North Central Thwarts Big Blue in Doubleheader Sweep

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

Mar. 30, 2018 – The North Central College baseball team took full advantage of Friday's doubleheader moved to Zimmerman Stadium due to inclement weather down at Millikin University, as the Cardinals dominated in every phase of the game en route to the doubleheader sweep of the Big Blue, while head coach Ed Matheybecame just the second coach in program history to eclipse 300 career wins as a Cardinal.

With the two victories, Mathey's record at North Central sits at 301-223-2, just three wins away from tying North Central Hall of Fame inductee Tom Purcell '74 for the all-time wins record at the College.

The scoring started early for North Central (8-6, 4-0 CCIW), the visiting team in each contest, as Jeremy Quade led off the game with a single down the right field line and advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Eric Outlaw promptly drove home Quade, lining a double over the left fielder's head to put the Cardinals on the board.

After a pair of quick outs, Mike Wisz came through with a clutch two-out triple to right field, while Colin Weilbacher made the Big Blue pay once again the following batter, sending Wisz home on a RBI-single to center, giving North Central a 3-0 lead after the top half of the first.

The onslaught continued for the Cardinal offense in the second, as Foster Heise drew a walk to lead off the frame, while Robert Zebrauskas reached on a throwing error after successfully advancing Heise to second with a sacrifice bunt.  Quade then followed with his second base knock in as many innings, driving home Heise, while Michael Mateja singled home Zebrauskas two batters later.

Following a Millikin pitching change, John Carmody quickly cleared the bags with a two-RBI double to left center, scoring Quade and Mateja, while coming around to score himself on a balk later in the inning, increasing the lead 8-0 after two innings.

The Cardinals continued to lay on the offense, scoring in each of the next three innings to open up a 14-0 lead after five innings.

John Clifford dazzled on the mound in game one, allowing just one earned run on six hits over his seven innings, striking out five in the complete game victory.

Eight of the nine Cardinal batters in the lineup finished with a hit in game one, led by Quade's 4-for-5 performance from the plate with three runs scored and two RBI, while Wisz was 3-for-4 with a sacrifice fly, three RBI and a run scored.  Mateja and Weilbacher added a pair of hits each, while Carmody finished 2-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI.

North Central struck first in game two as well, plating a second inning run on a solo homerun to left center off the bat of Joe Rizzo, his first collegiate homerun to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals then busted the game open with a five-run top of the fourth, generating all five runs with two outs in the inning.  Matt Sutherland started the rally with a two-out single up the middle, followed by a Quade hit by pitch and Outlaw base on balls to load the bases.

Mateja fouled off numerous tough pitches before bouncing a single through the left side, sending home Sutherland and Quade.  Carmody followed suit with a single through the right side, scoring Outlaw, while Wisz capped the scoring in the inning with a two-RBI double to deep right-center field, extending the lead 6-0.

Millikin gained a run back in the bottom of the fourth, but that proved to be all the runs the offense would muster from that point forward, as the Cardinal pitching staff once again took care of business late.

Charlie Klemm tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits over six innings, striking out four and walking one to improve to 3-1 on the season.  Jordan Litke allowed just one hit over his 1 2/3 innings, while Anthony Serafini and Jason Shanner closed out the final inning and a third.

Mateja finished 3-for-5 in the nightcap with a hit by pitch, two RBI and a run scored, extending his reached-base streak to 57 games dating back to Mar. 20, 2017.  Sutherland also finished 3-for-5 in game two, scoring twice, while Rizzo was 2-for-3 with two walks, a homerun, two runs scored and one RBI.

The Cardinals look to secure the season sweep of the Big Blue (10-7, 0-3 CCIW) tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. at Zimmerman Stadium.