Feb. 17, 2012
Site: Lafayette, La. (Lamson Park)
Score: No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette 6, Northwestern 4
Records: NU (2-4), Louisiana-Lafayette (5-0)
Next NU Event: Feb. 17, 2012 -- vs. Louisiana Tech (Mardi Gras Invitational), 5 p.m. CT
LAFAYETTE, La. -- Trailing 6-1 in the fourth inning, Northwestern rallied Friday afternoon in its opening game of the 8th Annual Mardi Gras Invitational at Louisiana-Lafayette, but its push eventually fell short in a 6-4 loss to the 20th-ranked Ragin' Cajuns.
Louisiana-Lafayette improves to 5-0 on the season with its win while Northwestern now is 2-4 following its loss. The game was the first of the season for the Ragin' Cajuns that went the full seven innings after they run-ruled their foes in the previous four games with a combined 66 runs.
Home and away teams are determined by coin flip 30 minutes prior to first pitch of Mardi Gras Invitational games, leading to Northwestern being the home team in this game despite Louisiana-Lafayette hosting the tournament at its own park.
After freshman Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) opened the contest with a strong top of the first inning, junior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) kicked off the bottom half with a leadoff single. Though she was erased on a fielder's choice ball off the bat of Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada), the inning continued one out later when an illegal pitch moved Edwards to second and a Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) hot-shot single to short pushed Edwards to third. Bast would steal second, but Northwestern finished the inning there with no runs.
Following a 1-2-3 top of the second, Northwestern put itself right back on the bases in its half. With one out, Sammy Albanese
(Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) worked herself a full-count walk before moving to second when Mari Majam
(Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) shot a single into left. One out later, Allard beat a lunging swipe tag attempt at first to load the bases on her second hit of the game, then Albanese opened the scoring by alertly scampering home on a wild pitch that just trickled beyond the catcher's grasp to give NU a 1-0 edge to the third.
Louisiana-Lafayette struck back in the top of the third, getting a three-run home run followed immediately by a two-run home run for a 5-1 Cajun lead. After a one-out single, junior Meghan Lamberth (St. Louis, Mo./Lafayette) entered the circle in relief of Latourneau, retiring the next two batters to the plate to stem the tide. The Cajuns added to their lead in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs, but Lamberth limited the damage to a sacrifice fly to send the contest 6-1 to the bottom of the fourth.
Northwestern got one run back in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out rally. Junior Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) lofted a nice single to left before motoring all the way around to score when Allard's third hit of the game fell just beyond the reach of the centerfielder for a double, sending the game to the fifth with NU trailing by four, 6-2.
The Cajuns got a two-out base hit in the fifth and started a two-on, no out rally in the sixth, but each time Lamberth was able to hold ULL scoreless.
In the bottom of the sixth, freshman Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) popped a full-count single into left before moving to second when Majam was hit by the first pitch she saw. Scharkey then worked a full count walk to load the bases with one out. Allard bounced a hard-hit grounder to short that erased Majam, but it plated Duehr. Now with two outs, Edwards slotted a single back through the middle to cut the Northwestern deficit down to 6-4. Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) stepped to the plate with runners at the corners, and ran into inning-ending tough luck when her smash one-hopper down the first-base line found the waving glove of a reactionary fielder.
Neither team was able to push across any runs in the seventh, leaving the final score at 6-4.
Latourneau (2-2) took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits and two walks in 2.1 innings of work. Lamberth was very effective in relief, giving up a single run on three hits and three walks in 4.2 innings. Allard led NU at the plate with a 3-for-4, two RBI day while Scharkey scored two runs.
Northwestern returns to action immediately at 5 p.m. CT this afternoon against Louisiana Tech at the 8th Annual Mardi Gras Invitational.
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! and subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter to receive 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!