Feb. 22, 2014
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- In a well-played contest between two strong squads Saturday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, Northwestern used a three-run fourth inning to distance itself from San Diego State for a 4-2 victory.
Northwestern improves to 9-3 on the season with its victory while San Diego State falls to 9-5 with its loss. This is just the second loss for the Aztecs this season that did not come against a ranked squad.
After two super efficient innings from both starting pitchers -- including NU starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) needing just 20 pitches to get through two frames -- Northwestern threw up the first rally and run in the top of the third. Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) began the inning with a beautiful strategic single, then moved to second when Julia Kuhn's (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) sacrifice bunt was mishandled for an error. The Aztecs got the lead out on a sacrifice from the next NU batter, then Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) loaded the bases with a bounding single over the head of the third baseman.
One out later, Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) picked up her team-best 17th RBI of the year when she was hit by a pitch to put Northwestern up 1-0.
San Diego State came back with a bases-loaded, two-out situation of its own in the third against Wood. The batter battled through an extended at-bat with full-count foul balls before earning a walk to tie the game, 1-1.
NU bit back in the fourth. Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) shot a single to center to start before LeBeau's second-straight surgical single pushed Edwards to second. Kuhn followed with a solid grounder through the left-side hole for a single that scored Edwards to put NU back on top, then Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) doubled down the right-field line to bring home LeBeau and pinch runner Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) and make it a 4-1 game.
Wood re-entered the circle after the offensive rally and had a quick, shutdown frame with two strikeouts to run her game total to six through four innings.
With the score the same in the bottom of the sixth, the Aztecs got a leadoff homerun from reigning Mountain West Player of the Year Patrice Jackson to cut the NU edge to 4-2. Wood then worked around a two-out double in the seventh to close out the victory.
Wood (5-2) picked up the complete-game win, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
At the plate, LeBeau led NU with a 3-for-3 day while Tonz drove in a pair.
Northwestern returns to action at 7:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. PT against LIU Brooklyn at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
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