Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Baseball: Northwestern falls flat against high-flying UIC in 18-5 defeat

Shun Graves/The Daily Northwestern
Graduate student Griffin Arnone swings at a pitch against UIC on Tuesday. Northwestern lost, 18-5.

Before most fans sat down in their seats and Northwestern stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first inning in Tuesday’s nonconference tilt, UIC already led 5-0.

By the bottom of the second inning, the Wildcats (10-19, 0-6 Big Ten) trailed the Flames (20-10, 5-4 MVC) 11-2. Over the first two frames, two NU pitchers –– sophomore Amar Tsengeg and senior Nolan Morr –– faced 18 batters. The pair allowed a whopping 12 hits and 11 earned runs combined.

The early woes set the stage for a game that ended in a seven-inning run-rule 18-5 UIC blowout. Coach Ben Greenspan said the wind presented a significant pitching challenge.

“To pitch on a day like this, you have to get swings and misses or you have to be able to get guys (out) on the ground,” Greenspan said. “We need to get better at it.”

In the first inning, UIC plated three runs off two doubles before Tsengeg could record an out. Then, Flames designated hitter Marcus Heusohn smoked a two-run blast to deep left field, expeditiously ending Tsengeg’s day. In relief, Morr finished the inning comfortably thanks to a putout by graduate student outfielder Griffin Arnone, who threw out an overzealous UIC base runner at third base.

The ’Cats showed signs of life in the first inning; Freshman outfielder Jackson Freeman hammered a two-run home run nearly identical to Heusohn’s to cut the deficit to just three runs with eight innings of baseball to play. Freeman went 2-of-3 Tuesday, driving in 3 runs.

“He’s a threat to leave the park,” Greenspan said of Freeman. “I’m proud of the ways he’s developed from the fall to the spring, and I think there’s still a lot of meat on the bone in terms of his development.”

The comeback hopes lasted all of one half-inning, however, as UIC’s Kendal Ewall rocketed a three-run blast to extend the UIC lead to 8-2 in the top of the second inning. Four batters later, Flames outfielder AJ Taylor hit another three-run homer to extend the lead to 11-2. Morr recorded two outs in the inning before freshman pitcher Cole Mascott took the mound in relief.

Mascott, making his seventh appearance of the year, pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out two batters and allowing two hits.

With graduate student pitcher Jack Dyke on the mound, UIC added another run off a sacrifice fly. The ’Cats countered with a home run by junior catcher Bennett Markinson, his third of the season.

Once Dyke took the mound for the sixth inning, the Flames pounced, thumping home six runs. Ewell drove in two runs with a single, after which UIC infielder Ryan Nagelbach cleared the bases with a triple, scoring another pair. 

Though junior utility player Preston Knott hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the deficit to 18-5, both coaches strode out of their dugouts following the conclusion of the inning to signal the end of the game.

The mood outside the NU dugout postgame: despondent.

“Big innings are killing us,” Greenspan said. “The first, the second, sets you back in a hole … the sixth kind of puts the game away.”

The ’Cats will look to regroup and end their 10-game losing skid as they host Maryland in a weekend series at Rocky and Berenice Miller Park.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @HenryFrieman

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