Baseball: Winless Northwestern looks to rebound in four-game series against Santa Clara


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern baseball players celebrate. Northwestern will look for its first win of the season against Santa Clara.

Lucas Kim, Reporter

Following a winless four-game series at Birmingham, Alabama, last weekend, Northwestern is looking to notch its first victory in the team’s upcoming, four-game West Coast road trip against Santa Clara (1-3, 0-0 WCC) this weekend. 

The Wildcats (0-4, 0-0 Big Ten) put up a valiant effort in their first game of the year, scoring six runs in the second inning before falling 8-7 to University of Alabama-Birmingham on a walk-off two-run single. NU proceeded to drop its next three games by an average of five runs to begin the 2022 season. 

Entering their second series out of three straight weekend road trips, the Cats hope to bounce back against a Santa Clara squad they haven’t played since the 2017 season. 

NU will rely on veterans like senior first baseman Anthony Calarco and senior right-hander Mike Doherty to help the team put one on the win column. 

In four games, Calarco has put up an impressive .400 batting average and 14 total bases in just 17 plate appearances, accounting for seven out of the team’s 14 runs thus far. The senior currently ranks fourth in RBIs (7) and seventh in slugging percentage (.933) in the Big Ten. 

Doherty — NU’s leader in innings pitched, games started and ERA last year — posted 5.1 innings on opening day, finishing with two strikeouts and five earned runs. Doherty is set to start on Friday to open the series.

Both Calarco and Doherty were named to the 2022 Big Ten Baseball Preseason Honors List, along with junior Stephen Hrustich. 

Left-hander Sean Sullivan, the probable starter for one of NU’s two doubleheader games this Saturday, leads a group of nine freshmen poised to make a difference for the team this year. In his first collegiate appearance, Sullivan struck out six batters in just three innings on Saturday, allowing only one earned run. 

Freshman catcher Bennett Markinson provided a spark from the leadoff spot in the second leg of last Saturday’s doubleheader, picking up an RBI double in the second inning. 

Despite these efforts, the Cats failed to win their first four games for the first time since the 2017 season, when the team lost its first seven games but still made the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game. 

Now, under interim head coach Josh Reynolds, NU will look to give him his first win in a season marked by transition and development.

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