Baseball: Northwestern wins home opener over MacMurray after late-inning scoring spree


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Alex Erro takes off for first base. Northwestern won its home opener Tuesday.

Peter Warren, Web Editor


It wasn’t a picturesque Tuesday afternoon at Miller Park, but with temperatures in the upper 40s and little-to-no wind, it was a fine day for some early-season baseball.

In its home opener, Northwestern used a late-game barrage of runs to blank Division III MacMurray, 9-0, and mark its return to action in Evanston.

“We’ve been stuck inside for so long and not having our own indoor (baseball field), we’ve kind of been homeless for a while,” junior third baseman Charlie Maxwell said. “It’s great to have our home field back, get outside and play some ball.”

Maxwell got the Cats (5-9) on the board in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded, the Evanston native hit a grounder to second base. The Highlanders (1-4) forced freshman catcher Michael Trautwein out at second, but Hayden Radford’s throw to first was wild, allowing for senior first baseman Willie Bourbon to score.

Five innings later, Maxwell started a two-inning stretch where NU scored eight runs to turn the close contest into a resolved matter. He doubled to start off the bottom of the seventh and later scored on a sacrifice fly from senior shortstop Jack Dunn. Later in the frame, Bourbon — who finished the game with three hits — blasted a triple to the left-field wall to score two runs and push the lead to 4-0.

In the eighth, senior right fielder Ben Dickey opened with a single and freshman catcher Jack Anderson followed with a double — his first career hit — to put two runners in scoring position for Maxwell.

The junior delivered, roping a triple. On the next pitch Charlie Brauch threw, sophomore pinch hitter Jack Kelly smashed a triple over the head of MacMurray’s center fielder Brendan Schanz for another triple. Two more singles later in the inning resulted in two more runs.

“They knew from as soon as the pitcher started warming up that it’s not very fast and sometimes it’s easier said than done,” coach Spencer Allen said. “When you saw where the hits were for the most part, they started going to the middle of the field.”

Freshman southpaw Parker Hanks earned the start for the Cats and looked comfortable on the mound. He failed to allow a baserunner for the first three innings and ended his outing with only one hit allowed and four strikeouts in five scoreless innings.

Hanks said his biggest focus during the game was believing his stuff was good enough to get batters out.

“We’ve really been trying to attack hitters with me and go after every hitter and just try to make them put the ball in play and get ground balls,” Hanks said.

After Hanks, Allen used two freshman right-handers — Tommy D’Alise and Mike Doherty — to finish the game. D’Alise threw three innings without allowing a baserunner and punching out three batters while Doherty struck out two in a one-two-three ninth frame.

Tuesday’s game was a late addition to NU’s schedule, being announced four days before the Cats opened against Missouri on Friday. Allen said it was good to open the home slate with a win.

“It was good to see…three freshmen jump on the mound and pound the strike zone,” Allen said. “We kept it pretty clean. Defensively was good. It was just nice to get here, take BP, be at your home park.”

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