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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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Big Ten Baseball Recap: Northwestern picks up first conference series victory

Daily file photo by Emily Fosker
Northwestern celebrates its walk-off win against Maryland Friday.

With conference play in full swing, the tight competition for the top spot in the Big Ten continues as multiple teams pull ahead of the pack. Meanwhile, some ball clubs, including Northwestern, are just starting to find their rhythm.

The Wildcats began the week amid a nine-game losing streak, which grew to 10 after NU fell in an April 9 18-5  run-rule rout to UIC.

However, behind first-year skipper Ben Greenspan, the ’Cats crafted a dramatic turnaround during their weekend series against Maryland. The squad secured its first conference win last Friday in a nail-biting 6-5 victory, capped off by senior infielder Tony Livermore’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning.

NU maintained its momentum in the second game of the series, clinching its first Big Ten series win with a commanding 11-1 victory over the Terrapins a day later. Junior utility player Preston Knott, who contributed three hits, three RBIs and a home run, helped the ’Cats prevail in blowout fashion.

In the series finale, NU failed to complete the clean sweep, losing 9-8 in extra innings. The defeat came after second baseman Sam Hojnar gave the Terrapins the lead in the top of the 10th inning with a solo home run. 

Though the ’Cats enjoyed impressive performances against Maryland, it still wasn’t enough to outshine their cross-state rival Illinois — perhaps the hottest team in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini have built a four-game winning streak after sweeping their series against Northern Illinois.

The most impressive takeaway from Illinois’ win streak has been its high-powered offense, which has vastly improved from the season’s start. The Fighting Illini have scored double-digit runs in all four victories during their streak.

Purdue’s dominance emerged as another key storyline in the conference, with the Boilermakers achieving a clean sweep in their weekend series against Michigan State. 

This included a spectacular offensive display in Sunday’s series finale, where Purdue overpowered the Spartans in a 21-1 rout. The victory was due in large part to a standout performance from first baseman Luke Gaffney, who delivered three hits, five RBIs and a home run.

Looking forward to Big Ten action this week, Purdue and Illinois will aim to extend their recent runs. The Boilermakers are set for a non-conference weekend series against East Tennessee State, while the Fighting Illini will face off against NU. 

Email: [email protected]

X: @JacobKHare

Related Stories:

Baseball: Northwestern snaps 10-game losing skid with series win over Maryland 

Baseball: Pitching woes hurt Northwestern in series loss to Penn State 

Big Ten Baseball Recap: Northwestern’s losing skid extends to nine games

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