Baseball: Wetherbee’s sterling performance leads Northwestern to low-scoring win


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Several Wildcats celebrate at the plate. NU recorded a 2-0 win over Chicago State on Wednesday.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter


Northwestern grinded out its sixth win of the season with pitching and defense against Chicago State on Wednesday, winning 2-0 in the first of two games this season against its south-side rivals.

Senior pitcher Cooper Wetherbee was the star on the mound for the Wildcats (6-17, 0-3 Big Ten), shutting out the Cougars (6-16) through 7 innings while scattering four hits. Wetherbee opened the contest with a 1-2-3 first inning and never looked back.

He demonstrated solid command throughout the afternoon, walking only two batters with just one strikeout. Chicago State was often only able to make soft contact with Wetherbee’s offerings, and NU committed no errors behind its starter.

“I was able to settle down and really hit the spots that I wanted to,” Wetherbee said. “We played some really close games against Indiana last week, and we were pretty disappointed not to come away with one of those. For us to go out, get an early lead and then just ride it out is huge going into the Air Force series.”

The Cats struck first in the opening frame, as Chicago State starter Josh Willis issued three consecutive walks after a single from senior outfielder Matt Hopfner. With the bases loaded and one out, however, senior outfielder Jake Schieber grounded into a double play to end the threat.

The hosts picked up their second run in the game’s second inning after freshman infielder Charlie Maxwell singled to start the inning. Maxwell advanced to second on a groundout, then stole third and scored after a poor throw from the Cougars catcher that sailed into left field.

“I just had noticed that he was looking one time and then pitching, so I kind of picked up a rhythm and was able to go,” Maxwell said. “I didn’t even see the overthrow. I just know coach was yelling in my ear to get up and go home as soon as I slid in at third.”

For the last seven innings, the game turned into a pitcher’s duel and the teams combined for no runs on 10 hits. Wetherbee was matched by Willis, who regained his command and only walked one more batter, and Noe Arteaga, who entered in relief for the Cougars. Both entered the game with ERAs over 5.50, but managed to shut down a relatively tame Cats offense.

NU closed the game out with scoreless frames from two freshmen, as Sam Lawrence shut down Chicago State in the eighth inning while Nick Cauley earned the save.

“We attacked the zones and threw strikes,” coach Spencer Allen said. “It was a good game. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it’s always good to get a win when you have that opportunity.”

The Cats’ next games come against Air Force this weekend — the second non-conference series NU will host this year. The Falcons are 11-13 on the year but have scored 10 or more runs in six games this season.

Though Air Force has been impressive offensively so far this year, its pitching staff has allowed at least 10 runs in 10 of its 24 games on the year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing consistency out of our pitching, making sure that we can really challenge hitters and not give up as much free stuff,” Allen said. “We have to become a little bit more offensive and manufacture some runs.”

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