March 1, 2013
Site: Fullerton, Calif. (Anderson Family Field)
Score: No. 8 California 2, Northwestern 0
Records: NU (8-7), California (12-2)
Next NU Event: Friday, March 1 -- vs. No. 24 Oregon State (Easton Invitational), 5:45 p.m. CT/3:45 p.m. PT
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Northwestern sophomore Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) held No. 8 California to just two hits in a classic pitcher's duel Friday to kick off the Easton Invitational, but a late-game error plated two unearned runs in the sixth to give the Bears a 2-0 win over the Wildcats.
The loss snaps NU's current seven-game winning streak and moves the Wildcats to 8-7 overall on the season with five of those losses to teams currently ranked in the NFCA coaches poll. California improves to 12-2 on the year with its victory.
Northwestern worked around a one-out California base runner in the bottom of the second in nice fashion when shortstop Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) moved to her right to grab a little looping liner before turning on a dime and rifling to first to double up the runner.
The Wildcats then put together a threat in the top of the third when Brianna LeBeau
(Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) led off the inning with a single and, eventually, Mari Majam
(Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) reached on a two-out error. Marisa Bast
(Orange, Calif./Villa Park) then put a sharp grounder in play, but it two-hopped directly into the glove of the stationary second baseman to end the frame.
California got its leadoff batter aboard in the bottom of the third before another nice double play. Letourneau fanned the batter at the plate looking but the runner assumed a walk had occurred, and NU easily threw her out at second for a strike `em out, throw `em out double play to help keep the game scoreless going into the fourth.
After Letourneau and Cal starter Jolene Henderson took turns retiring the next 11 batters to the plate for either team, the Bears got their leadoff on base in the bottom of the fifth. With that runner at second and two outs, the next batter chopped a ball high over Letourneau's head and up the middle before out of nowhere, LeBeau appeared from her second base position to glove it, keeping it on the infield. While that alone would have been a success on the play, LeBeau then turned and fired just in time to first to completely end the inning.
The pitcher's duel turned on a Northwestern error in the bottom of the sixth. With the leadoff Bear on base, the next batter put down a sacrifice bunt. The throw to first on the play was wild and rolled all the way to the corner of the fence in right, bouncing around and allowing both the runner and the batter to score unearned runs for a 2-0 California lead. Later in the frame the Bears would load the bases but Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) grabbed a liner toward first to keep the deficit at two runs going into the seventh.
Unlike at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic last week where Northwestern scored 14 runs in the seventh inning or later and went 5-0 on the strength of three seventh-inning comebacks and two tie-breaking scores in the sixth inning or later, no Wildcats' rally would come in this contest.
Letourneau (5-4) took the loss, throwing 6.0 innings and allowing two unearned runs on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Northwestern returns to action at 5:45 p.m. CT/3:45 p.m. PT against No. 24 Oregon State at the Easton Invitational.
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