March 22, 2009
Box Score |
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 14 Northwestern and No. 8 Michigan were locked in a pitcher's duel Sunday at Sharon J. Drysdale Field before the Wildcats drove the first two pitches of the fourth inning out of the ballpark for a 2-1 win over the Wolverines and a sweep of the season series between the two clubs.
Coupled with Northwestern's 6-5 victory Saturday, NU swept U-M for the first time since 2000. The two teams had split five of their last eight Big Ten series. The Wildcats now are 15-7 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are 20-9 on the season, 0-2 in the conference.
Sunday's game concludes a six-game stretch where Northwestern played every contest against a top-8 ranked opponent. The Wildcats went 5-1 during the stint with a win over No. 6 Oklahoma, two wins over then-No. 8 Tennessee and two victories against No. 8 Michigan.
Michigan put runners on second and third with one out to kick off the game, but Northwestern starter Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) doused the fire by striking out the next batter on three-straight pitches before ending the frame on a fly out to left.
Both Delaney and Michigan starter Nikki Nemitz engaged in a pitcher's duel through the first three innings, with Delaney fanning seven through four innings and Nemitz whiffing six through three.
Northwestern put an end to the scoreless-ness immediately in the bottom of the fourth. Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) annihilated the first pitch of the frame from Nemitz over the fence in right for a 1-0 lead, then Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) drove the second over the wall in center to give the 'Cats back-to-back jacks.
Williams' blast was her fifth of the season and the 47th of her career, while Monka's was the team-leading ninth for the freshman on the year. Nemitz entered the game having surrendered just four home runs in 99.1 innings pitched before giving up the two on two pitches in Sunday's fourth.
Meanwhile, Delaney continued to blow away Michigan from the circle. She retired the side in order in both the fifth and the sixth to account for 10-straight Wolverines set down since back-to-back singles in the third. She also reached 10 strikeouts for the game.
Delaney immediately fanned the first two batters out of the box in the top of the seventh, but Michigan launched a solo shot with two outs to cut the NU lead to one, 2-1. Delaney then whiffed the next batter to end the game with 13 strikeouts.
Delaney (14-6) allowed one run on four hits and one walk with the 13 Ks. She pitched every inning of NU's recent 5-1 stretch against top-8 foes.
Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) was 2-for-2 Sunday with a double, while Williams was 2-for-3 at the plate for the Wildcats.
Northwestern now embarks on its 2009 spring break trip to Washington D.C. NU will take on Maryland in a single game Wednesday, March 25, before playing Georgetown in a Thursday, March 26, doubleheader.