With strong winds blowing across Northwestern's baseball field, any fly balls to the outfield could turn into extra bases.
Tiger pitcher Rich Perry allowed two first-inning hits, including one wind-aided single to right field. Those hits resulted in an early jam for Perry. The junior got out of it with a pair of strike outs, however, then retired 12 of the next 13 batters in a five-inning, 11-0 Northwestern win over Tamaqua.
"Rich is in his second year," said Northwestern head coach Len Smith. "He's made a big progression from his sophomore year to his junior year. We're looking for him to build on that as we go through the season."
Perry allowed only those two hits while striking out six and walking one. He saved his outfielders the trouble of having to judge balls in the wind as the Raiders (0-2) didn't hit a ball past the infield after their first two batters of the game.
"I had defense behind me," Perry said. "After I settled in I just let the defense do the work."
Northwestern's offense provided support with five runs in the second inning and seven more in the third. Eight players accounted for 10 hits in the game.
"Everybody in this line up can hit as well as anybody else," said Perry. "We have everybody from seniors down to freshmen playing."
Tyler Bartholomew's RBI single gave Northwestern a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Two batters later, Nick Rodriguez (2 for 2, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) singled to load the bases before Payton Bachman (2 for 2, 2, runs, 2 RBIs) drove in two more runs with a single to right field.
The Tigers (2-0) added another run on a sacrifice fly and one more on a balk for a 5-0 lead after two innings.
After a run scored on an error in the third, Rodriguez hit an RBI double with one out to push Northwestern's lead to 8-0. Austin Kelly brought in a run with an RBI single. Perry knocked in two with a double to centerfield to cap the scoring at 11-0.
The wind was a factor for both teams. It carried balls deep into right field and knocked down hits to left field. It also caused some problems with dirt and debris flying all over the field.
"It was tough," said Perry. "Every now and then I had to step off and clear my eyes because there's so much dirt flying. It was tough but you have to battle through it."
Tamaqua's first batter of the game, Dylan DeLay, used the wind to get a ball over the head of Rodriguez in right field. The Raiders' Ian Nicholls followed with a line-drive single to put runners on first and third with no outs.
But Perry struck out Luke Matsago, which turned into a double play when the home plate umpire called interference as Nicholls was stealing second.
Perry then came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Trevor Reinhardt and get out of the jam.
Tamaqua 000 00 - 0 2 2
Northwestern 056 0x - 11 10 0
Hosler, Yeakel (3) and Mastago, Miller (4); Perry and Breidinger. W – Perry. L – Hosler.