March 1, 2014
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Northwestern scored early and often and then withstood a healthy rain delay on an already water-soaked field at Long Beach State to run-rule UC Santa Barbara, 10-1 (5).
Northwestern moves to 11-4 on the year with its win while UCSB falls to 11-5 this season with the loss. NU's Saturday night game against No. 5 UCLA has been canceled. The Wildcats' Sunday schedule has been adjusted to cancel the previously slated Long Beach State game; instead Northwestern will play Louisville at 3:15 p.m. CT/1:15 p.m. PT.
Northwestern has reached double digits eight times through 15 games in 2014 and has gotten to double-digits against every un-ranked team it has played save for one.
Northwestern got on the board right away in the top of the first with a two-out rally, beginning when Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) was hit by a pitch for the sixth game in a row. Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) then drove her team-leading fifth double of the year into the left-centerfield gap to bring Bast all the way in for a 1-0 Wildcats' lead.
UCSB got a leadoff single in the bottom of the first off NU starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) with that Gaucho eventually making her way to third base with one out. Wood calmly fanned the next two batters to end the inning.
Northwestern mounted another two-out rally in the second to tack on two more runs. Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial), who batted a team-best .545 last weekend in Cathedral City, continued her hot ways at the plate with a single back through the middle before moving to third on an error forced by a great Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) infield ball. Tonz then scored on a wild pitch before an Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) infield single brought LeBeau home for a 3-0 NU edge.
In the top of the third, NU strung together its 10th inning of the season with five or more runs by hanging a six-spot on UCSB. With wind blowing in heavily from left field (propelling the weather that has wreaked havoc on the weekend), Bast took the ball oppo over the fence to start the third, putting NU on top 4-0 with her third home run of the year and the 33rd of her career.
DiPrima and Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) followed with singles and UCSB lifted its starting pitcher Shelby Wisdom in favor of Andriana Collins. NU was not yet done, getting a one-out Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) single, a Tonz walk, a LeBeau single, an Allard RBI groundout and a Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) single to make it a 9-0 game after 2.5 innings.
UCSB scratched across a run in the bottom of the fourth, then, with LeBeau at second base following a leadoff error in the top of the fifth, lightning and a quick rainburst put the game into a 42-minute rain delay. When the contest resumed, LeBeau moved to third on an Allard groundout and then scored on a Majam groundout to restore NU's nine-run lead, 10-1.
Wood came back out in the bottom of the fifth and shut down the Gauchos to finish off the complete-game win, moving to 6-2 on the year by allowing one run on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work.
Both slappers atop the lineup -- Allard and Majam -- had two RBIs apiece while Bast went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. The bottom three in NU's lineup combined for six runs including three from LeBeau and two from Tonz. DiPrima was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate for the Wildcats.
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