March 20, 2012
Site: Clearwater, Fla. (Eddie C. Moore Field Seven)
Score: Northwestern 8, Hartford 0 (5)
Records: NU (11-14), Hartford (4-10)
Next NU Event: March 23, 2012 -- at Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), 5 p.m. CT
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Freshman Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) tossed her first-career shutout and Northwestern scored three runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to run-rule Hartford, 8-0 (5), Tuesday during Spring Break 2012.
Northwestern improves to 11-14 overall on the year with its win while Hartford now is 4-10 on the season with its loss.
Letourneau improved to 5-6 this season with a two-hit effort, fanning four while walking four and allowing no runs.
Letourneau worked around a pair of two-out Hartford base runners in the top of the first to send the game scoreless to the Wildcats' first at-bats, and NU wasted little time finding the scoreboard. Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off with an infield single, then quickly stole second. Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) brought her home by bouncing a single over the head of the third-baseman and just inside the bag for a 1-0 NU lead after one inning of play.
After scoreless half innings from both teams, Northwestern added to its lead in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally. Marisa Bast
(Orange, Calif./Villa Park) started things with a hard grounder through the hole and into left. She moved all the way around to third when Olivia Duehr
(Antioch, Ill./Antioch) singled inside the right-field line. That duo then pulled off a picture perfect double steal to extend the Wildcats' cushion to 2-0.
Letourneau faced the minimum in the top of the fourth thanks to a little help from her friends. The leadoff batter singled to left, but got greedy trying to stretch it into a double. Majam picked up the ball and threw to Allard, who relayed to Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) at second for the out. The inning ended when Bast used every inch of the vertical she gained during Phase Two this year to leap and snare a liner tracking way over her head toward left field.
Northwestern kept pushing in the bottom of the fourth. Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) reached base with a one-out single before swiping second. Allard sacrificed her to third, then the Hartford second baseman booted a grounder allowing Scharkey to score and Majam to motor to second. Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) slammed a single into center to plate Majam, moved to second on a wild pitch, then came around to score herself when Bast slotted a ground rule double just inside the left-field line to make it a 5-0 game.
After Letourneau tossed another scoreless top half in the fifth, she led off the bottom of the frame with a booming ground rule double that bounced once over the fence in center. She gave way to pinch runner Amanda Mehrsheikh (Chesterfield, Mo./Parkway Central), who deftly glided to third on a wild pitch. Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) then smacked a single to left that brought in Mehrshiekh for a 6-0 lead. After pinch hitter Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) was hit by a pitch (and Edwards re-entered to run for her), pinch hitter Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) drove home Albanese with a single. With runners now at second and third, an Allard ground ball pushed home Edwards to end the game.
Bast had a 2-for-2 day at the plate for Northwestern while Albanese also collected two hits for NU. Eight different Wildcats scored in the game.
Northwestern next opens Big Ten play at the conference's newest member, Nebraska. The Wildcats and the Cornhuskers open a three-game set at 5 p.m. CT Friday, March 23, before playing a doubleheader at 1 p.m. CT Saturday, March 24.
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