Feb. 12, 2012
Site: Tempe, Ariz. (Tempe Sports Complex Southwest Field)
Score:Northwestern 6, No. 17 Texas A&M 3
Records: NU (2-3), Texas A&M (3-2)
Next NU Event: Feb. 17-19, 2012 -- at Mardi Gras Invitational (Lafayette, La.)
TEMPE, Ariz. -- On getaway day Sunday at the Kajikawa Classic, Northwestern battled No. 17 Texas A&M into extra innings before exploding for four runs in the eighth inning to take a 6-3 victory over the ranked Aggies.
Northwestern concludes the Kajikawa with a 2-3 record after its win while Texas A&M is 3-2 on the season following its loss.
Northwestern needed no extra warm up time to get going early Sunday morning. Junior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off the game with a nice bunt single, but was erased at second on an Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) sacrifice attempt. Senior Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) then put the Wildcats in the lead, 2-0, with a soaring home run to dead center. The blast was Monka's third of the weekend and the 44th of her career, moving her into a tie for fourth all-time at Northwestern with Erin Dyer (2006-09).
The first two Aggies to the plate in the game reached base against Northwestern starter Amy Letourneau
(Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic), but the freshman quickly shut the door on the stampede with three-straight strikeouts to end the first inning.
Northwestern went right back to work in the top of the second. Earning her first-career start Sunday morning, freshman Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) got the second inning started with a one-out flare single to left. Junior Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) followed with a single of her own, but that was all the further NU's attack went in that frame.
A&M put its first two runners on again in the second, moving them up via a sacrifice bunt before a sacrifice fly brought one home to cut Northwestern's lead to 2-1. The Wildcats maintained their edge when Allard moved deftly to her left to stab a grounder, throwing out the Aggie to end the inning.
Texas A&M loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the third on a pair of walks and a hit batter. The next Aggie to the plate hit a grounder to Allard, who got the sure out at third while the tying run came home. Allard then assisted on the final out of the frame to keep the game tied, 2-2.
Northwestern's defense showed its teeth thanks to Scharkey in the fourth. The centerfielder first ran down a drive on the track in left center before sprinting in and diving to pick off a dying liner just before it hit the turf for out number two. Letourneau took the cue and fanned the next batter looking to send the game tied to the fifth, 2-2.
Both teams traded zeroes back-and-forth until the game hit the seventh inning with the score the same and Letourneau working on a one-hitter. The Wildcats hit a few tricky balls in their top half of the seventh, but could not get anyone on base. A&M then notched just its second hit of the game to lead off the seventh, but Latourneau -- while facing the Aggies' 3-4-5 batters -- shut the door with a foul out and two more Ks to send the game to extras.
With international tie break rules in effect, Scharkey began the eighth on second base for NU. Allard sent the first pitch she saw into center to drive in Scharkey and put Northwestern in the lead, 3-2. Allard went to second on the throw home before Monka joined her on base via a walk and they both moved up on a wild pitch. Letourneau then followed up with a two-strike bomb to left field that broke the game open for the Wildcats, 6-2. The shot was the first of the freshman's career.
Texas A&M plated its ITB runner in the bottom half of the eighth, then got runners at first and second with one out when a near super-human effort by Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) in the hole at second was just a split second late arriving to first. The next batter hit a long fly down the line in left where Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire), who was into the game as a defensive replacement, tracked it down for the second out. Runners eventually got to the corners with two outs before Allard gloved a flare at short to end the game.
Latourneau (2-1) earned the complete-game victory, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and six walks with nine strikeouts. She also drove in three with her extra-inning blast at the plate. Monka finished 1-for-2 offensively, driving in two and scoring twice while Allard collected a pair of hits.
Northwestern returns to action Feb. 17-19 at the Mardi Gras Invitational hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette in Lafayette, La.
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