April 17, 1998
Baseball Prepares for Michigan
Wildcats on three-game win streak.
Northwestern Wildcats (26-12, 9-4 Big Ten)
at #2 Michigan Wolverines (37-4, 12-1 Big Ten)
April 18-19, 1998
Ann Arbor, Mich.
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Northwestern softball team travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., this weekend for a three-game series with Big Ten leader Michigan.
NU has won three in a row and is in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings heading into this weekends action. The Cats took two of three games from Penn State last weekend and swept a doubleheader from Wisconsin on Tuesday.
Against the Nittany Lions, Jackie DeBoard picked up both wins by throwing 6.1 innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 win in Saturdays first game and tossing a complete-game, three-hitter in Sundays 3-0 win. Penn State took game two Saturday, 6-3. Kyla Hattabaugh and Amanda Peterson each had three hits in the doubleheader on Saturday and Jenn Shull was 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the win on Sunday.
The Northwestern bats lit up the scoreboard on Tuesday against the Badgers, pounding out 18 runs on 27 hits, including four HRs and four doubles. Lindsey Prezell was 6-for-7 with two home runs and three RBIs and DeBoard picked up two more wins by throwing nine innings of no-run, four-hit ball.
Northwestern vs. Michigan
This weekends series will mark the 65th, 66th and 67th games in the all-time series between Northwestern and Michigan with the Wolverines hold ing a 44-20 advantage. The two teams split a doubleheader in Evanston a year ago. Michigan won game one, 1-0, but NU took game two, 4-1.
Head Coach Sharon Drysdale
Sharon Drysdale (Brockport (N.Y.) St., 1966) is in her 20th year as head coach of the Wildcats and boasts a career record of 616-431-3. She picked up her 600th career victory earlier this season in a 4-3 win over Santa Clara. In her 20 years at NU, she has compiled a 552-423-3 mark, including a 230-159 mark in Big Ten play. She has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (1984, 87, and 95) and has won five Big Ten titles. Her teams have also made four appearances in the College World Series. NU has put together 10 30-win seasons under Drysdale.
The Penn State Series
Northwestern rebounded from the doubleheader loss at Minnesota with a strong showing against the Nittany Lions. In Saturdays first game, the Cats picked up three unearned runs in a 3-1 win. Amanda Peterson was 2-for-4 with a run scored to lead the offense. Three runs was all Jackie DeBoard needed, giving up just three hits and one walk while striking out seven in 6.1 innings. Brooke Siebel and Kyla Hattabaugh each had two hits in game two, but Penn States four runs in the first two innings were too much for NU. Siebel took the loss on the hill, going just one inning and giving up four earned runs. DeBoard returned to the hill on Sunday and fired a complete game, three-hit gem in a 3-0 win. Jenn Shull was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Siebel scored two runs for the Cats.
The Wisconsin Series
The Northwestern offense was overpowering in a midweek doubleheader sweep of Wisconsin. NU pounded out 18 runs on 27 hits, including four HRs, winning 7-2 in game one and 11-1 in game two. Lindsey Prezell had her finest day as a Wildcat, going 6-for-7 with two HRs, three RBIs and three runs scored. NU jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game one, thanks in part to two Wisconsin errors and two wild pitches in the first inning. Prezell, Amanda Peterson and Mikie Chambers each had two hits and all but two Wildcats scored runs. DeBoard was the winner again, throwing four shutout innings of two-hit ball. In game two, Prezell, Kyla Hattabaugh and Brooke Siebel all went deep for the Cats. Hattabaugh finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Siebel and Chambers each had two hits and two RBIs. DeBoard improved her record to 17-2 as she struck out eight and walked none in five scoreless innings.
Mowing Them Down
Sophomore pitcher Jackie DeBoard continues to shine in her second season as a Wildcat. Shes 17-2 on the year with two no-hitters and an 0.73 ERA, good for 15th in the country. Shes also ranked 13th in the nation in strikeouts per game, fanning 8.3 batters every seven innings. DeBoard has struck out 137 batters and walked just 28 in 115.0 innings pitched. She has thrown seven shutouts and 11 complete games and has given up just two runs, one earned, in her last 34.1 innings pitched. DeBoard leads the conference in ERA, opposing batting average (.166), strikeouts per game, hits allowed per game (4.1), runs allowed per game (1.1) and saves (2).
