Rocky Miller Park is surrounded by a construction fence, orange caution tape and a lot of dirt. The stadium and the baseball team that plays there are both a work in progress.
That’s why Northwestern’s three defeats at the hands of Ohio State this weekend should be taken with a grain of salt. The team is showing signs of better things to come and despite the sweep, has plenty of positives to take away from the series.
On Friday, the Wildcats fell 9-2, despite starting senior Brandon Magallones, who’s been pitching well as of late. Magallones surrendered only two earned runs in four innings of works, but was forced out with Northwestern down 7-0. The Wildcat bats were unable to pick up the pitching, despite scattering nine hits on the afternoon.
On Saturday, inclement weather wiped out a matinee game and forced a double header on Sunday.
After falling behind 6-0 in the first game, a ninth inning rally for three runs proved too little too late for the ‘Cats as they fell 6-3.
But in the second game, junior pitcher Reed Mason absolutely dominated the Buckeye bats for almost nine innings, allowing only four hits, two runs and looking to send Ohio State back to Columbus with a defeat.
But it just wasn’t meant to be.
The Buckeyes scratched across three runs in the top of the 11th and stole this one from the ‘Cats 5-2.
The sweep makes NU’s road to the Big Ten tournament even steeper, as the ‘Cats fall even farther behind the eight seed they need to punch their ticket to Minneapolis.
But just as the construction crews will return to Rocky Miller Park this summer, Northwestern baseball will get back to work on Wednesday, taking on Chicago State and beginning to lay the foundation of better things to come.