Baseball: Wildcats drop series opener to Wichita State

Alex Putterman, Reporter

Northwestern (22-24) lost 8-2 to Wichita State (32-25) on Thursday in Kansas.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Wildcats took a lead in the third on a 2-run double from junior Kyle Ruchim, scoring freshman Zach Jones, who had walked, and sophomore Walker Moses, who had singled.

From there, the offense stunted, tallying only 2 hits after Ruchim’s double. One came in the fifth inning, when redshirt senior Trevor Stevens singled with 2 outs, then advanced to second on a wild pitch before a Ruchim walk. With 2 runners on base, redshirt senior Zach Morton struck out to end the threat. It was the closest the Cats would come to more runs.

Senior Luke Farrell struggled in his final game for the Cats, ceding runs in four different innings and allowing 9 hits in six innings. He exited with his team trailing 4-2.

Although Farrell’s poor outing was his second straight sub-standard performance, the right-hander finished an excellent season with a 2.13 ERA.

Junior Dan Tyson relieved Farrell to begin the seventh and had similar difficulties. Tyson allowed a run in the seventh and 3 more in the eighth before departing with 2 outs in the inning.

With the score 8-2, sophomore Scott Heelan singled in the ninth inning, but sophomore Reid Hunter grounded into a double play to end the game.

Wichita State’s offense picked up 15 hits off the three NU pitchers with four batters getting multiple hits. The Shockers’ first two hitters were the most dangerous threats, combining to go 7-for-10 at the plate with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. The Cats’ offense had less success against the Shockers’ three pitchers, who struck out seven batters and gave up only 4 hits.

The Cats’ series against the Shockers continues this weekend. Sophomore Brandon Magallones will take the mound Friday and Morton will take the bump Saturday. With the loss, NU needs to win both of its final two games to finish with its first .500 record since 2003.