Feb. 16, 2013
Site: Athens, Ga. (Jack Turner Stadium)
Score: Northwestern 5, Middle Tennessee State 1
Records: NU (3-6), Middle Tennessee State (0-4)
Next NU Event: Feb. 17, 2013 -- A final game at the Georgia Softball Classic, opponent and time TBD
ATHENS, Ga. -- Northwestern finished off a 2-0 day at the Georgia Softball Classic with a 5-1 win over Middle Tennessee State in the event's nightcap Saturday at Jack Turner Stadium.
NU improves to 3-1 at the Georgia Softball Classic with its win, 3-6 overall on the season. MTSU now is 0-4 on the weekend and on the season. Northwestern originally was scheduled to square off again No. 13 Georgia in this time slot before weather caused opponent shuffling. NU's Sunday foe at the Georgia Softball Classic is yet to be determined as of this writing.
Middle Tennessee State put together the game's first significant threat in the top of the second against Northwestern starter Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette), loading the bases with two outs. When the next batter went to a full count, Lamberth calmly came in and induced a comebacker which she gloved and brought the short way to home to keep the Blue Raiders off the board.
Lamberth then put the Wildcats on top all by herself in the bottom of the frame. With one out and nobody on base, Lamberth crushed a pitch into the teeth of a sustained 23 mph wind blowing in from left, giving it just enough juice to clear the wall for a 1-0 NU lead. The shot was Lamberth's second of the season and the fifth of her career.
The inning continued when Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) drew a walk followed by back-to-back-to-back singles from Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch), Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) and Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) that combined to plate a pair of runs and give NU a 3-0 lead going into the third inning.
Lamberth then re-entered the circle and, in something that has largely escaped the Wildcats in Georgia, chucked a shutdown inning. Lamberth set the MTSU side down in order, fanning the last two in dominant fashion.
Both DiPrima and Lamberth notched their second base hits of the game in the third inning, but nothing score-wise came of them. Then, after another 1-2-3 Lamberth inning in the circle, Northwestern added to its total.
The bottom of the fourth began when Duehr lifted a fly ball to right that rode the breeze blowing out that way and nearly left the park. Still, Duehr found herself on third with a leadoff triple. Majam then ripped a single back through the middle to bring Duehr in and make the score 4-0.
While Lamberth continued to hold up her end of the bargain, Northwestern added one more tally in the fifth. With two outs, Tonz missed her first-career home run by a foot when a blast to right bounced off the very top of the wall. Tonz ended up with a triple, then came home when Duehr singled off the third baseman's glove to extend the Wildcats' cushion to five, 5-0.
Middle Tennessee State got its first "real" base hit of the game with a leadoff triple in the sixth to break Lamberth's strong of consecutive Blue Raiders set down at 10. (The first hit of the game came was back in the second when a batted ball hit a runner, which by rule is a hit). Lamberth retired the next two batters before a grounder up the middle broke the shutout, 5-1.
MTSU replaced its starting pitcher to begin the sixth and Bast promptly shot a single through the left side of the infield. After a long Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) fly out to the track in left center, DiPrima was hit by a pitch and Aubrie May (La Mesa, Calif./Grossmont) walked to load the bases but the NU lead stayed where it was entering the seventh.
Lamberth then set the side down in order for the fourth time in the game to end the contest. Lamberth (1-2) went the distance in a great effort, allowing just one run on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
Duehr finished the game 3-for-3 with a triple, two runs and RBI to lead NU at the plate. Majam had two hits and two RBIs, and Bast, DiPrima and Lamberth all had two hits as well. Tonz scored a pair of runs.
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