March 4, 2012
Site: Fullerton, Calif. (Fullerton Field 2)
Score: Northwestern 7, Southern Miss 2
Records: NU (7-11), Southern Miss (5-9)
Next NU Event: March 16-18, 2012 -- USF Invitational (Tampa, Fla.)
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Northwestern used a 10-batter, five-run third inning Sunday morning to defeat Southern Miss, 7-2, on getaway day at the DeMarini Invitational.
Northwestern moves to 7-11 on the season with its Sunday victory while Southern Miss now is 5-9 on the year with its loss.
Northwestern starter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) bookended the top of the first with strikeouts to keep Southern Miss off the board early, then senior Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) put the Wildcats on top in the bottom half with one swing of the bat. With two outs and nobody on, Monka took a mighty cut and launched the ball deep over the centerfield fence for her fourth home run of the season, the 45th of her career and a 1-0 Northwestern lead.
Just after first pitch, the wind began to pick up blowing into the field, and both Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) and Albanese had sure fire home runs knocked down and caught at the fence for outs in the first two frames. With two outs in the second, Northwestern began a rally. Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) first drew a walk, then moved to second on an Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) single. At that point, catcher Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) moved from the flex spot in the lineup to run for Letourneau at second before racing over to third on a Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) infield spinner single.
Southern Miss reacted to the situation by changing pitchers, and the new hurler was able to keep Northwestern's lead at 1-0 after two innings.
Albanese continued to deal from the circle, working around a two-out walk in the third by fanning the side to reach six Ks in the contest.
Northwestern got back into the scoring column in a big way in the bottom half of the third, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring five runs. Junior Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) began the frame with a nice single over the second baseman before quickly stealing second. Monka then was walked, giving way to pinch runner Lauren Ackerman (St. Louis, Mo./Home schooled). Bast followed with a single to shallow center that drove in Scharkey, and both Wildcats on base moved up when the throw toward home was mishandled for an error.
The scoring continued with an RBI groundout by Albanese bringing home Scharkey, then, after Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Calif./Antioch) was hit by a pitch, a double steal from Duehr and Bast extended the cushion to 4-0. Edwards joined the parade of Wildcats on base via a walk, stole second, and then both she and Duehr scampered to the plate when Majam singled to center through the pitcher's five-hole to make it a 6-0 game. Southern Miss then made its second pitching change of the contest and again got out of the frame.
The Golden Eagles broke through against Albanese for their first hit and run of the game in the top of the fourth. A two-out walk eventually came around after a base hit, an error on that play and then a wild pitch to make it a 6-1 game.
Southern Miss turned a leadoff walk in the fifth into a run with back-to-back one-out ground ball singles, prompting head coach Kate Drohan to enter Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) into the circle in relief. The junior got one groundout before a walk loaded the bases, then an interesting play ended the frame. The Golden Eagle at the plate ripped a liner to Bast's left at third. She dove, but it clipped her glove and trickled into the hole at short. Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) ran over to pick it and fired what should have been late to first, but the runner was preparing to round the bag, not realizing that Allard had gotten to the ball, resulting in a 5-6-3 inning-ending groundout.
Northwestern padded its lead with one more run in the bottom of the sixth. Allard shot her second single of the game into left with one out, then moved to second on a productive Scharkey groundout. After Monka was hit by a pitch, Bast hit a grounder toward the first baseman that hit something funky and leapt over her right shoulder to drive home Allard and make it 7-2 going to the seventh.
In the top of the seventh, Lamberth effectively closed the door on the game to preserve the 7-2 win.
Albanese (1-1) went 4.1 innings to earn the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and four walks with seven strikeouts. Lamberth picked up her first save of the year, tossing 2.2 innings and allowing no runs on just one walk with three strikeouts.
At the plate, Majam had a 2-for-3 day with two RBIs while Bast finished 2-for-4 with two knocked in. Allard also collected a pair of hits for the Wildcats.
Northwestern is off next week for winter quarter finals before beginning Spring Break 2012 in Tampa, Fla., at the USF Invitational.
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