By Max Gelman
Northwestern (10-24, 3-6) ended the game with a bang, winning a nail-biter against the UIC Flames (16-14-1, 11-4) on Wednesday, 4-3.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, UIC was down a by a run after cutting their deficit to one.
With two outs and runners on first and second, UIC third baseman Mickey McDonald singled up the middle. Wildcat center fielder Kyle Ruchim fielded the ball cleanly and, seeing Flames runner Tyler Detmer rounding third base, gunned the ball to home plate. Catcher Scott Heelan caught the ball on the fly and tagged out Detmer in front of the plate, clinching the win for the Wildcats.
Joe Hoscheit, who started the game at DH, got the win in relief. Jake Stolley closed out the game and got the save.
NU pushed across the first run of the game in the top half of the third, when first baseman Zach Jones chopped an infield single. Flames pitcher Jack Andersen came off the mound and, bobbling the ball, failed to make a play at the plate with Connor Lind charging hard.
UIC took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, when first baseman Alex Lee singled home Detmer with one out, and catcher Gabe Dwyer drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded. Both runs were charged to sophomore Pete Hoffman, who entered the game in relief at the start of the inning.
The Cats regained the lead in the top of the eighth after their bats remained largely silent since their first run. NU loaded the bases with no one out, and with Heelan at the plate, Antonio Freschet scored after a passed ball by Dwyer. Following a Joe Hoscheit strikeout, Reed Hunter lined a pinch-hit single to right field on the first pitch, driving in Kyle Ruchim and Jones, giving the Cats a 4-2 lead.
The Flames got back a run in the bottom of the ninth. After getting the first two men on base, reliever Jake Stolley retired the next two batters with a lineout and flyout but surrendered an RBI single to Lee. NU ended the game on the next play with Ruchim’s throw.
A trip to Iowa City is next up for the Cats, who will try to extend their winning streak to two games. The series begins on Friday at 6 p.m.