Baseball: Wildcats swept by Ohio State, dominate in win against Milwaukee

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Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

Center fielder Ethan O’Donnell hits a ball in play. The sophomore leads the Big Ten in doubles and ranks 10th in slugging percentage

Lucas Kim, Assistant Sports Editor


Baseball


In an up-and-down year marked by volatility and streakiness, Northwestern’s past few games were nothing out of the ordinary.

Just more than 48 hours after getting swept by Ohio State (17-28, 6-13 Big Ten) — a series that included a lopsided 25-9 loss — the Wildcats (21-23, 7-11 Big Ten) achieved their highest-scoring victory of the year, beating Milwaukee 21-8.

This past weekend’s series sweep was NU’s first home series loss this year, and the team extended its losing streak to five games, as the Cats were outscored 45-20 in the series.

Coach Josh Reynolds said the team must expand on its pitching and holding onto leads in key circumstances throughout the game.

“We just have to pitch better,” Reynolds said. “We have to put guys away with two strikes, we got to be able to put guys away with two outs and not allow runs to score in those situations. That’s how you win games.”

The series, however, was not as one-sided as the final scores indicate.

Game one went down to the wire with the teams tied 6-6 entering the top of the ninth. Sophomore Jay Beshears led NU, erupting with a pair of two-run homers and a triple in his first three at-bats.

Despite their offensive firepower, the Cats were unable to contain a hot Buckeyes offense that notched eight runs in the ninth, ending with a final score of 14-6.

Game two saw yet another above-average showing from NU’s offense, as senior Tommy D’Alise led the charge with a two-run homer and three-RBI triple. But nine runs were insufficient as NU allowed a season-worst 25 runs, including 10 runs in the second inning.

The Cats’ pitching got back on track in Sunday’s series finale, as starting pitcher first-year Grant Comstock pitched four and one-thirds innings, and allowed three earned runs.

Entering the bottom of the sixth down 4-1, NU put up three runs to tie the game up, scoring one more in the seventh to go up one. The Cats couldn’t hold onto their lead, giving up a run in the eighth and ninth each which completed the sweep.

Against Milwaukee on Tuesday, NU’s offense stepped up again, this time in a winning effort. The Cats scored three or more runs in four different innings in their 21-point outing.

D’Alise had another stellar performance, going five-for-six with a couple two-run home runs. The infielder has 12 RBIs in his last three games.

Going 2-6 in its last eight games, NU is tied for ninth in the Big Ten standings, falling three spots since last weekend. The Cats must move into the top eight in the conference to make the Big Ten tournament in late May.

NU will host Purdue (27-16, 7-9 Big Ten) this weekend for its last home series this year. Purdue sits just one spot ahead of the Cats in the Big Ten standings, a fact Reynolds said was not important to the team.

“We just have to focus on us. Play our style of baseball,” Reynolds said. “The last eight games have not been good, so we have a chance the next two weeks to fix that, and the guys individually have to go out and make those adjustments.”

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