After its first loss in 17 games, the Northwestern men’s baseball team looked to bounce back against Viterbo University. Last Friday, the teams played a doubleheader in Pleasant Hill and split the matchups.
Coming into the game, NW as a team had a .318 batting average and was scoring an average of 6.8 runs per game.
In their first contest, NW took an early lead by going up 4-0 after the first two innings. Freshman Casey Guthmiller had two RBIs, and senior Davis Bloemendaal had one RBI. The rest of the game was much of the same as NW went on to score two more times over the next four innings. The scoring included a homer from junior Tony Schultz.
Senior Tyler Stuerman pitched six innings and allowed no earned runs. He also had three strikeouts in the win.
Guthmiller also helped fuel the offense as he went 2-2 at bat and scored two runs. Junior Skyler Wheeler was 2-4 at the dish and had an RBI.
“We have been on quite an amazing run,” sophomore pitcher Josh Turner said. “We have built a lot of momentum and the team’s chemistry is increasing every day. With more reps and more practice, we will keep getting better as the season goes on.”
After a strong performance in the first match, the Raiders were unable to maintain their dominance and fell 9-4.
With the score tied 4-4 at the end of the fourth, it was clear that this game was not going to be another easy win for NW. Viterbo turned it on in the fifth and sixth innings. The Cardinals scored five more runs and kept their lead for good.
Senior pitcher Matt Piocos struggled and allowed five runs under his watch. Turner came in as relief, but Viterbo was already in control, and the Cardinals scored four more on Turner.
Offensively, the Raiders struggled. The team managed only six hits on the day. Senior Erik Widener tried to carry the load with a 2-3 day at the plate. He had three RBIs and a homer, but it was not enough.
“It is always tough to lose games that we feel we could have won,” Turner said. “We have to take it as a learning experience and keep our heads up. It is still a long season ahead of us.”
After a week of practice, NW will face GPAC opponents Doane and Hastings. The raiders will play a doubleheader at Doane at 1 p.m. on Friday. Next the Raiders will take on Hastings in another doubleheader at noon on Saturday.