Feb. 10, 2012
Site: Tempe, Ariz. (Tempe Sports Complex Northeast Field)
Score: Northwestern 14, Texas Tech 6 (6)
Records: NU (1-0), Texas Tech (1-1)
Next NU Event: Feb. 10, 2012 -- at No. 1 Arizona State (Farrington Stadium), 8 p.m. CT (7 p.m. local)
TEMPE, Ariz. -- After staking Texas Tech to a four run first-inning lead, Northwestern came storming back in its 2012 season opener at the Kajikawa Classic, ending the game early on a walk-off home run to claim a 14-6 (6) victory.
Northwestern is 1-0 on the young season while Texas Tech falls to 1-1 with its loss.
Freshman Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) got the start in the season-opener for the Wildcats, striking out the first batter she saw before getting the next to line out to Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) at first. She ran into trouble there, walking the bases full before two seeing-eye singles found their way through the infield to stake Texas Tech to an early 4-0 lead.
Northwestern rallied of its own accord in the bottom of the frame. Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) was hit by a pitch with one out before Monka and Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Letourneau then stepped into the batter's box and lined a ball past the bag at third for what went for a two-run double, but the umpires met and overturned the call to foul. Unfazed, Letourneau stepped back into the box, fouled off a few more offerings, and on the 11th pitch of the AB, sent a double the other direction down the right-field line to plate Scharkey and Lauren Ackerman (St. Louis, Mo./Home schooled) (in to run for Monka).
(Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) was hit by a pitch to again load the bases before freshman Anna Edwards
(La Canada, Calif./La Canada) pushed home Bast with an RBI groundout to make the score 4-3 after one inning of play.
Letourneau came back to quickly fan the first two Raiders attempting to board in the second before the next two reached base. The Wildcats repelled the attack with a routine grounder to Edwards at second to put a zero on board.
Letourneau ran her strikeout total to five through three innings of work before Monka set to the work she's so well known for in the bottom of the third. For the second-straight year, the senior hit a home run in the first game of the season, this time knotting the game, 4-4, on a leadoff solo shot. The blast was the 42nd of Monka's career, breaking a tie with Michelle Batts (2008-11) to move Monka into fifth place by herself on NU's all time home run list.
Following the blast, NU loaded the bases with two outs when Bast was hit by a pitch and both Edwards and Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) drew walks. That chased Texas Tech starter Cara Custer from the circle in favor of Kelsey Dennis, who promptly nailed Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) with a pitch to give Northwestern a 5-4 lead the hard way. Texas Tech opted to re-enter Custer into the circle following the HBP.
Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) followed with a sharp grounder to short that the fielder mishandled on a short-hop, resulting in an error and another NU run. Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Calif./Antioch) then lofted a soft fly for a two-run single into left to push the cushion out to four runs, 8-4, after three innings of play.
Texas Tech put a pair of runners on with one out in the top of the fourth, eventually getting them to second and third. Edwards did the smart thing on a ball up the middle, taking it to first for the second out while allowing a run to score. A second run then came home on an illegal pitch call to cut Northwestern's lead in half, 8-6.
Texas Tech brought its third pitcher of the game into the circle to kick of NU's half of the fourth. Northwestern got runners to second and third with two outs thanks to a Letourneau walk and an Edwards single, but no runs came of the situation.
Majam was hit by a pitch to lead off the Northwestern half of the fifth, her second HBP of the day and NU's fifth. That led to the fifth Texas Tech pitching change of the game and the Red Raiders' fourth hurler. Allard welcomed the new pitcher with a comebacker, and the ball was quickly thrown away trying to get Majam at second to make everyone safe. A passed ball then moved both runners up a bag before Duehr drew a walk to load the bases.
Monka then was hit by a pitch herself to drive in Majam and extend Northwestern's lead back out to three, 9-6. Freshman Jessica Guffey (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) entered the game to run for Monka. After a fielder's choice out eliminated Allard at home, Letourneau was hit by a pitch to drive home Duehr for a 10-6 lead. Amanda Mehrsheikh (Chesterfield, Mo./Parkway Central) entered to run for Letourneau. Edwards then made a bid to end the game early, but her deep fly to left was tracked down just short of the fence to end the fifth frame.
After Letourneau notched her 10th strikeout of the game as part of a scoreless top of the sixth, pinch hitter sophomore Jenny Tyler (Glendale, Ariz./Deer Valley) led off the bottom of the sixth with her second-career at-bat -- and her first-career home run! The soaring shot to left put Northwestern on top 11-6 in the ball game.
The inning continued post haste with a Majam walk and an Allard single to bring Duehr -- who entered the game as an injury substitution -- to the plate. The freshman rose to the occasion by crushing a colossal clout out of the park for a three-run, walk-off homer to end the contest at 14-6.
Duehr led the Wildcats at the plate with a two-hit, two-run, five-RBI performance. Letourneau added three RBIs, Majam scored three times, Bast scored two times and Monka drove in a pair.
Letourneau (1-0) earned the first win of her collegiate career by going the distance in a marathon of a season-opener. She went 6.0 innings, allowing six runs on five hits and five walks with 10 strikeouts.
Northwestern returns to action an 8 p.m. CT (7 p.m. local time) against No. 1 Arizona State at Farrington Stadium on the ASU campus.
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