Baseball: Northwestern sweeps San Jose State


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Jack Dunn runs into home plate. The senior shortstop had seven hits over the weekend.

Peter Warren, Print Managing Editor


Northwestern first played a varsity baseball game in 1869. Even after 150 years, the Wildcats are still capable of making history.

For possibly the first time ever — and at least the first time this century — NU (10-13, 1-2 Big Ten) swept a weekend series against a nonconference opponent. The Cats won all three games over San Jose State at Miller Park this weekend to etch their name into the history books.

“I just think it’s good to play good baseball,” coach Spencer Allen said. “That’s what I told the guys, I was just proud that they are playing good baseball and that we’re getting better.”

In the final game of the set Sunday — which was delayed 90 minutes due to cold temperatures — NU hopped out to an early lead over the Spartans (14-14, 8-4 Mountain West) in the second inning. Back-to-back singles from freshmen Michael Trautwein and Anthony Calarco put two runners on base, who both scored. Trautwein scored on a groundout by freshman catcher Jack Anderson and Calarco scored on a single from senior shortstop Jack Dunn.

Dunn had an excellent weekend at the plate. Over the three games, he had seven hits, four runs scored and four RBIs. When leading off an inning, the Georgia native was 4-for-5.

“I was trying to work deep in counts, and tried to move runners over and get runners in,” Dunn said. “I think I was just trying to see a lot of pitches and let my hands do the rest.”

With the lead, the Cats never looked back on their way to the 6-0 victory. At the dish, NU added two runs in the fifth on a single by freshman second baseman Shawn Goosenberg and a sacrifice fly by senior first baseman Willie Bourbon. In the seventh, Bourbon added two more to the tally with a 395-foot home run.

Freshman right-hander Mike Doherty threw five innings of two-hit ball in his second start of the week before handing it off to the bullpen.

“(Doherty) came out today and he just attacked. All our pitchers were in attack mode,” Bourbon said. “They just came out, made them swing the bat and look what happened — they pitched great and we made plays behind them.”

The top three hitters in the NU lineup — Dunn, Goosenberg and junior third baseman Alex Erro — powered the Cats. The three infielders combined for 10 hits, four RBIs and three runs. But it was their other mate in the infield who pushed NU to victory.

With the game tied at five in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dunn, Erro and Goosenberg all singled to jam the bases. With one out, Bourbon delivered the game-winner, walking on five pitches to claim the 6-5 victory for the Cats.

Friday’s game was the textbook definition of a pitcher’s duel with sophomore southpaw Quinn Lavelle and 2018 Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year Andrew Mitchel highlighting the effort. Both teams combined for only seven hits and two walks while striking out 18 batters.

For San Jose State, Mitchel threw six innings and allowed only one run in the third frame. Calarco led the inning with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout hit by Dunn. The Spartans would not allow another run.

But that one run was all NU would need, as Lavelle was dominant on the rubber. He went the full nine innings for a complete-game shutout on 122 pitches to give the Cats the 1-0 win.

“When he’s got feel for all three pitches, he is really tough because it’s all three pitches and then it’s all parts of the zone,” Allen said. “You just have so much to cover. He just really, really knows how to pitch.”

It was the second complete-game shutout for the lefty. The first had occurred 364 days earlier, on Mar. 30, 2018, when Lavelle held Maryland to only in College Park, Maryland.

Dunn said the series is similar to another one against a team from the Mountain West. During this same weekend in 2017, NU won the series over Air Force with a walk-off to secure the series. That weekend was a turning point for the team. The Cats were 6-17 heading into that weekend, and would finish the season winning 19 of their last 31 games.

“After we had that walk-off win (Saturday), I was like, wow, this is a lot like Air Force,” Dunn said. “Hopefully it’s gonna propel us forward and help us have a good rest of the year.”

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