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Northwestern’s Narcisse Throws Shutout In Win Over NMB

Northwestern Bulls pitcher Jah’syi Narcisse tossed a complete-game two-hitter, striking out 12, in a 3-0 win over North Miami Beach on Monday at loanDepot Park in the inaugural Jackie Robinson Classic. Photo by Glenn Sattell

Northwestern’s Jah’syi Narcisse certainly picked a good time to pitch the game of his life. The Bulls’ sophomore right-hander tossed a two-hit shutout, striking out 12, in a 3-0 win over North Miami Beach on Monday at loanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins, in their inaugural Jackie Robinson Classic, as part of a celebration of 75 years since Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Narcisse recorded at least one strikeout in all seven innings and allowed only back-to-back singles to Alejandro Izquierdo and mound opponent Jesus Rodriguez to open the Chargers’ fourth inning. Outside of that he was nearly perfect.

“I’m most proud of (Narcisse),” said Northwestern manager Darrell Pender. “He had been struggling. The entire year he had been struggling. But in a game like this, he told me, ‘Coach, I’m pitching the whole game.’ And he did it.”

Narcisse baffled NMB batters with a masterful mixture of fastball and slider.

“I came out, do what I had to do, pitch a good game, get the dub,” said Narcisse in succinctly describing his outstanding effort.

Narcisse had good command and location of his fastball, and then the slider was nasty.

“He pitched the best game of his life,” said Northwestern catcher Jose Mercado, who helped out his batterymate with a triple, single, and two RBIs. “It was one of those games where I just trusted him and let him call the game and I just tried to figure out what he wanted to do.”

Hobbled by an injury, Mercado is now clearly back to 100 percent. His two of the Bulls’ five hits drove in Darrell Pender, Jr. each time. His first-inning triple chased home Pender, who doubled, with the game’s first run, and his fifth-inning single again plated Pender with an insurance marker.

Northwestern’s Darrell Pender, Jr. had two hits and scored twice in the Bulls’ 3-0 win over North Miami Beach on Monday at loanDepot Park. Photo by Glenn Sattell

Though he said he felt the pressure in his first plate appearance, Mercado was still able to fight through it and come up with a big hit.

“I came to the plate with a lot of pressure because it’s a Major League ballpark and growing up I always wanted to play for the Marlins,” Mercado said. “So, when I came up, I felt a lot of pressure. So, I kind of zoned in, told myself to focus on the at-bat, look for something outside and that’s what I got.”

The Bulls also scored a run in the fourth on some aggressive and heads-up baserunning from Levon Levy, who also finished with two hits. After his one-out single, Levy motored around to third on a wild pick-off attempt. But he didn’t stop there, scoring on a second throwing error in the same play, this one sailing over the catcher’s head.

North Miami Beach pitcher Jesus Rodriguez threw seven strong innings for the Chargers on Monday at loanDepot Park. Photo by Glenn Sattell

It was the only miscue in an otherwise cleanly played game.

Rodriguez pitched well for the Chargers, going the distance while striking out six and his manager, Yoanquy Martinez, came away feeling positive about the afternoon as a whole.

“It was a great experience,” Martinez said. “We got the loss but I told (the team) that the experience is worth more. It’s not always as a high school player you can play at a Major League stadium. So, it was a cool experience.”

Martinez said he felt it a privilege to be included in the Marlins’ Jackie Robinson celebration.

“(Robinson) broke the barrier for a lot of people to be able to play,” Martinez said. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have some of the All-Stars and Hall of Famers that we have now.”

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