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

The Daily Northwestern

32° Evanston, IL
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

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Baseball: Struggling Cats return to Rocky Miller Park

With one Big Ten win already under its belt, Northwestern aims to add to that tally when they open a four-game series Friday against Michigan State at Rocky Miller Park. It will be NU’s first home series of the season.

“It’s a big-time advantage,” senior outfielder Aaron Newman said. “Rocky Miller is a tough place (for opponents) to play. We’re going to do well against Michigan State.”

The Wildcats are coming off a 1-3 series against Big Ten rival Purdue. Despite losing its first conference series, NU’s single win could not have come at a better time. The 11-3 victory in the first game of last Saturday’s doubleheader broke the Cats’ six-game losing streak, their longest dry spell this season.

“We all know that we’re better than that streak,” Newman said. “It was good to get that win, but we don’t want to stop there.”

NU (5-12, 1-3 Big Ten) did not build much of a winning streak, dropping the last two games of the series against the Boilermakers despite solid hitting from the top of the lineup and improved pitching performances from freshman Eric Jokisch and sophomore Joe Muraski.

The Cats hope to keep swinging the bats well in their home opener against a Spartan team that swept NU in its last four-game series in East Lansing, Mich.

The offense will look to first baseman Jake Goebbert to lead the team. Goebbert has notched six RBIs, a career high, twice this year.

The sophomore also leads the conference with a .758 slugging percentage, is second with four home runs and sits in third with 50 total bases.

“Numbers don’t mean a whole lot in baseball,” Goebbert said. “It’s really on the whole team to hit the ball well because it gives us a spark.”

Senior infielder Jake Owens, Newman and Goebbert, who provided most of the offensive energy against the Boilermakers at the top of NU’s order, went a perfect 11-for-11 with nine RBIs and nine runs scored in the Cats’ last win.

The key is getting on base and giving more players an opportunity to bat, said Newman.

“You can’t pitch around any guy because the next guy can hurt you big time,” Newman said. “It’s fun to play with these guys because I know if I get on base there is a pretty good chance I’m going to score.”

Currently, the Cats are tied for ninth in the conference with the Spartans with a single Big Ten win. Both the teams hope to have made a significant jump in the standings after this series. There is a sense of urgency on NU to show opponents what the team has to offer.

“We got to earn some respect right now,” Newman said. “Coming in with a 1-3 record that’s not going to scare anyone, so we got to come out and try to send a message that first game and set the momentum for the weekend.”

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Baseball: Struggling Cats return to Rocky Miller Park