Feb. 23, 2013
Box Score Photo Gallery
Site: Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Des Moines Field)
Score: Northwestern 4, BYU 1
Records: NU (6-6), BYU (5-9)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Feb. 23 -- vs. Loyola Marymount (Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic), 7:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. PT
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- In a tense contest from start to finish, Northwestern plated three unearned runs in the top of the seventh to break a 1-1 tie Saturday against BYU at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic en route to a 4-1 victory over the Cougars.
Northwestern now is 3-0 at the tournament and 6-1 in its last seven games with its victory. BYU falls to 5-9 on the season with its loss.
Tough luck struck BYU right away when starting pitcher Tori Almond issued back-to-back leadoff walks to Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) and Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire), then was removed in an injury substitution. Reliever Hannah Howell entered the circle and retired the next three Wildcats to the plate in order.
BYU took the game's first lead without the benefit of a hit in the second. The Cougars got a leadoff walk against NU starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) before a sacrifice bunt, a steal of a third and a wild pitch brought the runner home for a 1-0 edge.
Both teams got base runners in subsequent innings but it took until the top of the fourth for Northwestern to break through and tie the score, also with the help of a wild pitch. Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) began the frame with a single back through the middle and remained at first base until, with two outs, a wild pitch allowed her to scamper to second. Then Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) looped a two-strike liner into left to make it a 1-1 game.
BYU made a bid to re-take the lead in the bottom of the inning with a two-out base runner and then a shot into the left-center gap, but Scharkey taped a cheetah to her back and sprinted over to make the catch.
After that great grab, Northwestern put together another rally in the top of the fifth. Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, then with one out Majam shot a single into left. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) then came to the plate, but her hard-hit bouncer toward third was gloved on a backhand and turned into a 5-3 inning-ending double play.
BYU put a pair of runners on with two outs in the bottom half of the frame before Letourneau's seventh strikeout of the contest ended that threat. Letourneau then had a two-out base knock in the top of the sixth but BYU's third-baseman made a snow cone catch of a Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) pinch hit line drive to keep the score status quo.
The Cougars had a serious threat in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs in a tense frame. Letourneau bore down on the final batter and fanned her for her ninth strikeout on the day.
Northwestern finally leapt ahead in the tight battle in the top of the seventh. Tonz reached on a leadoff error by the BYU shortstop, then moved to second on a passed ball. Duehr sacrificed Tonz to third from where, with two outs, she scored on Majam's third hit of the ball game.
With NU now in the lead, Bast blasted a double just inside the third-base line to plate Majam, moving to third on the throw home. Bast then slid in safely on a wild pitch to make it a 4-1 contest.
BYU did not go quietly into the desert afternoon, beating out a trio of one-out base hits in the bottom of the seventh to load the bags. The next batter popped up to shallow center on the first pitch from Letourneau in what was a long run for Scharkey to make the grab before the final out on the infield to preserve the 4-1 score.
Letourneau (4-3) went the distance for the win in the circle, allowing one run on four hits and five walks with 10 strikeouts. The game marked her fifth double-digit strikeout outing of the season in seven total starts.
Majam went 3-for-3 with a walk at the plate to lead Northwestern while Letourneau had a pair of base hits.
Northwestern returns to action at 7:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. PT today, Saturday, Feb. 23, against Loyola Marymount at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
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