Baseball: Wildcats exact revenge on Golden Bears but lose series to BYU


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Ben Dickey hits a line drive. The senior scored a run Sunday in a 2-2 weekend for NU.

Peter Warren, Web Editor


The last time Northwestern and California played each other, the Wildcats were thoroughly thrashed, getting outscored 59-5 over a four-game home series in 2016 — Spencer Allen’s first season in charge.

Going into Sunday’s matchup, that 2016 stretch was on NU’s (2-2) mind. And, after having to wait over 1,000 days, the Cats got their revenge in the form of a 9-5 victory over the Golden Bears at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex.

“Personally, I think (it’s sweeter than a usual victory),” said senior first baseman Willie Bourbon, one of four players on NU to have been on the team in 2016. “You always keep tabs on teams that you play or have played. To get back and get that win, it felt pretty good.”

Bourbon led the Cats on Sunday with a great day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two walks, two RBIs and a home run. His fellow seniors all contributed to the win as well. Shortstop Jack Dunn had three hits, outfielder Ben Dickey scored a run and Danny Katz threw 1.2 hitless innings.

But it was not just the seniors who pushed NU past its former demons to a victory. Sophomore lefty Quinn Lavelle allowed only two hits over the first 3.1 innings before being replaced by Katz. Junior third baseman Charlie Maxwell, freshman center fielder David Dunn and freshman Michael Trautwein all had two hits.

Bourbon said the Cats came out in “attack mode” and the result was a team win.

“Everyone was ready to go out of the gate. we used a lot of pitchers, a lot of guys had opportunities at the plate,” Bourbon said. “It was nice to have so many guys contribute.”

The victory over Cal (0-3) came after NU lost a three-game series to Brigham Young (2-1) over the previous two days.

In the first game of the series Friday, the Cats fell behind early on a first-inning sacrifice fly, but junior right-hander Hank Christie settled down to throw six solid innings, giving up only three hits. In the sixth, NU was able to break through with three runs via a Trautwein walk and a two-RBI single from junior outfielder Leo Kaplan.

The Cougars pounced on an opportunity in the eighth inning to score two runs and tie the game. The contest went to extra innings, where BYU scored the game-winning run in the 10th and win 4-3.

The following day, NU was able to reverse it fortunes. The Cats scored three runs in the third inning to go up 3-0 and never trailed again. While the Cougars were able to get a few potential scoring opportunities, NU’s pitchers were able to hold BYU to only two runs in the eventual 3-2 win.

“Those guys really locked it down,” Allen said. “That is not always easy to do, especially with what happened Friday night. … Hopefully we can carry that forward.”

Junior left-hander Sam Lawrence was great in his first career start in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, going five innings allowing only two hits and five strikeouts. He then handed the ball to sophomore righty Anthony Alepra, who pitched three innings. Junior right-hander Nick Paciorek, who was on the mound when BYU won the game the night before, closed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.

In the second half of Saturday’s twin bill, the Cougars jumped out to an early start and a six-run fourth inning put the game out of reach, with BYU winning 11-2.

Junior second baseman Alex Erro hit a home run in the blowout, and finished the weekend with a team-high six hits. Bourbon said his partner on the right side of the infield was “phenomenal” at the plate and Allen added that he hit a lot of balls hard.

“Alex Erro had some really, really good ABs,” Allen said. “He’s the guy that each team is probably saying, ‘Hey, don’t let Alex beat you,’ and just getting pitched the toughest. It’s always impressive when a guy can have those type of at-bats sitting in the three hole.”

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