Baseball: Northwestern sweeps Ohio State, Erro and Bourbon lead the way

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Baseball: Northwestern sweeps Ohio State, Erro and Bourbon lead the way

Alex Erro prepares for his at-bat. Erro batted 4-for-6 on Sunday, with two runs and an RBI.

Alex Erro prepares for his at-bat. Erro batted 4-for-6 on Sunday, with two runs and an RBI.

Daily file photo by Peter Warren

Alex Erro prepares for his at-bat. Erro batted 4-for-6 on Sunday, with two runs and an RBI.

Daily file photo by Peter Warren

Daily file photo by Peter Warren

Alex Erro prepares for his at-bat. Erro batted 4-for-6 on Sunday, with two runs and an RBI.

Greg Svirnovskiy, Reporter

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After Northwestern’s 10-4 win over Ohio State on Sunday, in which the Wildcats allowed only one run after the first inning and scored a combined nine in the seventh and eighth frames, the bus ride back was a good one.

Why wouldn’t it be? NU (14-14, 4-2 Big Ten) swept the Buckeyes in a three-plus-game series for the first time in team history, compiling 30 runs and allowing just 11.

“The guys are excited,” junior infielder Alex Erro said. “We’re looking forward to getting to Milwaukee on Tuesday.”

Erro paced his team with four hits Sunday, the second time he’s landed that feat this season, but the game didn’t start as promisingly.

A poor start by freshman pitcher Tommy D’Alise saw the Cats give up three runs to Ohio State (16-16, 2-4) in the bottom half of the first inning. But D’Alise settled down, retiring seven straight batters before being pulled in the fourth.

Senior first baseman Willie Bourbon’s double drove home three in the seventh to give NU its first lead. It grew in the eighth, as junior infielder Charlie Maxwell, freshman second baseman Shawn Goosenberg, Erro and Bourbon each recorded RBIs and the Cats reached double digits.

“We’ve come from behind in a bunch of games this year so getting down early doesn’t scare us,” Erro said. “We know what damage our lineup can do and how our pitchers can hold teams to zeroes so we were confident we could come out on top.”

The Cats have a history of rallying in games. They did it against San Jose State on March 30, reeling off three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a deficit and win in the ninth inning. And they did it last week against Chicago State, rallying from a 3-0 hole after the first inning to win 11-6.

Coach Spencer Allen said his players’ rallying efforts can simply be attributed to timeliness — when guys need to step up, they do.

“Like I told the team (Saturday),” Allen said. “I think we’re making some of our better pitches when they’ve got runners in scoring position or runners on base and we’re also getting some of our better at bats when runners are in scoring position or on base.”

NU scored 10 runs Friday from the seventh inning onward to take Ohio State down 13-5. Bourbon led the way, hitting 3-for-4 and scoring an RBI. Freshman center fielder David Dunn collected 2 RBIs in the win.

The Cats continued their winning ways Saturday, keeping the Buckeyes from scoring after the first inning and until the eighth, winning 7-2. Sophomore southpaw Ryan Bader pitched five innings out of the pen and allowed just one run, helping lead NU’s stellar bullpen.

In all three games, NU came back from early deficits and won. Allen said the team has made it possible to come back by not letting poor starts snowball into big leads for the opposition.

“Earlier in the year we let some of those three spots turn into six, seven-run spots,” Allen said. “That’s when you don’t have a chance. So I’m just proud that they were able to keep making pitches and keep competing.”

Email: gregorysvirnovskiy2022@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @GSvirnovskiy

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