Bianchina Bombs EVEN IU Series
By Ryan Choe
In a tightly contested battle Saturday afternoon, Northwestern baseball defeated Indiana 8-5 in nine innings, avenging Friday’s loss. The ‘Cats surged to an early 4-0 lead thanks to a pair of solo home runs by first-year Vincent Bianchina in the second and third innings and RBI doubles from juniors Shawn Goosenberg and Anthony Calarco in the bottom of the second.
However, the Hoosiers capitalized off of Northwestern starting pitcher Tyler Uberstine’s struggles, hitting a pair of two-run home runs in the fourth and fifth innings respectively. At the end of the fifth inning, the game was practically started anew with a 4-4 tie.
Sophomore Reed Smith entered the contest for Uberstine in the top of the sixth and saw some early success in his brief play. Both teams were scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings, with the Hoosiers combing for a mere two hits during this stretch. However, the bats heated up in the eighth inning to create a back-and-forth thriller.
After seizing back some momentum in the fourth and fifth innings, Indiana scored a crucial run from a Drew Ashley RBI. Northwestern head coach Spencer Allen then replaced Smith with left-handed reliever Sam Lawrence. The ‘Cats were able to scramble out of the top of the eighth in a small 5-6 deficit.
The bottom of the eighth saw fireworks from the Northwestern bats. Redshirt junior David Dunn started the offensive train with a single to right field, and Bianchina added to his field day with a single of his own. Sophomore Evan Minarovic’s sacrifice bunt moved Bianchina to second and David Dunn to third with one out. First-year Ethan O’Donnell then hit an RBI double to bring Dunn and Bianchina home. A pitching substitution from the Indiana bullpen couldn’t stop the barrage of hits as the ‘Cats scored two more runs off of an RBI single from Calarco and a run by Leo Kaplan after a passed ball. Lawrence quickly closed out the top of the ninth to secure an 8-5 victory for Northwestern.
With this win, Northwestern broke its three-game losing streak and bumped its winning percentage over .500, moving into sixth place in the Big Ten. The ‘Cats look to today’s contest to secure the series win against Indiana, now ranked third in the Big Ten. Tune into WNUR Sports on Mixlr at noon CT for the first pitch at Rocky and Berenice Park.