Siebel is Smoking
Freshman hurler Brooke Siebel is also having an outstanding year on the mound. Shes 6-5 with a 2.88 ERA. Siebel also is one of NUs most potent offensive weapons, batting 351, good for second on the club, with a .477 slugging percentage. Shes tied for the team lead with eight doubles and is second in runs scored, with 26 and third in RBIs, with 18.
NU has been a durable team all season long. Brooke Siebel, Kyla Hattabaugh, Amanda Peterson, Jenn Shull, Lindsey Prezell, Brittany Nelson and Jill Nesbitt have all started every game this year for NU. Of the regular starters, only Tami Jones, out with an ankle injury, has missed significant time. In fact, neither Peterson nor Shull have missed a start in the last season and a half as both started all 50 games a season ago. Peterson has played in 135 of a possible 140 games in her career.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Much of NUs success this season can be attributed to their defense. NU is third in the conference in fielding percentage at .964. They rank second in that category in conference games only, fielding at a .969 pace. They have committed a league-low 37 errors.
Amanda Peterson has an impressive fielding streak in progress. She has played 90 straight games without an error. In her career, she has committed just one error in 203 chances spanning 135 games. Jill Nesbitt committed an error in the first game against Wisconsin, ending her streak of errorless games at 48. She had gone 264 consecutive chances without an error dating back to last season.
Chasing the Leaders
Several NU players are chasing single-season records. Freshman Kyla Hattabaugh, hitting .374 through 38 games, is chasing Kelley Greens single-season mark of .376 set in 1994. She also needs to score nine more runs to break Sue Harrelsons s mark of 38, set in 1995. Jill Nesbitts 23 RBIs is just five off the mark of 28, set by both Kelley Green and Erin Robson in 1995.
Off and Running
After finishing second in the Big Ten a year ago in stolen bases, with 104 steals in 131 attempts, NU is back at it again this season. The Cats have swiped 78 bases in 94 attempts, good for second in the conference. Penn State is first with 87 steals.
NU is getting the hits and runs when theyve needed them most. Northwestern batters are hitting .395 leading off an inning, .463 with the bases loaded, .306 with runners in scoring position and .322 with RBI opportunities. Also, of their 126 RBIs this season, 62 have come with two outs. NU has outscored their opponents 36-16 in the sixth and seventh innings, 57-25 in the first and second innings and is 23-1 when leading after five.
Fellow freshmen Brooke Siebel and Kyla Hattabaugh have been a welcome addition to this years squad. Besides each having started every game this season, they rank 1-2 on the NU hitting charts. Hattabaugh is hitting at a .374 clip, .429 in conference games, has 14 RBIs and leads the team with a .570 slugging percentage, a .452 on-base percentage, three HRs, two triples and 30 runs scored. Shes also been successful on 11-of-12 stolen base attempts. Siebel is batting .351, .429 in conference games, with 18 RBI and 26 runs scored and shares the team lead with Hattabaugh with eight doubles.
Four players have had hitting streaks of seven games this season. Amanda Peterson is currently on an eight-game streak and Lindsey Prezell recently had her eight-game streak snapped vs Penn State. Brooke Siebel and Kyla Hattabaugh have each had seven-game strings this season while Mikie Chambers and Tami Jones each had six. Hattabaugh has also had at least two hits in five of her last nine games.
Hitting the Airwaves
WNUR, 89.3 FM, the radio home of Wildcat softball, will be at Anderson Field on Sat., May 2 to broadcast both ends of a doubleheader with Ohio State.
NU is back in action this Tue., April 21, when they travel to DePaul for 2 p.m. doubleheader with the 19th-ranked Blue Demons. They will play another doubleheader at Northern Illinois on Wednesday before heading to East Lansing, Mich. next weekend for a three-game series with the Michigan State Spartans.
Cats on the Web
For more information on the NU softball team, as well as all 17 varsity sports, check out the Wildcat webpage. Log onto the internet at nusports.com. And for results of all Northwestern athletics, call the Wildcat sportsline. The number to call is (847) 467-NCAT.