Freshman starter Ryan Richter struck out a career-high six and Jeremy Barnes hit a home run, but Notre Dame fell to Northwestern 5-1 at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night.
Notre Dame (20-13) beat Northern Illinois at the home ballpark of the White Sox last year, but could not muster much offense against the Wildcats (9-23).
The Irish did manage to collect eight hits, but Barnes' solo homer to the right field bullpen in the seventh was the only run. Barnes had a pair of hits, as did Cameron McConnell to lead the Notre Dame offense.
Northwestern starter Eric Jokisch allowed just four hits in five innings to earn the victory while Richter was tagged for two runs in 3.2 innings and was hit with the loss.
Northwestern struck for single runs in the first and the third before Frank Vercelli hit a solo homer in the seventh and a two-run blast in the ninth to complete the scoring for the Wildcats.
The contest was the 131st between the Irish and the Wildcats and Notre Dame holds a 71-59-1 edge, but Northwestern has won the last four.
The Irish return to action this weekend with a three-game home series against Big East foe West Virginia.