Northwestern baseball (4-4) split its second straight series of the 2016 campaign this weekend, winning the first and final games in a four game swing against Pacific (2-6) in Stockton, California.
The series began Friday evening with an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel in which the ‘Cats, behind senior starter Reed Mason, were able to subdue the Tigers’ bats, taking the opener 3-1.
All four runs of the contest were tallied in the fourth inning including a timely RBI triple from freshman outfielder Ben Dickey and two RBI base-knocks from senior first baseman Zach Jones and freshman second baseman Willie Bourbon.
The ‘Cats came up short in the first matchup of Saturday’s doubleheader as starter Josh Davis lost his second straight decision, surrendering five earned runs in five innings in a 7-3 Wildcat loss.
After NU left-fielder Joe Hoscheit’s first inning solo home run, the Tigers responded with five unanswered runs, including homers from outfielders JJ Wagner and Danny Mayer in a four-run third.
In the nightcap, the ‘Cats roared out of the gates, taking a quick lead in the top of the first on a two-run single from designated hitter Matt Hopfner. From then on, however, it was all Tigers, as Pacific notched seven runs on eleven hits while holding NU to only one more run for the remainder of the game. The final score, for the second time that day, was 7-3.
The win was credited to Tigers’ senior starter Jake Jenkins, who was able to settle down after a rocky first inning, and the save to red-shirt sophomore Taylor Johnson, who finished the game with two stellar scoreless frames.
After three low-scoring outputs, the Wildcat bats woke up in a huge way Sunday, as NU put runs on the board in four of the first five innings and took game four going away by a score of 14-5.
All nine Wildcat starters finished the day with at least one RBI, highlighted by Bourbon’s astounding performance - the freshman was a homerun shy of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with four RBI out of the seven-hole.
NU returns to Chicago to face UIC on Wednesday before traveling to Port Charlotte, Florida, for four games against Saint Leo, Butler, Boston College and Illinois State next weekend.