Baseball: In final home series, Northwestern grabs two of three from SIU-Edwardsville

Jesse Kramer, Reporter

Emotions escalated early for Nick Friar as he took the mound at Rocky Miller Park for the final time in his Northwestern career.

“I was swearing up a storm out there, even once in Portuguese actually,” said the senior pitcher, who got the start Sunday in Northwestern’s final home game of the season against SIU-Edwardsville (19-30). “I’m very emotional in general. Anyone will tell you I wear my emotions on my sleeve a lot.”

Through the swearing and even some tears, Friar delivered five innings of one-run baseball to deliver the Wildcats (17-32, 5-15 Big Ten) a 4-1 win and a series victory. Even though Friar knew his time was up after five, he was not happy to come out.

“I knew it was the right move since I’d thrown a lot of pitches,” Friar said. “But even then it was tough for me to come out. I started tearing up. But it’s nice to go out with a win.”

With a strong performance from NU’s bullpen, Friar’s outing was enough to earn him his fifth win of the season.

The Wildcats were clicking from the start Sunday, as junior designated hitter Luke Dauch led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to right field.

Some small ball in the second brought freshman Joe Hoscheit home after he doubled to start the inning. Junior right fielder Walker Moses sacrificed Hoscheit to third, then sophomore center fielder Josh Perlmutter drove Hoscheit in with a groundout.

Perlmutter, who entered Sunday with just one hit in 16 at-bats, made some more noise in the fourth inning with a two-run homer to right center, putting the Cats ahead 4-1.

“He’s been working hard, he’s been doing a lot of good things,” coach Paul Stevens said of Perlmutter. “It’s great to see him have this type of day because it erases so many other bad memories he’s had.”

NU’s bats struggled the rest of the way, but it was a non-issue thanks to strong relief performances from Hoscheit and senior Jack Quigley. The right-handers combined for four shutout innings, allowing only two hits.

The Cats took the series opener Friday with an 8-6 victory.

After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, NU built an 8-4 lead entering the ninth.

Devin Caldwell’s home run against Quigley halved the Cougars’ deficit, but Quigley shut the door by getting the next batter to pop up to senior shortstop Nick Linne.

On Saturday, NU was in need of a late rally. A four-run eighth inning by SIU-Edwardsville had increased its lead to 8-1.

The Cats got their chance in their half of the eighth. With one out, they already had one run in with two men still on base. But the rally ended with consecutive popups by sophomore Jake Schieber and Moses.

NU loaded the bases in the ninth inning but again could not capitalize.

Although one Big Ten series remains, the Cats are already eliminated from any chance at a Big Ten Tournament bid. But for Friar, the emotions trump the results on the field.

“As much as I would have loved to win and make it to the tournament, I just love the game more than life itself,” he said.

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