Minneapolis, Minnesota — It seems the 2021 Northwestern baseball team has a flair for the dramatic…Colton Harold belted a solo home run over the left-centerfield fence to give the Raiders a 10-9, 10-inning win in game two and preserve a doubleheader sweep against Clarke.
Northwestern won game one 2-1 and begins the season with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2012. Clarke falls to 1-4 on the year.
Harold hit the historic blast off Nolan Lamere (0-1) on the first pitch of the bottom of the 10th inning to set off a frenzied celebration by his Raider teammates. It was his second home run of the game and fourth overall by the Raiders in game two.
With Northwestern leading 5-4 heading into the top of the seventh, Clarke pushed four unearned runs across to take an 8-5 lead and three outs away from a split. The Raiders, however, rallied, as Josh Fakkema drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a two-out walk by Sam Stanford. Jaden Snyder followed with a double on a 1-2 count, scoring both Fakkema and Stanford to get within one. Sutton Derr came up and singled off an 0-2 pitch to plate Snyder and send the game into extra’s, 8-8.
After a scoreless eighth, Clarke once again took the lead when Tavan Shahidi hit a leadoff double and his pinch runner, Andrew Swartz, came around to score after a double by Travis McFarland for a 9-8 lead. It took Northwestern just one pitch to tie the game as Eli Rash led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run as the game moved to the 10th inning.
Ethan Buckner (1-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for the Raiders, setting up the walkoff heroics by Harold.
Northwestern totaled 15 hits by eight different players, led by Derr, Rash and Snyder who all had three hits. Snyder totaled three doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Harold went 2-for-5 with three RBI and Fakkema added a solo home run in the third and scored two runs.
Dylan Kirkeby pitched the first four innings, giving up four hits and four earned runs while striking out six. Ben Zeutenhorst pitched two perfect innings in relief, striking out two. Six Raider pitchers limited the Pride to seven hits, five earned runs and recorded 11 strikeouts.
McFarland and Noah Hoepfner led Clarke with two hits each and Darius Bradley totaled two RBI.
In game one, Brett Shelton (1-0) outdueled Clarke starter Alec Thomas (0-1) for a 2-1 win. Shelton held Clarke in check, giving up three hits and one run in 5.2 innings while striking out six. Luke Hughes struck out his only batter faced to finish the sixth inning and Ryan Reynolds notched his first save with a scoreless seventh.
Northwestern made the most of its six hits, led by Derr who went 2-for-3 and scored both runs. The senior broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with his first career home run, a solo shot over the right field wall. Harold, Kip Cullinan, Isaac Thurm and Michael Zeigler all had one hit for Head Coach Brian Wede’s squad.
Thomas took the hard luck loss, giving up all six hits and two runs in five innings. Donovyn Curiel led the Pride at the plate with two hits.