Baseball: Northwestern welcomes Maryland for the season’s final series


Daily file photo by Sean Su

Senior outfielder Kyle Ruchim takes a swing at a pitch. The seniors will take the field for the last time this weekend as Wildcats in a series against Maryland.

Tim Balk, Reporter


Coming off a 19-1 loss to Michigan last Sunday, Northwestern is set to enter its final series of the season Thursday.

The Wildcats (16-35, 6-15 Big Ten) will host the Terrapins (35-18, 13-8) at Rocky Miller Park for a three-game series.

With a visit to the Big Ten Tournament now out of reach for the Cats, the Maryland games will likely be the final ones of coach Paul Stevens’ tenure at NU. Stevens, in his 27th year at the helm of the program, is set to retire after the season.

The series will also mark the ends of the careers of seniors, including catcher Scott Heelan, shortstop Cody Stevens and centerfielder Kyle Ruchim.

Ruchim, who has not played yet this month due to an oblique injury, leads the Cats this year in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and runs scored. Heelan is doing his part to help the offense, sitting in second in batting average and leading the Cats in hits. Stevens, the coach’s son, is fifth on the team in hits and doubles.

NU has struggled all season, but especially since Ruchim’s injury. The Cats have dropped six of their last eight, including four of their last five at home. NU will try to finish off the season on a high note against a tough Maryland squad that currently sits in a tie for third in the Big Ten. The Terrapins have been generally strong away from home as well, posting a 13-7 road record.

The series will be more than just about goodbyes for the Cats — It will also be the first meeting ever on the baseball diamond between NU and Maryland.

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