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 snaps 10-game losing skid with series win over Maryland

Amelia Stone/The Daily Northwestern
Sophomore infielder Owen McElfatrick prepares for a pitch. McElfatrick leads the team with 10 doubles on the season.

After dropping 10 consecutive games, Northwestern sprung back into the win column with a weekend series victory against Maryland.

The Wildcats (12-20, 2-7 Big Ten) won Friday and Saturday’s games over the Terrapins to capture their first conference series of the year — and their first conference series win since April 9, 2023.

NU’s pitching staff made big strides compared to its previous Big Ten matchups, allowing just six total runs in the series’ first two games.

On Friday, both teams traded blows throughout the game. Sophomore Trent Liolios opened the scoring for the ’Cats with a two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut down an early Maryland lead.

Down 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, freshman outfielder Jackson Freeman tagged up on senior infielder Vince Bianchina’s flyout. Later in the inning, Liolios struck again with a single through the left side of the field to score another run.

After nine innings, both teams stood at five runs apiece. NU, however, handled business quickly.  

Freshman pitcher Garrett Shearer shut down the Terrapin offense in the top of the 10th inning, handing the ’Cats a prime opportunity to end the game.

NU got two runners on quickly after Freeman was hit by a pitch and junior catcher Bennett Markinson singled. Ultimately, senior infielder Tony Livermore walked the game off with a timely single to left field that scored Freeman.

Senior pitcher Matt McClure pitched a solid 6.1 innings in relief in game one, allowing four earned runs and collecting three strikeouts.

The ’Cats were able to carry their momentum into Saturday’s contest. After putting up four runs through four innings, a big fifth inning blew the game open for NU.

Four straight ’Cats got on base to open the inning. Junior Preston Knott and sophomore Owen McElfatrick led off with singles. An error during the next at-bat allowed Freeman to reach base and Knott to score. Then, Markinson hit a two-RBI single, forcing Maryland into a pitching change.

NU supplied four more runs after the pitching change, which was topped off after Knott’s second at-bat of the inning led to a two-RBI single.

Graduate student right-handers Jack Dyke and Kyle Potthoff provided standout efforts from the mound that left Maryland scoreless until the ninth inning.

Former ’Cat and Terrapin catcher Alex Calarco ended the shutout with a double to right field, scoring Kevin Keister. However, it was too little, too late for the visitors as NU clinched its first Big Ten series victory of the season with the 11-1 blowout.

Game three saw early action from Maryland’s offense. The Terrapins scored three runs over the first two innings, but the ’Cats roared back with four of their own in the bottom of the second and third innings.

Maryland retook the lead in the fifth inning thanks to a rally spurred by four straight hits from Chris Hacopian, Sam Hojnar, Keister and Brayden Martin. The visitors also added two runs in the next frame.

Throughout the game’s final stretch, NU slowly chipped away at the Terrapin lead. In the bottom of the eighth, freshman utility player Griffin Mills blasted a two-run home run to right field to tie the game at eight.

Neither team added runs in the ninth inning, and the game continued into extra innings for the second time this weekend.

The luck did not sway in the favor of the ’Cats this time, as Hojnar homered to left field to score the final run of the match. On the homer, Maryland prevented a sweep and won the series’ last game 9-8.

NU will be back on the field next Friday in a rivalry matchup against Illinois in Champaign.

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