The Northwestern baseball team kicked off GPAC play this past weekend in style. After 24 competitive non-conference games, the Red Raiders were looking to show the conference that they were better than their 9-15 record showed.
On April 1, NW took on the Hastings College Broncos in a doubleheader in Hastings. The Red Raiders dropped the first game 8-0, but bounced right back up, beating Hastings in game two, 6-5.Offensive production by seniors Christian Hamett and Sean Geelan helped back a solid pitching performance by redshirt sophomore Colin Pennings.
Senior Zach Cortese came into relief after freshman Austin Zylstra pitched two shutout innings. Cortese pitched one shutout inning and was able to pick up his first save of the year.
The offensive and defensive momentum carried over to the next day as NW swept the Doane College Tigers by beating them 11-4 and 3-2.
In game one, sophomore Mitchell Kresnik was able to make things happen for the Red Raiders, going 3 for 4, with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. Sophomores Raphael DeHoyos and Tanner Ortlund solidified the win with their combined eight strikeouts in seven innings.
Game two was no different when it came to pitching. Sophomore Grant Lang pitched out of his mind going 7.2 innings with 9 strikeouts, giving up the lone 2 runs.
On April 5, NW swept Grace University by scores of 9-4 and 21-0 in a non-conference matchup. The offense was running on all cylinders allowing for many to get the opportunity to get some time.
After a great weekend and a great Tuesday, NW is excited to continue conference plays as well as finish their non-conference schedule.
“We are feeling pretty good,” sophomore first baseman Michael Callahan said. “We felt that we are headed in the right direction. We turned the corner as a team and are getting better every day.”
NW will continue conference play this weekend at home with two double headers: one against Nebraska Wesleyan and the other against Dakota Wesleyan.