NU falls to IU 5-4 in series Game one

By Gavin Dorsey

As the midseason mark approaches, the Big Ten baseball standings have never been tighter. There’s an upper echelon of the top three to four teams, followed by a mass of teams with nearly identical records left jockeying for position in the conference’s ranks.

That includes Northwestern, a team dubbed the “Evanston Power Surge” by many due to their high-powered offense and conference-leading 45 home runs. Despite the hot bats, the Wildcats sit in the middle of the Big Ten following some tough losses.

In an anticipated battle between stellar pitching and phenomenal batting, Northwestern hosted Indiana Friday afternoon in an attempt to right the ship after back-to-back losses.  After trailing by as many as five scores, the Wildcats could not complete the comeback, falling 5-4.

The game started slow for both sides, with the Hoosiers retiring the first six NU batters. Indiana opened the scoring in the third inning, with a single sending two runners home to give the game its first points.

The Wildcats struggled against Indiana’s pitching all day, not even registering a hit until the bottom of the fourth inning. Things started to look up for Northwestern after a double to deep left field from junior Shawn Goosenberg, but they couldn’t capitalize.

For six innings, the Northwestern bats were stonewalled by Indiana’s Tommy Sommer, who allowed only one hit over 19 batters faced. However, the Wildcats finally showed signs of life in the bottom of the seventh. After NU gave up three more Indiana runs earlier that inning, grad student Leo Kaplan hit an infield single with the bases loaded to score redshirt junior, David Dunn. Kaplan’s speed beat out the throw to first, loading the bases for the next batter as well.

On the ensuing pitch, junior Anthony Calarco singled to center, scoring Northwestern’s second consecutive run.  Following the fourth straight NU single, Indiana made a pitching change, but the ‘Cats were not done yet. Two batters later, with the bases still loaded, sophomore Stephen Hrustich sent a pitch deep to left-center field, bouncing once before popping over the fence for a ground-rule double.

At one time down 5-0, the Wildcats had come back with a four-run seventh inning to make the game close. The Evanston Power Surge was heating up at the perfect time, as Northwestern was looking to add to its lengthy list of late-game heroics this season. In addition to the offense’s awakening, first-year reliever Garrett Boeckle stifled Indiana from the mound, striking out three and not allowing a single hit in the last two innings.

Despite the hot seventh inning, the Wildcats were unable to carry their momentum to the end. Goosenberg reached second base in the final inning, but the team wasn’t able to get him home to tie the game. The loss was Northwestern’s third consecutive, dropping their record to 11-11, good for seventh in the Big Ten.