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Baseball: Wildcats shut out against Northern Illinois

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Baseball: Wildcats shut out against Northern Illinois

Dan Tyson winds up for a pitch. The senior gave up just 1 earned run in six innings Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-0 loss.

Dan Tyson winds up for a pitch. The senior gave up just 1 earned run in six innings Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-0 loss.

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Dan Tyson winds up for a pitch. The senior gave up just 1 earned run in six innings Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-0 loss.

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Dan Tyson winds up for a pitch. The senior gave up just 1 earned run in six innings Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-0 loss.

Alex Putterman, Sports Editor

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In baseball — as in most sports — you can’t win if you don’t score.

Northwestern (12-29) was shut out by Northern Illinois (14-30-1) 4-0 Wednesday night at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, Ill.

The loss was the Wildcats’ fourth in a row, after NU was swept at Michigan State last weekend. The team has now endured losing streaks of four or more games five different times this season.

Before the current cold stretch, the Cats had won eight of their past 11 games, including two out of three in Nebraska, causing players to express confidence in the team’s progress. These four straight losses — in which NU has been outscored 29-6 —are undoubtedly a setback.

The Cats’ bats have been particularly cold during this losing streak, and Wednesday night marked the fourth time this season NU has been shut out.

The Cats managed only three hits against Northern Illinois starter Jordan Ruckman, who entered the game with a 7.83 ERA in 39.1 innings on the season.

The Huskies tallied just eight hits themselves but were able to push across enough runs.

In the fourth inning, Northern Illinois’ Justin Fletcher doubled, stole third base and scored on a ground ball to shortstop to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.

They added two more runs in the seventh via a 2-run single from Tommy Hook, who had three hits on the day.

Northern Illinois’ last run, in the eighth inning, was aided by an NU error, one of the team’s three miscues on the day.

NU senior starting pitcher Dan Tyson enjoyed one of his strongest outings of the year, throwing six innings of 1-run ball. He was relieved by freshman Matt Hopfner, who allowed 2 runs in his single inning of work, before being replaced by fellow freshman Joe Hoscheit, who allowed a run in his only frame.

The Cats played without sophomore first baseman Zach Jones, who left Sunday’s game with an injury. Hopfner, usually the team’s right fielder, started at first in Jones’ place. Before Wednesday, Jones had played in every single game this season, one of only two NU players to do so.

The Cats hope to snap their brief skid this weekend, when they host Michigan (20-24-1, 9-9 Big Ten).

NU is currently last in the Big Ten with a 4-13 record, three games back from eighth place, the spot necessary to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament.

With only six games remaining on the conference schedule, postseason play is bordering on unattainable. If the Cats are to have any hope, they’ll certainly need to score a few runs.

Email: asputt@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @AlexPutt02

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