Baseball: Northwestern readies for last month of the season after 1-2 weekend and Wednesday losses


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

First baseman Anthony Calarco launches a baseball with a huge swing. The senior got a hold of one in the series against No. 23 Maryland.

Lawrence Price, Assistant Audio Editor


After Northwestern’s matchup with UIC on April 5, coach Josh Reynolds and crew left Rocky and Berenice Miller Park with a 13-3 victory over the Flames, propelling them to a .500 record at 12-12.

Nearly a month later, the Cats (20-20, 7-8 Big Ten) couldn’t find success at UIC’s (18-18, 10-5 Horizon League) home turf Wednesday. NU dropped the contest 13-0 and fell back to .500 after 1-2 weekend series against No. 23 Maryland.

Reynolds said it’s important to take each game seriously, even when facing teams they beat in the past, like UIC.

“I think we thought we were just going to go in there and win, and that just doesn’t happen,” Reynolds said. “Their pitchers did a good job, they shut us down, our offense wasn’t locked in the way we would have liked them to be and then on the mound we just weren’t very good at finishing guys.”

The scoreboard in the Cats’ disappointing Wednesday evening loss looked the same as their defeat Friday to the Terrapins, but the contests played out much differently.

NU took the field against arguably one of the best pitchers in the country — Maryland’s ace, left-hander Ryan Ramsey. Ramsey didn’t need the 13 runs produced by the Terrapin offense to single-handedly dismantle the Cats, as he threw a perfect game, the 20th in college baseball history.

Up against the Big Ten’s third-best ERA team, NU quickly had to put its performance in the past Saturday, readying for Maryland’s second of the one-two combination in pitcher Jason Savacool — Big Ten’s second-best ERA holder.

However, after laying low until the 8th, keeping it a 1-0 game, the Cats’ bats came alive, scoring five-runs in the inning. NU picked up its first run courtesy of a sophomore right fielder Jay Beshear’s sacrifice fly to left field, scoring sophomore shortstop Tony Livermore.

To put the Cats up, sophomore third baseman Vincent Bianchina ripped a two-out single scoring two runs. His hit was followed by freshman catcher Bennett Markinson’s RBI single, and freshman second baseman Patrick Herrera’s hit by pitch with the bases loaded.

The Terrapins scored two of their own in the bottom half of the inning, but senior first baseman Anthony Calarco’s blast and a Bianchina double stretched the lead back to four. From there, senior right-hander Mike Doherty gave up a homerun but was able to shut the door for the Cats, winning the second matchup 7-4.

“Baseball is game to game, who’s on the mound, who’s going to compete in the box and you just never know,” Reynolds said. “Michael Farinelli did a good job on the mound just keeping us close. We get to the bullpen, and then we get the big hits there from Bianchina to give us the lead, and then we keep tacking some on.”

Entering the Sunday duel with one win apiece, NU was unable to close out the series with a win in College Park. The Cats dropped the final contest 10-5, allowing seven runs over the 7th and 8th innings.

Looking for redemption against UIC Wednesday, the Cats couldn’t manage to put the pieces back together. Despite using five pitchers during the battle, each Wildcat gave up at least one run. Collectively, NU has given up 23 runs in the past two contests.

With the two-game losing streak going into the series with Ohio State this upcoming weekend, Reynolds said he wants the team to return to its bread and butter — competing in the box, executing on the mound and making routine plays.

“Just trying to play that game of baseball, and not what we played yesterday,” Reynolds said. “That’s baseball. Those are the things that everybody’s trying to do.”

With less than a month in the season, after Ohio State, NU welcomes Purdue for a home series and travels to Minnesota to round out the regular season, in addition to weekday games against Milwaukee and Notre Dame.

“Hopefully, (UIC) was eye-opening and gets them ready for Ohio State,” Reynolds said. “Ohio State may be below us in the standings, doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter at all if we don’t show up and be ready to play.”

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