Baseball is back.
The Northwestern Wildcats (1-2) opened their season at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Arizona in a three-game series with the Omaha Mavericks (2-1) over the weekend. After a rough first couple of games, the ‘Cats were able to warm up their bats and come away with a win in the series.
Sophomore starter Mike Doherty was the official opening day starter, and he threw a solid first three innings before allowing the game’s first run in the fourth inning. He ended the fourth working around a jam and stranded the bases loaded to limit the damage.
Northwestern’s offense responded the next half inning, when redshirt sophomore David Dunn picked up the slack his brother left behind and knocked a solo shot to left field. An inning later, the ‘Cats took the lead with another home run, this time from catcher Michael Trautwein.
Omaha turned around with their own offensive response to open the sixth inning, and they reclaimed the lead on a wild pitch and three-run double. The Mavericks stranded the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh as Matt Gannon entered and subsequently shut Omaha down with three straight strikeouts.
Sophomore shortstop Shawn Goosenberg was able to plate another run in the bottom of the frame with a double, but Northwestern never overcame Omaha’s lead and dropped the first game, 5-4.
Northwestern had a tougher go in game two on Saturday. They struck first this time on a hit-and-run RBI double off the bat of Trautwein in the fourth inning. That was just about all of the offense the ‘Cats managed to muster.
The Mavericks took their commanding lead in the fifth inning, when the Wildcats made four consecutive errors to give Omaha the lead. The Mavs went on to score six runs in the inning on four hits. It didn’t get any better when they loaded the bases in the eighth before second baseman Masen Prososki brought them all around with a triple to extend the lead to eight runs.
The ‘Cats tacked on an extra run in the bottom of the frame, but eight runs were ultimately too much to overcome. Omaha took game two with a 9-2 win.
After two tough games, the ‘Cats hoped to take on game from the series on Sunday. Charlie Maxwell opened the third inning with a triple and Kyle Burnett Jr’s groundout brought him home. An inning later, they matched Omaha’s six-run frame from the day before on a couple of Omaha errors and a 3-RBI double from Goosenberg.
The ‘Cats didn’t score again, but redshirt sophomore Tyler Uberstine threw five innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts in his first career start. The bullpen did their job afterward and allowed only one more run from the Mavericks in the final four innings. Northwestern earned their first win of the season, 7-2.
The Wildcats continue the season on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0), who opened their season with a series sweep of Holy Cross.