Feb. 16, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Northwestern continued its early season onslaught at the plate Sunday on getaway day at the Tiger Invitational, plating six runs in the first inning of a nonconference game against Penn State in an eventual 11-1 (5) win.
Northwestern concludes the Tiger Invitational with a 4-1 record that included a victory over No. 18 South Alabama. The Wildcats now are 7-2 overall to start 2014. Penn State falls to 4-3 on the season with its loss. NU and PSU do not face each other in the Big Ten regular season this year.
Northwestern's trend of putting up huge numbers in the first innings of games continued in this one when it sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six times. Through the first nine games of 2014, NU is outscoring its opponents 27-3 in the first inning.
Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) and Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) led this first inning off with infield singles before Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) loaded the bases with a walk. Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) then doubled to the wall in center to make it quickly a 2-0 game.
The inning continued when Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) walked followed by an Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) double off the very top of the wall in left that drove in one. Later, after the first out was recorded, junior Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) ripped a single into center off the pitcher's glove that brought home two more to make it a 6-0 NU edge going to the bottom of the inning.
NU sent sophomore Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) to the circle to start the game, and Penn State was able to scratch back for one run in that frame before the Wildcats' offense got right back to work in the second. Bast ripped a leadoff single into left before a DiPrima walk. Later in the inning, Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) singled off the second-base bag to drive in one before Kuhn crushed the first home run of her career to push the games into run-rule territory, 10-1.
Kuhn entered this game with only one previous career hit, that a single in her freshman season, and no career RBIs prior to racking up four driven in the first two innings of this game on her second-career single and her first homer.
Wood took care of the lead with a shutdown 1-2-3 bottom of the second, then NU rallied again. Majam was issued a leadoff walk in the third before Bast snapped her second single of the game through the infield. After an error on an Edwards grounder, Filler grounded out to third softly enough that Majam was able to score to make it an 11-1 game.
Penn State tried to fight back again in the fourth with a leadoff double but Wood silenced the bats with a foul out and two strikeouts. In the top of the fifth, pinch hitter Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) picked up the first hit of her career in a pinch-hit assignment, but the score remained the same to the end of the contest.
Kuhn led the day for NU at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, driving in four. DiPrima had two runs and two RBIs for the Wildcats, Bast collected two hits, Filler drove in two and both Majam and Edwards scored a pair of runs.
Wood (4-2) collected the victory, going the distance in the run-shortened game in which she allowed just one run on two hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
Northwestern returns to action next week at college softball's biggest party, the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.
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