Baseball: Wildcats pick up fourth straight win, look to add to streak against Illinois this weekend


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Tommy Bordignon fires a pitch. The junior starter threw 6 solid innings in the Wildcats’ win against Bradley on Wednesday.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter


For the first time since 2014, Northwestern has won four straight games after the Wildcats took down Bradley 6-2 on Wednesday night.

NU (12-20, 2-4 Big Ten) was paced by an impressive start junior Tommy Bordignon. He fired 6 innings, allowing only four hits and 2 runs on the day while walking just two.

“I just kind of went on there and relaxed,” Bordignon said. “I had a little bit more fun and just tried to forget about the last start I had and put it behind me and kind of move on.”

A clutch double from freshman infielder Alex Erro put the Cats ahead 4-2 in the top of the seventh, and the Cats never looked back on the way to victory.

Senior outfielder Joe Hoscheit had two RBIs of his own earlier in the game, with a sacrifice fly to score sophomore infielder Jack Dunn in the first and a single in fourth to score fellow senior outfielder Matt Hopfner.

“I was looking for a pitch over the plate, and I knew they were going to attack me with a fastball,” Erro said. “The catcher set up outside, so I kind of knew the general area where the pitch was going, and I just slapped it the other way.”

Bradley got 2 runs back in the fifth inning, but the NU bullpen shut the door to secure the win for Bordignon, as sophomore Tyler Lass, freshman Sam Lawrence and sophomore Danny Katz combined to pitch 3 scoreless innings.

In addition to his run scored, Hopfner picked up two hits of his own, including a double. The top four hitters in the NU order accounted for all six hits, including Dunn’s first inning double, Hoscheit’s two hits and Erro’s game-winning double.

“The guys are starting to believe a little bit,” coach Spencer Allen said. “I’m really proud of Tommy — he really struggled Friday and came back today, threw six strong.”

Up next for NU is a trip to Champaign to take on Illinois (12-18, 1-5 Big Ten) in the Cats’ third Big Ten series of the year. Last weekend, NU picked up two huge conference wins over Iowa in its quest to make it back to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2010.

Previously in Big Ten play, the Fighting Illini allowed 41 runs in three games to Michigan State, but their lone conference win came against third-place Michigan.

“The biggest thing is just taking what the game gives us,” Allen said. “As we’ve been playing a little bit better, we’ve been really limiting the free bases, so I think that has to continue.”

Illinois has struggled on the mound beyond of the Michigan State series as well, posting a 6.23 team ERA for the season. Illinois hasn’t had much success hitting either, managing a team batting average of only .254.

The Cats aren’t looking past their intrastate rivals, however, and know the importance of the upcoming series.

“We’re just playing real good baseball right now,” Erro said. “Last weekend was sort of the turning point in our season, and I think with another Big Ten series win we’ll be in the driver’s seat.”

Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson