Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement

Home not so safe as baserunning problems hurt NU

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The first three games of Northwestern’s four-game series with Purdue were defensive struggles, especially at homeplate.

“This club and us play a lot alike,” NU head coach Paul Stevens said of the Boilermakers. “You’ve got to find a way — (the plays at home) are just us being aggressive.”

In Saturday’s games, which the Wildcats lost by a total of two runs, the teams combined to record five outs at home plate. NU catcher Ken Padgett tagged out three Boilermakers while NU first baseman Travis Tharp, who went 3-for-6 on the afternoon, was tagged out at home in both games.

In Game 1, an overthrown ball from shortstop to first base in the top of the seventh took a bad bounce off the wooden base of the fence along the first base line. Tharp, who was on third base, beelined for the plate but was tagged out to record the second out of the inning. Then, in Game 2, Purdue outfielder Daniel Underwood caught Padgett’s fly ball and gunned in a throw from deep right field to snag Tharp at home again, ending the fourth inning.

“There were some ridiculous plays,” Padgett said. “Their right fielder made a throw I’ve never seen made in college baseball. We had four good plays at home, which are four big runs in one-run games. They kept us in the game, but they also kept them on top.”

BACK HOME AGAIN: Indiana native Brandon Ackley came home this weekend, but it took him a while to get comfortable in the batter’s box.

Ackley, one of the Cats’ strongest hitters, went 1-for-6 on Saturday with three strikeouts before rebounding Sunday.

“Things happen in streaks, I’m a firm believer in that,” Ackley said. “Sometimes you go up there and you feel like an idiot and have some embarrassing at-bats. My first seven or eight at-bats were some of the worst I’ve had all season.”

Ackley ended his slump Sunday with a double to deep right field in the top of the seventh to drive in the Cats’ only run of the first game.

And he had nothing to be embarrassed about in the second game, going 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBIs.

“I was down on myself (after Saturday), I’m not gonna lie,” Ackley said. “But I just sucked it up and got some hits today.”

STOPPING SHORT: It’s a long throw from shortstop to first base. It’s also a long season. Freshman Jon Mikrut, who started all four games at shortstop, knows this better than anyone.

In alternating displays of great athleticism and youthful inexperience, Mikrut committed three errors over the weekend against the Boilermakers.

Mikrut fielded the ball well going in the hole toward third, but he struggled on more routine plays.

But Stevens said he is not concerned about the rookie’s errors.

“I think John’s a little tired,” Stevens said. “Every once in a while a ball gets by him, but he’s getting to balls normal people aren’t getting to right now. We’ve had a couple of All-Americans here, and I’m going to tell you what — this kid is not far off that mark of defensive expertise.”

INJURY REPORT: Senior pitcher Zach Schara made his Big Ten season debut against Purdue, throwing a total of 3 1/3 innings and giving up two runs. Schara had been sidelined since mid-March with a fracture in his throwing hand.

Senior center fielder Steve Haake came out of Sunday’s second game in the third inning with an apparent hamstring injury. Stevens said the severity of the injury will not be known until today.

Haake, the Cats’ leadoff hitter, had a hamstring problem coming into this season.

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Home not so safe as baserunning problems hurt NU