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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Owen+McElfatrick+in+a+game+earlier+this+season.+McElfatrick+hit+two+home+runs%2C+including+a+grand+slam%2C+against+Milwaukee+Wednesday.+
Daily file photo by Henry Frieman
Owen McElfatrick in a game earlier this season. McElfatrick hit two home runs, including a grand slam, against Milwaukee Wednesday.

Owen McElfatrick is having a heck of a mid-week stretch.

The sophomore second baseman had two RBIs for Northwestern in its victory over Eastern Illinois. Then, he smoked two home runs –– one a grand slam, the other a two-run blast — driving in six runs and proving instrumental in the Wildcats’ (15-30, 2-16 Big Ten) victory over Milwaukee.

NU defeated the Panthers from Charleston (15-30, 9-12 Ohio Valley) 9-7 in comeback fashion on Tuesday and then toppled the Panthers from Milwaukee (16-30, 11-13 Horizon) 9-3 Wednesday, snapping a seven-game losing streak and picking up back-to-back wins for the first time since April 12-13. 

Tuesday’s tilt, overshadowed by a thunderous downpour for most of the day, began 90 minutes behind schedule.

Once the contest got underway, lightning struck in right field as freshman outfielder Jackson Freeman made a diving catch for the first out. Freeman’s catch ranked No. 9 on Sportscenter’s Top Ten Plays segment Wednesday morning.

The ’Cats got the bats rolling early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second to take the lead.

Eastern Illinois responded with a four-run third inning, punctuated by a three-run dinger by infielder Lucas Loos, who is batting .382 for the Panthers with 18 home runs on the year.

Junior catcher Bennett Markinson’s solo shot cut the deficit to one before McElfatrick’s aforementioned two-run double returned the lead to purple-and-white control. Freeman’s RBI single extended the advantage to 6-4. 

Senior starting pitcher Matt McClure tossed five innings, striking out six batters in the process, but he allowed the first three batters to reach base in the top of the sixth inning, forcing ’Cats coach Ben Greenspan to cut his day short. 

Sophomore pitcher Amar Tsengeg entered in relief, giving up a game-tying two-run home run, yet only allowed one run the rest of the way. Tsengeg was credited with Tuesday’s win.

NU wasted no time getting back in front after Freeman knocked a stand-up triple, bringing home two runs for the ’Cats and extending the lead to 8-6. Freeman’s fielder’s choice in the bottom of the eighth inning extended the NU grip to three runs.

Graduate student pitcher Jack Dyke closed out the game for the ’Cats, picking up his second save of the year.

Wednesday’s competition against Milwaukee brought sunnier weather and a more comfortable margin of victory for NU. 

With senior pitcher Luke Benneche on the bump, Milwaukee struck first, notching two runs on catcher Ben Buehring’s double.

The ’Cats clawed into the deficit with an RBI single by sophomore catcher Lorenzo Rios before tying the game in the third with a triple from senior outfielder Griffin Arnone.

Though Milwaukee answered with a home run in the top of the fourth inning, NU knotted the game at three apiece in the bottom half of the inning off a grounder by junior outfielder Preston Knott that scored Rios.

McElfatrick split the game open with his grand slam in the sixth inning. He extended the lead to 9-3 after his two-run shot in the eighth.

Senior pitcher Nolan Morr, who relieved Benneche, dominated Milwaukee batters. He faced the minimum nine batters and struck out six in three innings of no-hit, no-walk baseball. Morr closed the game by striking out the side, mowing down the last shreds of hope the Panthers possessed.

Two days, two games, two wins.

The ’Cats will look to carry this positive momentum as they venture to Columbus, Ohio, for a matchup with Ohio State. This road trip is NU’s last of the season.

 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @HenryFrieman

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