Baseball: Northwestern survives Chicago State comeback to complete sweep


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Jack Claeys frames a pitch. The sophomore hit 2 RBIs in the Wildcats’ 12-10 win over Chicago State on Tuesday.

Ben Pope, Reporter


Northwestern’s bats came alive on Tuesday night, recording 16 hits as the Wildcats survived a late rally by Chicago State to win 12-10.

After plating only 7 total runs in its three-game series against Penn State last weekend, NU (10-27, 2-10 Big Ten) found its offense again thanks to a 3-for-4 performance by freshman right fielder Ben Dickey and four other players who recorded two hits each.

With the Cats leading 12-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, freshman pitcher Mack Rosman allowed 5 runs as Chicago State (7-29, 1-11 WAC) attempted to execute a miraculous comeback. However, senior Jake Stolley came on in emergency relief with one out and a man on third base and pitched the Cats out of the jam.

“We were just a little lackadaisical, weren’t pounding the (strike) zone as much,” junior first baseman Matt Hopfner said. “Obviously it’s easier to be sharp in a big situation, but when we have a big lead, it’s sometimes hard to stay focused.”

Tuesday’s win made Chicago State only the third opponent the Cats have beaten more than once this year — joining Nevada and Pacific — as NU completed the back end of a home-and-home sweep that began with a 11-5 home victory on March 30.

Junior designated hitter Joe Hoscheit opened the scoring for NU, hitting an RBI double in the first inning. NU then temporarily broke the game into a rout with 8 runs in the fourth through sixth innings combined.

The Cats used 10 different pitchers in the game, with junior Pete Hofman starting but pitching only one inning before being replaced. The ensemble held the Cougars scoreless until the seventh inning, by which point NU led 9-0, before the hosts began their rally. Hofman was awarded the win and Stolley picked up his first save of the season.

Sophomore catcher Jack Claeys continued his success against Chicago State this year, hitting a fourth-inning single that drove in 2 runs after blasting a grand slam in the teams’ first meeting.

“Just treating every game as if it’s a Big Ten series is really important,” Claeys said. “Whether it’s a home game against Chicago State or whether we go to their place, just keeping the same mental mindset that every game is just as important as the next … has really helped me out this year.”

NU was able to work a large number of people into the mid-week, non-conference game, with 13 different players making a plate appearance. Senior Antonio Freschet returned from suspension and made his first batting appearance since Feb. 20, coming in as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.

Hopfner said the batting success the team achieved with such a diverse lineup will help its attitude moving forward.

“A lot of guys gained some confidence tonight, which is huge,” he said. “Hitting is really contagious, and so I think once we got things going, it got easier and easier for guys.”

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