beginning on Friday.