EVANSTON, Ill. – The Gopher Baseball team opened a three-game Big Ten Conference series with Northwestern scoring five runs in the first inning and holding on for a 5-4 win on Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.
Minnesota (25-24, 14-8 Big Ten) jumped all over Wildcats starter Ryan Bader (3-4) in the first, ambushing the left-hander with five runs on seven hits, including five extra-base knocks. Riley Smith led off the inning with a triple, Zack Raabe and Eduardo Estrada, Jr. each added an RBI double, and Eli Wilson and Jack Wassel each homered to give the Gophers an early lead.
Northwestern (23-26, 10-12 Big Ten) clawed back into the game with single runs in the second and fourth innings before chasing Patrick Fredrickson with a pair of runs in the fifth. The right-hander finished with 4.2 innings pitched, allowing three earned on five hits but walked a pair and hit a batter in his outing.
Nick Lackney (3-4) gave up a run on two hits in the fifth, but settled in to work 3.2 innings, striking out five and allowing just one additional single on the day. Brett Schulze took over for Lackney with a runner on and one away in the ninth, getting a pair of ground balls back to the mound to claim his seventh save of the season.