The Daily Northwestern

Baseball: Wildcats savor night under the lights at Wrigley Field

The Wildcats come out to celebrate the team’s 6-0 win over Michigan on Saturday at Wrigley Field. It was the first game under the new partnership between NU and the Chicago Cubs and nearly 4,200 people were in attendance at the game.

Meghan White/Daily Senior Staffer

The Wildcats come out to celebrate the team’s 6-0 win over Michigan on Saturday at Wrigley Field. It was the first game under the new partnership between NU and the Chicago Cubs and nearly 4,200 people were in attendance at the game.

Rohan Nadkarni, Online Sports Editor

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For many kids, baseball fans or not, running onto the hallowed ground of Wrigley Field for a nine-inning set of America’s pastime would be a dream come true.

Those dreams and more came true for Northwestern on Saturday night. The Wildcats cruised to a 6-0 win against Michigan behind a dominant outing from senior pitcher Luke Farrell. But, more importantly, Farrell and NU displayed their best performance on their biggest stage of the season and had a little fun in the process.

“I don’t know if gets any better than what I just saw in the last few hours,” a jubilant coach Paul Stevens said after the game. “It was absolutely mesmerizing. It was like nothing we’ve experienced before. … I wanted to be that little kid running out onto the field.”

The night meant more to the program than just a win over the conference’s first-place team.

The Cats’ last few seasons have been subpar outings. NU finished 18 games under .500 last season, and nine games under the year before.

The atmosphere on Clark and Addison also seemed worlds away from the Cats’ usual home at Rocky Miller Park. Only 83 fans showed up at NU’s last home game against Wheaton. More than 4,000 people were in the crowd at Wrigley Field.

“I would love to have a stage like this every single night we play,” Stevens said. “That will happen soon or later at Northwestern. But until then, if they’ll let me come back here and play every single night, I’ll be more than happy (the Chicago Cubs) are out of town.”

The excitement for the players began as soon as they heard about NU’s partnership with the Cubs’ organization. On Saturday night, even before running onto the field, players marveled at the stadium while trying to secure the locker of their favorite players.

“I have Travis Wood’s (locker),” said redshirt senior Zach Morton, the game’s offensive star. “Starlin Castro, Jeff Samardzija — those guys were all taken. I got in late, being a senior on the back of the bus. Freshmen got first takes. I don’t like it. I should (have pulled rank). I think I’ll do that after this.”

As for the future, NU and the Cubs have not announced any plans for the baseball program to return to Wrigley Field. After all, the star of the partnership will be the Cats’ football team returning to the Friendly Confines. Stevens joked he had “25 to 30” dollars in rent he could pay the Cubs if they allowed him to return.

But for now, the Cats will have to appreciate their one night in front of thousands at Wrigley Field. Even Farrell, whom baseball reporter Peter Gammons predicted would be selected in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft, could not hide his childish enthusiasm after the game.

“I was a little fired up,” Farrell said. “It’s fun pitching in front of big crowds. Thanks to all these people that came out. It’s awesome.”

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About the Writer
Rohan Nadkarni, Gameday Editor

Rohan Nadkarni is the Gameday editor of The Daily and a Medill junior. His past positions include Sports editor, assistant Sports editor and football beat...