Feb. 21, 2014
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- Senior Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) was stellar in the circle and Northwestern broke a tie late with a three-run home run to top No. 3 Washington, 4-2, in the Wildcats opening game of the 2014 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
With the win, Northwestern improves to 8-2 on the season while Washington falls to 12-2.
Albanese (2-0) went the distance for her longest start since her freshman year, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and six walks with five strikeouts.
Washington got a one-out single in the top of the first before Northwestern induced a nifty 6-4-3 double play started by Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) at short, turned by Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) at the second-base bag and completed with a nice stretching grab at first by Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South).
NU then got on the board right away in the bottom of the first. Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off with an infield single before Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) reached on an error. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The Wildcats did not break the inning open, but they did take a 1-0 lead to the second when Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) was issued a four-pitch walk to force home Allard.
Washington tied the score on an unearned run in the top of the third. After a one-out walk, the runner stole second and reached third on an error on the play before coming home via a two-out wild pitch.
Northwestern attempted to get that run back right away in the bottom of the third when Bast lined a double to the fence in left center before DiPrima worked a 10-pitch walk but Huskies starter Bryana Walker was able to work through two lengthy at-bats featuring many foul balls to retire the Wildcats side with the game still tied.
The Huskies got a one-out base runner in the top of the fourth but again the Wildcats were up the challenge with their second 6-4-3 double play of the contest to end the frame. In the bottom half, Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) was hit by a two-out pitch to start a rally that included Allard's second single of the game, eventually getting runners to second and third before a nice defensive play on the infield ended the inning with the game still tied.
After getting the better of the offensive chances throughout most of the first half of the game, Northwestern finally broke through again in the fifth. DiPrima reached via an infield single, giving way to pinch runner Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch), before Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) singled hard to third. She, too, gave way to a pinch runner in the form of Krista Williams (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley). All the pinch runners pinch trotted home, however, when Edwards uncorked a three-run homer down the line in left to put NU on top, 4-1.
Washington put together a serious two-out rally in the top of the sixth, scratching across one run and sitting with the bases loaded later in the frame. Albanese got a bouncer back to her that tipped off her glove toward short, where Edwards changed directions to pursue it and was flattened by the runner going from second to third. The runner was called out for interfering on the play to preserve NU's two-run lead.
Then, in the top of the seventh, Albanese stranded two more runners to preserve the victory.
Both Bast and Allard had two base hits for Northwestern in the game to lead the Wildcats at the plate while Edwards had three RBIs.
Northwestern returns to action immediately at the Cathedral City Classic against No. 18 Oklahoma.
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