Feb. 21, 2014
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- Northwestern opened a big lead in the middle innings Friday of a game against No. 18 Oklahoma at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic only to see the Sooners come storming back at the end to claim an 11-9 win.
Northwestern falls to 8-3 on the season with its loss while Oklahoma improves to 9-4 with its win. All three of NU's losses this year have come to ranked squads.
Oklahoma scratched across the game's first runs on a pair of bases-loaded walks in the top of the second against Northwestern starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union). Right fielder Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) prevented more damage when she reached up to make a running catch in the gap to end that frame.
The Wildcats put together rallies in both the first and second innings, getting runners to second and third with two outs in the first and runners at the corners with two outs in the second before Sooners' starter Georgia Casey twice escaped.
Oklahoma added another run in the top of the third on a two-out single, then Northwestern's vaunted offense finally broke through in the fourth with one of its patented monster innings, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven times. It all began with Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) and Duehr back-to-back leadoff walks followed by three-straight singles from Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards), pinch hitter Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) and Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley), the last two of which were of the RBI variety.
The inning continued with no outs when Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) drew a game-tying, bases-loaded walk, then Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) delivered what became the big blow. She lined a single to left that got through the field, who then picked it up and made a throwing error, allowing three runs to come in. A later Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) run-scoring single completed the rally.
After Wood achieved a shutdown inning in the circle in the fifth to backup her offense, the Wildcats added two more runs in the bottom half of the frame when a Bast double brought home Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) and Allard to make NU's advantage 9-3.
Oklahoma would not go quietly into the desert night, creating a huge rally of its own by sending 12 to the plate in the top of the sixth and scoring six time to tie the game, 9-9. Midway through that rally, Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) entered to stem the tide before the Sooners could pounce into the lead.
Oklahoma did jump into the lead with two runs in the top of the seventh. In the bottom half, Tonz led off with her third hit of the game, but was doubled off when Allard was robbed of a base hit by a diving shortstop.
Tonz finished 3-for-3 at the plate to lead NU. Bast had two hits and three RBIs while Allard had two hits and two runs.
Albanese (2-1) was tagged with the loss in relief, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk with a strikeout. Wood went 5.1 innings in the start, allowing nine runs on five hits with 10 walks and six strikeouts.
Northwestern returns to action tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23, against San Diego State and LIU Brooklyn at the Mary Nutter College Classic.
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