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Baseball: Wildcats pick up first win but continue struggles

The first victory of what Jim Foster hopes will be many with NU.

@NUCatsBaseball on Twitter.

Unlike the 2008 Detroit Lions, the 2022-23 Northwestern baseball team was simply not going to go 0-16.

On Sunday afternoon, the Wildcats (1-14, 0-0 B1G) earned their first win of the season, which also happened to be the inaugural of Jim Foster’s tenure as head coach. NU defeated the Butler Bulldogs 5-1 in Indianapolis.

Transfer righty Matt McClure turned in an absolute gem to propel the ‘Cats to victory. The 6-foot-6 hurler pitched seven innings, allowing only one run across five hits. From there, reliever Ben Grable controlled the mound for two frames, permitting only one hit to guide NU to its first win since May 20, 2022.

While Butler jumped out to a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Quentin Markle RBI single in the second inning, Northwestern’s offense was in command from there. Kevin Ferrer tied the game with a solo shot in the fourth and then gave NU the lead on an error by Carter Dorighi. The Wildcats tacked on three more in the eighth via a two-run double from Trent Liolios and a walk by Vincent Bianchina.

However, the ‘Cats couldn’t keep momentum rolling. The team dropped its Monday matchup against Butler, splitting the series after a narrow 3-2 affair.

The home side jumped on first-year starter Sam Garewal, who gave up three runs (one earned) in only 3.2 innings. While the purple and white made things interesting with a Stephen Hrustich RBI single and Cooper Foard sac fly, NU’s rally came up short.

Following a travel day, Northwestern touched down in Fort Worth, Texas to battle TCU. The Horned Frogs took care of business at home, downing the ‘Cats 9-2.

Though first-year Owen McElfatrick knotted up the game 1-1 with a third-inning RBI single, the Frogs pounced on grad student Ethan Sund, who was ultimately tagged for seven runs in two innings. On the flip side, TCU lefty Braeden Sloan was dominant, allowing only one run and four hits over six innings.

Following an off day on Thursday, the Wildcats will stay in Texas to take on the UT Arlington Mavericks as well as the Houston Cougars in Houston. The first pitch of Northwestern’s three-game series in the Lone Star State is set for 11 a.m. CT on Friday. Saturday’s matchup with UH can be seen on ESPN+ at 6:30 p.m. CT.