Feb. 22, 2013
Site: Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Wrigley Field)
Score: Northwestern 3, No. 4 Tennessee 2
Records: NU (5-6), No. 4 Tennessee (12-1)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Feb. 23 -- vs. BYU (Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic), 2 p.m. CT/noon PT
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- Northwestern plated a run in the bottom of the sixth Friday against No. 4 Tennessee at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic to break a 2-2 tie and ultimately hand the Lady Volunteers their first loss of 2013, 3-2.
With the win, Northwestern improves to 2-0 overall at the Nutter Classic and 5-1 in its last six games. NU is 5-6 overall on the season. Tennessee now is 12-1 on the year, 2-1 at the Nutter.
Tennessee led off the game with a base hit against Northwestern starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic), but the sophomore nimbly pitched around a lineup that entered the game batting .397 on the season to strand a pair of Lady Volunteers with an inning-ending strikeout.
Northwestern then jumped into the lead in to bottom half of the first. Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) got the offense going with a one-out infield single to short before junior Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) smashed a soaring two-run home run onto Waveland Ave. at the Big League Dreams Wrigley Field replica park hosting the contest.
The shot was Bast's third of the year and the 21st of her career to give her solo possession of ninth place all-time in NU history.
The inning continued with a booming Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) double off the top of the fence in center before a Letourneau liner to left was right at the fielder to send the game to the second frame.
After a 1-2-3 top of the second for Letourneau, Tennessee starter Erin Gabriel hit Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) with a pitch to begin the bottom half of the frame and was immediately lifted from the circle in favor of Cheyanne Tarango. Starting at first base in her first game of the 2013 season, sophomore Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) executed a perfect sacrifice bunt and then, with two outs, Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) nearly added to NU's total with a liner that went inches foul before the frame would end with NU still up 2-0.
Tennessee got on the board in the top of the fourth with a one-out solo home run that broke a stretch of eight-straight Lady Volunteers retired by Letourneau. Later in the inning a two-out triple tied the game, 2-2, before Letourneau's fourth strikeout of the game ended the frame.
After the Lady Vols responded to their scoring by retiring the Wildcats' side in order for the first time in the game, Letourneau did well to quell the Tennessee momentum by holding the Lady Vols scoreless in the top of the fifth despite a one-out single by the leadoff batter in the order.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, Scharkey beat out a very, very high one-hop infield single and motored around to third on the same play when the throw flew past first and into right field. Tennessee's relief pitcher, however, got a strikeout and a groundout to keep NU from re-gaining the lead.
Letourneau continued to battle the robust Tennessee lineup in the sixth, retiring the first two batters to the plate. Though the third would reach first, on the very next pitch catcher Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) hosed her trying to steal second to end the frame.
Sophomore Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) seized that momentum and poked a double into the right-center gap to lead off the bottom of the frame. DiPrima then roped a single into center that moved pinch runner Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) to third, and when the ball was booted by the center fielder, she came bounding home to put NU back on top, 3-2.
Tonz flexed into the lineup to run for DiPrima at first, then moved to second on a one-out four pitch walk issued to LeBeau. At that point, Tennessee put Ivy Renfroe, its third pitcher of the game, into the circle in relief. Tonz stole third with a nifty bit of base running, then LeBeau rushed to second on a groundout off the bat of pinch hitter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja), but Tennessee ended the movement there to keep the NU lead at 3-2 going into the seventh.
Tennessee got a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh before a first-pitch pop out to Edwards at short for the first out. Letourneau then notched her sixth strikeout of the game against a team that came in averaging just three per game...as a team...through 12 contests this year. A flyout to Majam in left that saw the entire Northwestern side of the park rise in unison to watch ended the contest.
Letourneau (3-3) picked up a well-won complete-game victory, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts.
Majam, Edwards and DiPrima all had 2-for-3 days at the plate for the Wildcats while Bast knocked in a pair of runs.
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