Feb. 14, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. -- In a back-and-forth contest that saw four lead changes and five innings with three or more runs scored, Northwestern outlasted George Washington, 12-11, to win its opening game of the LSU Tiger Invitational.
Northwestern now is 4-1 on the year while George Washington is 0-6 after the 2:46 long marathon. The two teams will play again at 3 p.m. CT tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 15. As for right now, NU returns to action immediately against host and 21st-ranked LSU.
George Washington put two aboard with two outs in the top of the first against senior Northwestern starter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja), but the veteran fanned a pair in the inning to leave the Colonials scoreless before GWU returned the favor versus NU. All three Wildcats' outs in the first inning came on spectacular defensive plays, the last which robbed reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) of a base knock to left when the shortstop sprinted back and made an over-the-shoulder catch to strand two Wildcats and keep the game scoreless to the second frame.
George Washington plated three in the top of the second to take the game's first lead. Before the scoring, Albanese sniffed out a squeeze attempt perfectly with a glove flip home to Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) for the second out. After that play, however, a single and a triple gave the Colonials a 3-0 edge on a trio of unearned runs thanks to an earlier error in the frame.
Northwestern got on the board in the bottom of the third in a big way thanks to a pair of early GWU errors. Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) led off with a single into left that got by the fielder for an error. With Majam now at second, the throw on a Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) ground ball got away for an error, allowing Majam to put NU's first run on the board. Later in the inning, with Bast at third and pinch runner Krista Williams (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) at second, Albanese helped herself with a sharp grounder into left field to tie the game, 3-3, going to the fourth frame.
Following a quick 1-2-3 Albanese top of the fourth to protect the prior NU rally, Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) unbroke the tie immediately in the bottom of the fourth with a towering home run over an embankment and some palm trees beyond left field to put NU up 4-3 in the contest on her 13th-career blast.
GWU tied the game again immediately in its half of the fifth with a leadoff walk followed by a double, then, later in the frame, a wind-blown double into the gap in left-center put the Colonials back on top, 6-4. Midway through the rally, Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) replaced Albanese in the circle.
Northwestern again responded right away to continue the see-saw battle, but this time put the ballpark on blast with a six-run rally that began with back-to-back doubles from Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) and Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) to score a run. George Washington then lifted its starting pitcher Meghan Rico in favor of Courtney Martin, who struggled mightily, eventually leading to Rico's reentry when a bases-loaded walk to Duehr gave NU the lead back, 7-6.
The inning continued with 12 total Wildcats coming the plate and additional runs coming via a Bast two-run single and a Filler bases-loaded walk to put NU on top, 10-6, before it was all said and done.
George Washington struck back for four two-out runs in the top of the sixth to again square the game, 10-10, before Duehr did the deed again in NU's half. With Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) on second base following a walk and a Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) sacrifice, Duehr sent her second home run of the ballgame over the fence in left-center to stake the Wildcats to a 12-10 lead going into the seventh. There, Wood allowed one run before stranding the tying run at third base on a soft, low liner to LeBeau at second.
Duehr led NU at the plate in the game, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Majam was 2-for-5 with two runs while Bast, Filler and Albanese each knocked in a pair.
Albanese went four-plus innings in the start, allowing six runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks with a season-best four strikeouts. Wood (2-1) picked up the win in relief, allowing five runs on five hits and five walks with five strikeouts in 3.0 innings of work.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!