Northwestern baseball's solid start came to a grinding halt in Port Charlotte, Florida, this weekend, as the Wildcats (4-8) lost four straight to fall under .500 for the first time this year.
By Jason Mast
Thursday: Saint Leo kills Wildcat momentum with 5-3 victory: The 'Cats came into the Thursday rolling off of a 14-5 trouncing of the Pacific Tigers and they brought that momentum into their matchup with Saint Leo. With the score tied at one in the fifth, and a men on first and third, the Lions' Andrew Cohen balked to bring home to first baseman Zach Jones. Behind four one-run innings from starter Dan Kubiuk and two hitless innings from Josh Davis, NU held a 2-1 lead. They pushed it to 3-1 with a double from centerfielder Jake Schieber, but the Lions roared back to tie in the seventh with two runs off of freshman Tyler Lass. The Lions scored two more runs on sacrifice flies in the ninth to seal a 5-3 victory.
Friday morning: 6-3 loss to Boston College: NU ace Reed Mason stepped on the mound for Northwestern Friday morning and fired five shutout innings to open the game. With an RBI double from leftfielder Joe Hoscheit in the first and an RBI single from centerfielder Ben Dickey in the sixth, the 'Cats were up 2-0. But Mason surrendered two runs, one earned, in the bottom of the sixth and then BC grabbed four more in the eighth off of Tommy Bordignon to seal a victory.
Friday afternoon: NU loses 10-9 extra innings slugfest to Butler: After a close morning matchup, Northwestern lost a close, high-scoring contest to Butler. Matt Hopfner led the way for 'Cats, going 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI, and Jones added another four hits and an RBI. The pitchers, however, could never find a rhythm and the defense struggled. Behind two errors, starter Pete Hofman gave up five runs, three earned, over 2.1 innings, and three more relievers gave up runs after him. With Northwestern down 9-7 in the bottom of the ninth, Hoscheit and Hopfner each hit RBI doubles to send it into extras. But Butler hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the tenth to win 10-9.
Saturday: Tough weekend hits nadir with 10-4 loss to Illinois State: Freshman Cooper Wetherbee struggled in his first career start and the bullpen did, too, as Northwestern dropped its fourth straight game, 10-4. Northwestern rallied to a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth with RBI singles from Jack Claeys, Connor Lind and Willie Bourbon. But the Cardinals fired back immediately with three runs in the bottom half. Over the final three innings, Illinois scored six runs, three earned, and took a 10-4 victory.
The 'Cats will look to turn things around on Tuesday when they make-up their postponed game from March 2 at UIC in Chicago.
Softball (7-12) lost all five games it played at the Judi Garman Classic at Cal State Fullerton over the weekend.
By Will Fischer
Friday afternoon: Wildcats fall to No. 22 Fresno State 7-1. NU started the game well, as senior Amy Letourneau had a no-hitter through the first four innings and the Wildcats held a 1-0 lead. But in the fifth inning, Fresno State woke up with four runs, snatching the victory.
Friday evening: NU unable to keep early lead, loses 3-2 to Long Beach State: The 'Cats jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Long Beach State in the first inning, but was unable to hold on. Long Beach State chipped away with a run in the fifth inning and would rally for two more in the seventh inning, stealing a 3-2 victory. With two outs in the seventh, Long Beach State’s Kelli Finan rounded third and seemed to be dead at the plate, but jumped over NU catcher Caylor Arnold and was called safe, tying the game.
LBSU got another RBI single after, going on to win the game 3-2.
Saturday afternoon: Wildcats squanders another early lead, falling to San Jose State 7-3: NU had a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning before SJSU scored three runs. The ‘Cats would give up three more runs in the seventh inning.
Saturday evening: host Cal State Fullerton one-hit the Wildcats, winning 2-0: Three Cal State Fullerton pitchers combined to blank NU, and two unearned runs in third inning were enough for the victory.
Sunday afternoon: NU fell to No. 19 Arizona State 2-1: Senior Andrea Filler hit her fifth homerun of the season, but the Wildcats could not get the offense they needed to take down Arizona State. Letourneau pitched well again, going six innings, striking out six and allowing just two earned runs.
After a tough weekend, the Wildcats will get a week of rest before resuming action at the USF Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Florida, on March 18.