Feb. 13, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. -- No. 15 Northwestern took a fifth-inning lead against No. 6 Arizona Saturday afternoon at the Kajikawa Classic, but a bottom-of-the-seventh rally from the Pac-10 Wildcats downed NU, 4-3.
The loss drops Northwestern to 2-1 overall on the season while Arizona improves to 3-0.
Although two of the nation's best offenses were at the plate, each team's first runs came in very innocuous fashion.
Arizona opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. After tossing the seventh no-hitter of her career in her first game of the season Friday, senior Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) surrendered a double to Arizona's leadoff batter. A passed ball allowed that runner to move to third, where an attempt at the bag skidded into left for an error and a 1-0 Pac-10 Wildcats' lead. Delaney then struck out the next three batters to end the inning.
Northwestern struck back in the top of the third. Robin Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) led off with an infield single, then moved to second one out later when Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) drew a walk. After another out, Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) received a walk to load the bases. Senior Emily Haug (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) then worked a full count, fouled off several pitches, then took ball four from Arizona's Kenzie Fowler to force in Thompson and knot the game, 1-1.
Both Delaney and Fowler took over heading into the fifth inning, when Northwestern shot into the lead in its traditional fashion by untraditional means. Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) drew a two-out walk before Batts lifted a high fly ball to the warning track in left. Arizona's Brittany Lastrapes ran under it on the warning track, but lost sight of it and it bounced off her upper back and over the fence for a two-run home run and a 3-1 NU advantage.
The home run was the fourth of the season through three games off the scorchingly hot bat of Batts. She now has 24 homers in her career.
Delaney got some defensive help in the bottom of the sixth. Senior centerfielder Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) made a beat on a blast into the right center gap to lead off the inning, reaching out and making a lunging catch before pile-driving the wall and holding on for the out. Delaney got her sixth K of the day and a flyout to end the frame.
Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for Arizona with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Delaney fanned the next red-clad Wildcat to the plate, but a passed ball to the next batter moved everyone up a base and made it a one run game. Another walk loaded the bases, then a grounder to third was thrown home for the force for out number two. The final batter earned the ultimate payoff pitch, lining a full-count single into right to plate the final two runs and give Arizona the win, 4-3, on just its second hit of the game.
Delaney (1-1) took the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on two hits (to the first and last batters of the game) and six walks with seven strikeouts.
Northwestern returns to action at 6:30 p.m. CT today against Nevada.