Baseball: Cats take 2 of 3 against last-place Penn State


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Joe Hoscheit swings at a pitch. The senior outfielder recorded 6 RBIs in the weekend series against Penn State.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter


Northwestern snagged a key conference series win this weekend, taking two of three games against host Penn State following a sloppy performance from the Nittany Lions.

The Wildcats (16-23, 5-7 Big Ten) came into the weekend sitting at 11th place in the Big Ten standings. After taking the series against last-place Penn State (13-26, 2-10 Big Ten), the Cats managed to move up one spot with four series remaining in conference play.

The middle of the order carried the visitors to victory in all three games as senior outfielders Joe Hoscheit and Matt Hopfner, along with junior catcher Jack Claeys for 10 hits and 10 RBIs on the weekend.

Hoscheit alone was responsible for five of those RBIs, including an RBI double in the fourth inning of Friday’s game to get the visitors on the board.

“I was just consistent at the plate,” Hoscheit said. “I didn’t hit as well as last weekend, but I was able to get the job done for the most part. It was great to win a series. It was definitely a positive weekend.”

Hoscheit also walked in the sixth inning of Friday’s game, and was the final batter Penn State ace pitcher Sal Biasi faced on the day. Biasi struck out seven NU batters, but also allowed five hits and three runs in the contest.

With Biasi out of the game, the Cats blew it open and put up 9 runs in four innings on the Penn State bullpen to win 12-5.

“The guys did a great job early on in the game just fouling pitches off and making (Biasi) work,” coach Spencer Allen said. “They just did a real good job of grinding him down, and he left a couple pitches up late as he was getting tired that we took advantage of.”

Saturday’s game was masked by a collection of the Nittany Lions’ errors, as NU scored seven unearned runs on only six hits. Penn State had nine hits of its own, but also had five errors.

Freshman pitcher Hank Christie turned in a solid start Saturday as well, throwing 6.2 innings of one-run ball and earning the win as the Cats took a 7-4 victory.

“All the pitchers were great this weekend,” Claeys said. “They were attacking hitters and filling up the zone, letting the defense work behind them, mixing speeds and hitting spots.”

After putting up 19 runs in the first two games, the NU offense ground to a halt on Sunday. Hoscheit homered, but his solo shot was the Cats’ only run on the day as they put up only three hits in a 2-1 loss.

Despite winning the series against the worst team in the conference, Allen said this win served as a stepping stone for coming games against Big Ten opponents.

“Really moving forward we just have to win series,” Allen said. “I think like 12 or 13 wins is the magic number, and we’re sitting at five right now with four series to go, so it’s definitely within our reach.”

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