Baseball: Northwestern lacks consistency in weekend series, dropping first two games before picking up a win

Jack+Dunn+slides+into+second+base.+The+senior+is+hitting+.381+for+the+season

Daily file photo by David Lee

Jack Dunn slides into second base. The senior is hitting .381 for the season

Alan Perez, Editor in Chief


Baseball


Northwestern lacked consistency on the mound this weekend as the Wildcats dropped two of three games to Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets (7-4) blew out NU (4-6) on Friday before splitting a Saturday doubleheader in Atlanta. Though coach Spencer Allen is looking to finalize the latter half of the rotation, this weekend brought renewed competition between the Cats’ top two starters: sophomore Quinn Lavelle and junior Hank Christie.

“The biggest thing in your number one, you want that consistency,” Allen said. “That’s what Quinn does. Really it’s actually a good, healthy competition between those guys to see who can peep and take that number one spot.”

Christie took a loss on Friday after giving up 7 earned runs and nine hits in 3.2 innings on Friday. The Oak Park, Illinois native entered the series with a 1.50 ERA after two strong starts against BYU and Duke, and held Georgia Tech to two runs in Friday’s first three innings. But the Yellow Jackets’ bats woke up in the fourth, forcing NU to tap the bullpen in the middle of the inning for relief before losing the opening game 12-1.

Lavelle, who was expected to take the No. 2 spot in the rotation, held Georgia Tech to one run in the Cats’ 5-1 win in Saturday’s second game. He had a shutout going through six innings, striking out six and allowing only one earned run in seven innings.

Now with Lavelle’s 1.10 ERA in comparison to Christie’s 5.17, Allen says he’s taking a close look at his rotation.

“We’re kind of evaluating that right now,” Allen said. “Ultimately, you’re trying to put yourself in the best position to win the series.”

Both pitchers will work toward consistency, he added, though he expects both to “pitch big innings for us.”

Though Saturday ended with a positive note, NU struggled in the day’s first game. Runs from senior infielder Jack Dunn and freshman infielder Shawn Goosenberg weren’t enough to recover from Georgia Tech’s 9 runs on 10 hits. Sophomore pitcher Ryan Bader started the game but was replaced after giving up three earned runs in 3.1 innings. The Cats lost 9-2.

While the performance from its starting pitchers was below expectations, NU’s hitting was a bright spot. Dunn has been a consistent contributor to the Cats’ offense. He ended the weekend with a 36-game on-base streak and a .381 batting average. Dunn also scored the lone run for the Cats on Friday.

NU has also gotten strong offensive performances from Goosenberg, who went 4-for-9 in the series, and junior infielder Alex Erro, who ended his 22-game hitting streak but finished the series with a .310 season batting average.

Still, while some hitters have stood out, the Cats are looking for a more consistent overall performance.

“A couple innings we would hit well, a couple innings we would pitch well, a couple innings we would play defense well,” Dunn said. “But we never really got all three of them in the same direction in the same game.”

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