Feb. 24, 2012
Site: Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Fenway Park)
Score: No. 21 Oklahoma State 4, Northwestern 3
Records: NU (3-6), Oklahoma State (6-5)
Next NU Event: Feb. 24, 2012 -- vs. Syracuse (Cathedral City Classic), Immediately
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- In a see-saw affair between No. 21 Oklahoma State and Northwestern to open the 2012 Cathedral City Classic schedule for the Wildcats, the Cowgirls scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning for a 4-3 win over NU.
Northwestern falls to 3-6 on the season with its loss while Oklahoma State improves to 6-5 with its win.
The first three Oklahoma State batters to the plate against starter Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) all hit high bouncers to Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) at short, who handled all three perfectly on the short hop (though the first speedy Cowgirl reached on an infield single). A two-out single to center gave Oklahoma State an early 1-0 lead before a fourth ball to Allard ended the inning.
Allard gave the Cowgirls a dose of their own medicine with her own high-bouncing single to short to lead off the bottom of the first. She quickly stole second and moved to third on a passed ball before, with one out, senior Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) singled through the left side to knot the game, 1-1.
Controversy ruled in the bottom of the third. Allard led off with a skillful single to short before Monka smashed a home run to left. On the pitch, however, the umpire at first ruled that Allard left the bag early, resulting in a dead ball, an Allard out and no home run. Monka then got her second hit of the at-bat with a single into right before sophomore Marisa Bast
(Orange, Calif./Villa Park) drove her all the way around to score with a hot-shot triple to left that rattled around in the breakaway fencing long enough for 'Cats to show their quicks and take a 2-1 lead to the fourth.
Oklahoma State tied the game in the top of the fifth on a two-out triple. At that point, Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) entered the circle in relief of Lamberth, and though the Cowgirls eventually loaded the bases, Letourneau got out of the jam with a grounder to short.
Northwestern fought back in the best way it knows how: a leadoff Allard hit to start the fifth inning. After one out, Monka smashed a ball to third that the field flipped toward short with her diving glove. Though the Cowgirl shortstop picked it up in just enough time to get Monka at first, the speedy Allard made it all the way to third on the play. Bast then fisted a pop up just far enough toward center that it tipped off the glove of the leaping shortstop to restore NU's one-run lead, 3-2.
Oklahoma State see-sawed back into the lead in the top of the sixth in much the same fashion as Northwestern did in the fifth. With runners at second and third and two outs, the batter hit a pop-up off the end of the bat that died just behind the bag at second and out of the reach of an Allard dive to give the Cowgirls a 4-3 lead. The Oklahoma State inning continued in the form of a bases-loaded situation, but Letourneau got a strikeout to avoid further damage.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth for the Wildcats, the leadoff Cowgirl in the seventh singled, prompting head coach Kate Drohan to put Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) into the circle in relief of Letourneau. The runner eventually got to third with no outs, staying there on a groundout to third. The next batter hit a grounder to first, and the runner broke for the plate. Monka corralled the bounder and fired home where Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) applied the tag. That play allowed NU to keep its deficit at one, 4-3, going to the bottom of the seventh.
Oklahoma State elected to make a pitching change in the seventh, bringing Kat Espinosa in to replace the starter Simone Freeman. She immediately issued a four-pitch walk to Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire), who moved to second on an Allard groundout. One out later, Oklahoma State intentionally walked Monka, who gave way to pinch runner Lauren Ackerman (St. Louis, Mo./Home schooled). Bast then lofted a fly ball into right field, but the second baseman was able to track it down on the run with a Willie Mays-style basket catch to end the game.
Allard led NU at the plate with a 3-for-4 game, scoring twice. Monka and Bast each had two hits, with Bast knocking in a pair.
Lamberth threw a very effective 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks with one filthy strikeout that ended the second inning. Letourneau (3-4) took the loss in 1.1 frames of work, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks with a strikeout. Albanese threw one complete scoreless inning.
Northwestern returns to action immediately against Syracuse at the Cathedral City Classic.
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