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The history of Northwestern Athletics at Wrigley Field

With baseball returning to Wrigley on Tuesday, let’s look at the previous instances of the ‘Cats playing in the Confines.

Northwestern baseball is set to travel nine miles south on Tuesday to take on Notre Dame at Wrigley Field — the home of the Chicago Cubs. Northwestern and Wrigley have had a fruitful relationship over the last decade-plus, so we thought it would be worth taking a look at each of the previous four instances in which a Northwestern team played at the Friendly Confines.

November 20, 2010: Football vs. Illinois

In the first college football game at Wrigley Field in over 80 years, Northwestern welcomed their in-state rivals to the Confines. The logistics were somewhat of a mess, with each team only driving one direction on offense due to a lack of space behind one of the end zones. Still, 41,000 people showed up to watch the annual battle for the Land of Lincoln Trophy. The game did not go particularly well for the ‘Cats, as the Illini defeated them by a score of 48-27, but it was still an achievement for then-athletic director Jim Phillips to bring college football back to the historic venue.

April 20, 2013: Baseball vs. Michigan

Aside from Tuesday’s pending match against the Fighting Irish, this conference clash is the only other instance of Northwestern playing a baseball game at Wrigley. In that contest, Northwestern used a complete game, three-hit shutout from six-year MLB veteran Luke Farrell in order to defeat the Wolverines, 6-0. The pivotal run came via an RBI double from Zach Morton in the bottom of the first inning. Northwestern will be looking for a similar performance tomorrow against the Irish.

April 26, 2014: Lacrosse vs. USC

Wrigley Field was transformed once again in 2014, this time into a lacrosse field for a non-conference matchup between the Wildcats and the Trojans. In front of over 5,000 fans, Kelly Amonte Hiller’s squad rode a 4-1 run in the game’s first 13 minutes to a 12-7 victory. Kara Mupo led the Wildcats with four goals in the win.

November 20, 2021: Football vs. Purdue

After football’s return to Wrigley was pushed back a year due to the pandemic, the Wildcats took on the Boilermakers in the penultimate game of their 2021 campaign. The game, much like most of that season, went poorly for Northwestern, as Aidan O’Connell lit up NU’s secondary for 423 yards in an 18-point Purdue win. On the upside, thanks to renovations at Wrigley, the grounds crew was able to find enough space for teams to drive both ways down the field.