March 8, 2014
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Northwestern freshman Nicole Bond (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) fired a two-hit complete game shutout in just her second-career start Saturday to give Northwestern a 5-0 win over Western Michigan that was much tighter than the score would indicate.
Northwestern improves to 15-4 overall on the season with its win, 4-0 at the Under Armour Showcase. Western Michigan now is 7-15 on the year with its loss, 0-4 at the tournament.
Bond used just 77 pitches and scattered a fourth-inning bunt single and seventh-inning leadoff single around three walks to complete her gem. She fanned six to move to 1-0 on her career. She kept a scoreless game that way until NU scratched out a run in the third inning, then kept the Wildcats on top by that slimmest of margins until Northwestern burst forth for four runs of insurance in the sixth.
Northwestern put the game's first rally together in the bottom of the second when Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) drew a walk, Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) singled and Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) worked a walk to load the bases with two down. Western Michigan was able to make a force on the infield to keep the game scoreless through two complete innings of play.
NU put the game's first run on the board in the bottom of the third. Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) and Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) led off with singles before Allard was erased on a fielder's choice grounder. With Majam now at second, Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) sent a single back through the middle to bring Majam around for a 1-0 Wildcats' cushion.
Western Michigan led off the top of the fourth with a bunt single against Bond to account for the first base hit given up by NU pitching ALL DAY. Earlier, Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) no-hit LIU Brooklyn in a 10-0 (5) Wildcats' win. That Bronco eventually made her way to third with two outs, then the ensuing batter hit a comebacker that glanced off Bond's glove toward third base. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) pounced on the ball like a Wildcat after fresh meat and threw emphatically to Kuhn at first to get the runner by a step and preserve NU's lead.
While Western Michigan continued to scatter Northwestern's base knocks in the contest to keep the score tight, Bond kept up her end of the bargain through sheer dominance. She worked through another single-digit pitch top of the fifth while adding two more Ks to her total to keep the Broncos off the board.
Northwestern added insurance in the bottom of the sixth. LeBeau led off with her second single of the game, then alertly moved all the way around to third on a Kuhn sacrifice bunt when nobody covered that base. Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) followed by rifling a single into right to make it a 2-0 game.
Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) entered the game to run for Tonz and moved to second on Allard's third base knock of the contest. Majam drove her in with a single through the middle before Bast roped a single to drive in the pair for a 5-0 Northwestern edge headed to the seventh, where Bond shut things down with the help of a 5-4-3 double play.
Allard had three hits at the plate to lead NU while Majam, Edwards and LeBeau both had two hits apiece. Majam scored twice and Bast drove in two.
Northwestern returns to action tomorrow morning in a sunrise special against Boston College at 8:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. CT.
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