The Daily Northwestern

Baseball: Luke Farrell shuts down Michigan in first Northwestern game at Wrigley

Senior pitcher Luke Farrell is congratulated by a teammate as he enters the dugout after Saturday’s win against Michigan at Wrigley Field. Farrell threw nine strikeouts and allowed only three hits over the course of his complete game shutout.

Meghan White/Daily Senior Staffer

Senior pitcher Luke Farrell is congratulated by a teammate as he enters the dugout after Saturday’s win against Michigan at Wrigley Field. Farrell threw nine strikeouts and allowed only three hits over the course of his complete game shutout.

Alex Putterman, Reporter

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The moss-green scoreboard stares down from center field. The ivy, not yet lush and vital, scales the outfield walls. The bleachers, near-empty on this day, look every bit their age. The third-base dugout reads “Chicago Cubs,” but purple flags with white “N”s wave from foul poles in left and right field and above the scoreboard in center.

This is Wrigley Field, for one day the home of the Northwestern Wildcats.

From the first pitch, a fastball strike from NU starter Luke Farrell, the Cats made the Friendly Confines feel like theirs.

Farrell was the star of NU’s 6-0 victory over Michigan, hurling a complete game shutout while striking out 9 and allowing 3 hits and no walks. When the senior blew his last pitch, a 93-mile-per-hour heater, past the swinging bat of Travis Maezes, the Cats had a memorable victory at a memorable venue.

After a one-two-three first inning from Farrell, the Cats grabbed the game’s first run in their half of the frame. Batting with a runner on first base, NU’s third batter, redshirt senior Zach Morton, lashed a double down the third-base line, scoring junior Kyle Ruchim from first.

Two innings later, Morton struck again with another RBI double, this one plating redshirt senior Trevor Stevens. The next batter, senior Jack Havey, traded places with Morton, doubling to right, and the Cats led 3-0.

Meanwhile, Farrell was dealing.

The senior right-hander didn’t allow a base runner until the fifth inning, when he ceded a leadoff single but erased the runner with a double play two batters later. Farrell retired all six batters in the sixth and seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth

With one out, Michigan’s Zach Zott singled to left field, then advanced to second on a bunt single by Kevin White. When the runners advanced to second and third on a pitch in the dirt, Farrell faced his only jam of the evening.

He rose to the occasion.

First, he fanned Jack Sexton on an off-speed floater. Then, with much of the announced attendance of 4,197 standing and cheering, Farrell reared back and fired a strike-three fastball by Cole Martin to end the threat.

NU widened its lead in its half of the eighth, with a three-run rally featuring 3 hits and 2 walks. Again, Morton was central to the run-scoring, leading off with a single and scoring the inning’s first run.

Farrell finished as strong as he began, his 90th and final pitch as fast as any before it. Afterward, he was short on words, able to articulate only what everyone involved echoed.

“This has been a really fun night.”

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About the Writer
Alex Putterman, Web Editor

Alex is a Medill senior studying journalism. He has written for The Daily’s sports desk since his first quarter at NU. His past positions at The Daily include sports editor and gameday editor. The West Hartford, Connecticut native has previously worked for SI.com and the Hartford Courant and written for AOL.com and Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex via Twitter or email.