By: Darren Zaslau
Northwestern sophomore starter Hank Christie threw six scoreless innings, striking out six batters and allowed just three hits to help guide a 6–3 win over the MacMurray College Highlanders in the Wildcats’ home opener Saturday.
The sophomore right-hander earned his first victory of the 2018 season after being named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team last year.
“First pitch strikes were important,” said Christie during his postgame interview Saturday with WNUR Sports. “Getting a run on the board early makes it a lot easier to throw.”
Northwestern took advantage of two MacMurray errors in the first inning as Ben Dickey stole third and scored on an overthrow to give the Wildcats an early 1–0 lead. However, the Highlanders would threaten in the second inning.
After MacMurray’s Tyler Deaton singled to lead off the frame, Christie walked two hitters, which loaded the bases with one out. Christie, though, would then find a groove on the hill as he struck out the following two hitters to end the inning.
Over the third and fourth innings, he retired six batters consecutively. Christie said he felt comfortable on the mound Saturday, which helped propel his success.
“Getting back to the fundamentals and trusting what I can do helps a lot,” he said.
Continuing his dominance on the mound, he recorded a strikeout in the fifth and six innings. The outing was Christie’s longest this season. In 2017, Christie led the team with 83 innings pitched and tied the team-lead with five wins.
The Wildcats will be back in action Friday when they travel to Mount Pleasant, MI, to take on Central Michigan in a doubleheader starting at 11:30 a.m. Northwestern will conclude the three-game series against the Chippewas Saturday at 1 p.m.