GENEVA — Northern Illinois was able to put runners on base against Northwestern starter Luke Farrell on Tuesday night.
The problem was pushing those runners home, something the Huskies had chances to do, yet just couldn't accomplish in a 2-1 loss to the Wildcats at Fifth Third Bank Field.
NIU had three solid scoring opportunities in the middle innings, each time coming up empty.
When the Huskies had their first real scoring chance, Troy White struck out swinging with Jamison Wells on third base in the bottom of the fourth. In the fifth, Joe Battaglia and Alex Beckhmann had key strikeouts with runners on second and third.
The Huskies (13-31) ran themselves out of the sixth inning when Alex Jones attempted to steal third base with two outs. He was thrown out rather easily and Northwestern (15-26) was able to escape the frame. Jamison Wells was also caught stealing in the inning.
"We had some guys that we thought were the right guys up, we had some good opportunities," NIU coach Ed Mathey said. "It wouldn't take a lot, maybe a ground ball through the middle, a ground ball up the middle, a ground ball out, to get us a run. And we just didn't come up with it."
The Wildcats got their first run of the game when second baseman Zach Morton reached on a single to left field to lead off the game. NIU starter Tom Barry started losing his command after that, loading the bases with two walks.
Geoff Rowan got Morton home after Barry walked him with the bases loaded.
Barry went seven innings, giving up just the one earned run. He walked five hitters and finished with six strikeouts.
"He was struggling a little bit getting settled in on the mound there," Mathey said. "I think it might have been a little bit slick for him and he was just having a little bit of trouble getting used to that. But he competed well for us."
The Huskies got their lone run in the ninth when Alex Klonkowski singled to right field, scoring Troy White.
Farrell, the son of Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell, went six innings, striking out six and walking just one hitter. Michael Jahns and Kyle Ruchim threw the final three innings for the Wildcats, with Ruchim earning the save.
"I knew he was one of their ace relievers. That's not a guy that they're going to let walk guys," said Wells, who went 3 for 4 as the Huskies' leadoff hitter. "So I knew he was going to be around in the zone and he wasn't looking to get behind guys. I took advantage of that, I think."