Feb. 26, 2012
Site: Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Wrigley Field)
Score: Northwestern 7, No. 11 Missouri 1
Records: NU (5-8), No. 11 Missouri (5-3)
Next NU Event: March 2-4, 2012 -- at DeMarini Invitational (Fullerton, Calif.)
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- Northwestern felt right at home in the friendly confines of Cathedral City's Big League Dreams Wrigley Field Sunday morning, pouncing early on No. 11 Missouri before riding a fantastic effort from junior Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) in the circle to a 7-1 getaway day victory.
Northwestern improves to 5-8 overall on the season with its win while the 11th-ranked Tigers fall to 5-3 with the loss. The game was Northwestern's eighth in its first 13 of the year against a team ranked in one of the top 25 polls at the time of the contest. NU also has defeated both current Big XII schools exiting that league for the SEC next season.
Lamberth allowed only a single run on a seventh-inning double play grounder, scattering six hits and four walks while fanning a quartet to move to 2-2 on the season.
Northwestern wasted little time pouncing into the lead Sunday morning. Junior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off the game with a single back through the middle. One out later, Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) reached on an error and gave way to pinch runner Lauren Ackerman (St. Louis, Mo./Home schooled). Sophomore Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) then put Northwestern up 3-0 with a tall home run in the early morning sun, her fourth blast of the year and the ninth of her career.
After a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the first inning from Lamberth, freshman Anna Edwards
(La Canada, Calif./La Canada) joined the home run business with a solo shot to lead off the top of the second and extend the NU advantage to 4-0. Edwards now has two home runs this year, one against No. 1 Arizona State and the other versus the 11th-ranked Tigers.
The inning continued with two-out singles from Allard and Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) before a walk to Monka loaded the bags. Bast then plowed a tough bounder toward third that the fielder knocked down but was unable to do anything with, resulting in an RBI single and a 5-0 score before the inning ended.
The first two Tigers to the plate in the bottom of the second reached via a single and a Northwestern error, but Lamberth induced a pop up to Allard, fanned the next batter and then got some help from Edwards, who sprinted over behind the bag at first to make a running basket catch near her shoes to end the inning.
Northwestern continued to add to its lead in the third. Edwards reached on a one-out error to begin the rally, moving to second when Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) drew a walk. Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) hit a fielder's choice comebacker that erased Tonz at second but moved Edwards to third, from whence she came home on Allard's third hit of the game. The throw to first on Allard's ball bounced away, allowing Majam to move to third on the play. The two Wildcat speedsters then executed a picture-perfect double steal to tick NU's edge up another notch to 7-0.
Missouri again put two runners on in the third before, with two outs, the Tiger at the plate singled to right. Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) picked the ball on a short hop and fired quickly home to Tonz, catching the Tiger base runners off guard with her rocket throw. Tonz then started a rundown with Allard on the trail runner between second and third, eventually leading to Allard chucking it back to Tonz at the plate for the third out of the inning on the lead runner.
After Northwestern failed to score in an inning for the first time in the fourth, Majam ended the Tigers' half of the fourth with the Wildcats' defensive play of the year to this point. With two runners on, Majam raced into foul territory after a ball tailing away from her, laying out to make the catch while simultaneously crashing glove and face first into the fence.
The Tigers continued to threaten and Lamberth continued to give them the Heisman from the circle. In the bottom of the fifth, Missouri eventually got into a bases-loaded, two-out situation. Lamberth jammed the next batter into a dying liner toward third, which Bast reached low for and gloved to end the frame.
Though Northwestern scored no more after the third, Lamberth and her defense made those runs hold up. Missouri did not find the scoreboard until the seventh inning when, after the top of the Tiger order loaded the bases on a walk and two singles, the Tigers eked out one run on a 4-6-3 double play grounder.
Allard finished 3-for-3 with two runs, a steal, an RBI and a sacrifice. Bast was 2-for-4 with a career-high-tying four RBIs while Edwards crossed home twice.
Northwestern returns to action March 2-4 at the DeMarini Invitational hosted by Cal State Fullerton.
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