In just a few short months, Northwestern baseball manger Paul Stevens will retire after 27 years at the helm of the Wildcats.
So perhaps it’s appropriate that his team put together one of its most impressive performances of the season in the land where all legendary baseball figures eventually disappear into the cornfields - not heaven, but Iowa.
Northwestern took one game from the 14th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in a three-game set this weekend, but it was an impressive all-around performance for the Wildcats.
On Friday, senior pitcher Brandon Magallones pitched seven shutout innings against the Hawkeyes and nearly put together a complete game. After starting the 9th inning with the ‘Cats up 3-1, Magallones was pulled after allowing back-to–back singles. The bullpen wasn’t able to finish the job and Iowa walked off with a 4-3 victory.
Saturday saw the ‘Cats split a double-header with the Hawkeyes. After getting blown out in the first game 14-3, Northwestern rebounded well in the nightcap, grabbing a 4-1 victory behind a sterling pitching performance from Reed Mason.
Mason pitched 7 1/3 innings against Iowa in the second game, surrendering only a single run while scattering seven hits. The bullpen was able to shut the Hawkeye bats late, and seal the 4-1 Northwestern victory.
Offensively, the ‘Cats were powered by senior centerfielder Kyle Ruchim, who grabbed four hits in the series, including his sixth home run of the season in Saturday’s victory.
The win moves Northwestern to 11-26 on the season and 4-8 in the conference. The 'Cats begin the home portion of their schedule tomorrow with a matchup against Milwaukee at the newly renovated Rocky Miller Park.
In fact, due to construction forcing them to play their first 37 games of the season on the road, Northwestern will play 14 of their next 17 at home.