Baseball: Northwestern shocks South Carolina for first series win

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Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Anthony Alepra pitches the ball. Northwestern’s pitching led the team to a series win this weekend.

Carlos Stinson-Maas, Assistant Sports Editor


Baseball


On Sunday, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Northwestern senior second baseman Charlie Maxwell stepped up to the plate, looking to send his team home with a series win. Nine pitches later, he drew an RBI walk, scoring the eventual winning run for the Wildcats.

NU (3-3) went on to win the game 4-3 in 10 innings, giving the Cats a series win over South Carolina (5-2). NU’s 3-3 start is its best through six games since 2016.

The first game, played on Friday, was a pitcher’s duel from the start. Sophomore Mike Doherty tossed five innings for the Cats, giving up just one run on three hits. Gamecocks starter Carmen Mlodzinski held NU hitless through four innings, his sole earned run coming on an RBI single from Maxwell in the 7th.

The game stayed 1-1 after nine innings, but the Cats capitalized in the 10th. Maxwell walked to lead off the inning, and freshman third baseman Evan Minarovic singled him in for his first career RBI. NU added three more runs after another pair of walks and a two-run single from junior outfielder Casey O’Laughlin. South Carolina scored once in the bottom of the inning, but the Cats held on to win 5-2.

Coach Spencer Allen praised the relief pitching for their strong performance on Friday.

“Our bullpen outperformed South Carolina,” Allen said. “That was really the difference on the weekend.”

Game two was much less competitive, as NU dug an early hole and couldn’t recover. The Cats got on the scoreboard first with an RBI single from sophomore catcher Michael Trautwein, but the Gamecocks responded by scoring eight runs in the first two innings off junior pitcher Quinn Lavelle.

“He needs to attack the zone a little bit more,” Allen said. “It was a tough outing, and ultimately a tough game for us on Saturday.”

Maxwell and sophomore shortstop Shawn Goosenberg each hit solo homers for NU, but South Carolina hit a grand slam in the sixth to extend the lead. The Cats eventually fell 12-3.

On Sunday, NU grabbed an early lead on a wild pitch in the third, despite being held hitless through four innings for the second time in the series. South Carolina bounced back in the fifth with a three-run home run. The homer was only the second hit allowed by Cats starter Tyler Uberstein, who notched six strikeouts in five innings.

Freshman infielder Stephen Hrustich hit his first career home run in the sixth, and Maxwell scored in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Goosenberg to tie the game. Once again, the game went into extra innings, where NU loaded the bases with one out. Sophomore center fielder David Dunn struck out for the fifth time, but Maxwell’s RBI walk put the Cats ahead for good.

Maxwell had a run and RBI in all three games of the series, and Hrustich added five hits and a pair of RBI.

“I was really proud of them,” Allen said. “Taking two of three is not easy. They really just fought, and we weren’t perfect, but they found a way to win.”

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