Feb. 7, 2014
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Northwestern exploded for seven runs in the third inning Friday against New Mexico on 2014 Opening Day at the Kajikawa Classic, leading to a 10-0 (5) run-rule victory over the Lobos.
Northwestern improves to 1-1 on the season with the win while New Mexico now is 0-3 on the year with its loss.
Northwestern starting pitcher Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) got a great jump on matching her 288 strikeouts from a year ago by fanning four in the first inning when one of her Ks reached base via a wild pitch. The Wildcats' offense then got the jump on the Lobos in general with an explosive bottom of the frame.
Senior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) got the party started in a big way. In her first fully healthy game since 2012, Allard performed a feat so accustomed to NU fans since her arrival in 2010 when she led off the game with a single and stole second. That steal gave her 118 for her career, tying her with Katie Ballman (1994-97) for the Wildcats' career record.
The inning continued with walks to Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) and Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) before Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) batted a ball to first. With the bases loaded, the throw came home but Allard was just too fast, beating it with a slide to put Northwestern on top with the fielder's choice grounder. Later, with one out, a Letourneau bases-loaded walk and a Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) single made it 3-0 headed to the second inning.
The Wildcats threatened to score again in the second by loading the bases with one out, but were unable to cross the plate again until the third when the fireworks exploded to the tune of a pair of home runs and a pair of triples. In that frame, Letourneau led off with a massive home run to dead center field, accounting for the 22nd blast of the junior's career. Sophomore Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) followed with a triple to right before trotting home when LeBeau launched the first home run of her career to left field to give NU a 6-0 advantage.
The Wildcats pushed the game into run-rule territory as the third continued. Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) reached on an error, stole second and came around when Majam singled. A Bast single scored Majam, then, later in the inning, Letourneau was at the center of another awesome/bizzare play. She crushed her second homer of the inning for a three-run shot, but the Northwestern celebration was too overzealous and Letourneau was called out and credited for only a 2-run triple when someone from the bench crossed into fair territory to get the bat out of the way of the runners. As such, the third inning ended with NU on top, 10-0.
Senior Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) entered the circle in relief of Letourneau in the fourth inning, pitching two perfect frames and ending it with a strikeout to secure the run-rule victory.
Letourneau picked up the win with 3.0 innings in the start, fanning seven and allowing two hits and two walks. Albanese went 2.0 frames with one K.
At the plate, Letourneau also led the way with a 2-for-2 performance and four RBI on a home run and a triple that went over the fence. Filler was 2-for-2 with a triple, LeBeau drove in two, Allard had two hits and both Majam and Bast scored twice.
NU returns to action with a pair of games tomorrow in the desert, facing Utah at 6:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. MT and Boise State at 9 p.m. CT/8 p.m. MT.
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