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 drops series sweep to Purdue

Henry Frieman/The Daily Northwestern
Sophomore infielder Owen McElfatrick hits a home run in Northwestern’s Friday loss to Purdue at Wrigley Field.

When Northwestern entered Wrigley Field to face Purdue in the annual ’Cats’ Classic Friday, coach Ben Greenspan’s squad braced for a daunting challenge. 

With the Boilermakers (29-15, 11-4 Big Ten) hovering atop the Big Ten standings, the Wildcats (13-26, 2-13 Big Ten) needed to bring their A-game if they had any hopes of success in a series against a red-hot opponent. 

In a weekend riddled with familiar pitching woes and inconsistent offensive production, NU dropped all three games, extending its conference losing streak to seven.

After conceding a walk, a stolen base and a single to lead off the game, the ’Cats fell behind early in the series opener at the Friendly Confines.

With senior pitcher Kyle Potthoff on the mound to start, NU cycled through four relievers Friday — including three who were on the bump for less than a complete inning.

After falling behind by three, graduate student outfielder Griffin Arnone put the ’Cats on the board with a fourth-inning bases loaded, 2-RBI single, scoring junior catcher Bennett Markinson and sophomore infielder Owen McElfatrick.

Both teams were scoreless during the game’s intermediate stretch, as Greenspan’s squad retired the Boilermakers in order for four consecutive innings spanning from the fourth and seventh.

With two outs in the eighth, Purdue tacked on four more runs. Senior pitcher Matt McClure was on the mound to start the inning after relieving Potthoff in the sixth, but he ended his day after conceding one run on two singles and a hit by pitch.

Freshman pitcher Garrett Shearer took over for McClure with the bases loaded and gave up a quick three runs on a hit by pitch and 2-RBI single to extend the deficit to five.

In the bottom of the inning, McElfatrick’s left-field homer sparked hope, but the ’Cats fell short in their comeback bid and fell 9-3.

The Boilermakers wasted no time in Saturday’s game, establishing their early lead with a first-pitch home run. By the third inning, they had established a six-run advantage before the ’Cats started clawing back.

Though NU managed to chip away at the deficit with freshman utility player Griffin Mills’ RBI single, Purdue’s relentless long-ball assault persisted. Two solo homers in the fifth inning stretched their lead to 8-1, before McElfatrick responded with a two-run homer — his second in as many days.

A two-run blast in the seventh inning bolstered the Boilermaker lead to 10-3, but the ’Cats refused to relent. Junior outfielder Preston Knott’s solo shot and sophomore outfielder Trent Liolios’ two-run bomb in the same inning trimmed the deficit to 10-6.

In a late surge, Knott’s RBI single in the eighth brought NU within striking distance at 10-7, but Purdue’s defense held firm while the ’Cats fell short in the ninth.

In the series’ final matchup, NU again trailed after the first inning, as the Boilermakers scored their first run with consecutive singles to lead off the game.

The visitors built their lead throughout the game as the ’Cats struggled to string hits together, leaving them with more questions than answers for Purdue’s dominant offense. 

Markinson tallied all three RBIs in Sunday’s contest, bringing in two on a fourth inning homer and another on a groundout in the eighth.

“I’m obviously disappointed with the results,” Greenspan said after Sunday’s game. “I don’t think we had enough quality at bats or executed enough pitches to give ourselves a chance to win.”

Following another lackluster performance at home, the ’Cats will look to regroup as they face UIC on Tuesday before their next conference series at Iowa next week.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyPachuta


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