Feb. 15, 2013
Site: Athens, Ga. (Jack Turner Stadium)
Score: Northwestern 8, Middle Tennessee State 1
Records: NU (1-5), Middle Tennessee State (0-2)
Next NU Event: Feb. 15, 2013 -- at No. 13 Georgia (Georgia Softball Classic), 4:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Northwestern pounded out 11 hits, including six for extra bases, in an 8-1 win over Middle Tennessee State Friday afternoon to begin the Wildcats' Georgia Softball Classic.
Northwestern's victory moves the Wildcats to 1-0 at the event while Middle Tennessee State now is 0-2 at the tournament and on the season. NU returns to action at 4:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. ET against host No. 13 Georgia.
Northwestern wasted little time getting its scoring going in Athens. Senior Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) led off the game with a delightful bunt single before Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) sprayed a single of her own to move Scharkey to second. Two outs later, sophomore Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) lifted a triple over the head of the right fielder to bring both Scharkey and Majam home for an early 2-0 NU lead. The three-bagger already is Edwards' second of the year to go along with three doubles hit last week at the Kajikawa Classic.
Middle Tennessee State reclaimed one of those runs in the bottom of the inning with a two-out rally, starting with a bloop single to left-center before a walk and a run-scoring single over the bag at third that Majam did well to track down to hold the trails runners to just one bag apiece.
In the top of the second, sophomore Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) led off with a Russian meteorite into the right field gap that one-hopped the wall for a double. She moved to third on a Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) productive groundout before Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) was hit by a pitch, but two nice plays in the infield kept NU from extending its cushion in the frame.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the second with two strikeouts for NU starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic), the sophomore got things rolling in the top of the third with her own meteoric double to right center with one out. Amanda Mehrsheikh (Chesterfield, Mo./Parkway Central) entered the game to run for her, then was joined on base by Aubrie May (La Mesa, Calif./Grossmont) following a walk.
The scoring began when DiPrima ripped her second double of the game to the field opposite of her first to bring home Mehrsheikh, then the freshman LeBeau crushed a two-run triple to center for her first-career hit to extend the Wildcats' lead to 5-1 going into the bottom of the third.
Edwards tacked on another NU run with one out in the fifth, smashing her first home run of the season and the sixth of her career over the wall in left. Later in the frame, a two-out LeBeau single to left brought home May, who had singled and stolen second base in front of her classmate, to push the lead to 7-1.
While the 'Cats bats were crushin', Letourneau's pitches were shushin'. She worked around singles in the third, fourth and sixth while setting the side down in order in the second and fifth frames. She also recorded two strikeouts in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings to reach 10 entering the seventh.
In the top of the sixth, the Blue Raiders elected to pull starting pitcher Jordyn Fisherback (0-1) in favor of Caitlin McClure, who set Northwestern down quietly save for a leadoff walk issued to Majam.
NU added one more to its total in the top of the seventh. After Edwards trucked all the way around to third when the throw on her grounder got away for an error, sophomore Jessica Guffey (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) entered the game to run for her. Following May's second walk of the game, DiPrima ripped a single back through the middle to plate Guffey. Freshman Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) took over running duties from DiPrima at first, but the Wildcats' rally ended there.
Letourneau then closed the door on the game with the help of two more strikeouts, establishing a career-high with 12 in the game.
Letourneau (1-3) earned the complete-game win, allowing one run while scattering six hits and two walks with her 12 Ks. The performance marked Letourneau's third double-digit K performance of the year after she whiffed 11 against No. 13 Arizona and 10 versus No. 2 Oklahoma at last weekend's Kajikawa Classic.
At the plate, DiPrima led the Wildcats with a 3-for-4 day with two doubles and two RBIs. Edwards had a triple and a home run while LeBeau also had two hits, with each driving in three. May scored a pair of runs. NU's two triples in the game marked the first time the 'Cats have done that since an April 12, 2008, win over Illinois.
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