March 22, 2013
Site: Lincoln, Neb. (Bowlin Stadium)
Score: No. 25 Nebraska 5, Northwestern 4 (8)
Records: NU (14-11, 0-1 Big Ten), Nebraska (21-6, 1-0 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: March 22, 2013 -- at No. 25 Nebraska (Bowlin Stadium), Immediately
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Northwestern staked itself to an early lead with a four-run second inning Friday in the first game of a Big Ten doubleheader at No. 25 Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers rallied for an eight-inning, 5-4 victory over the Wildcats.
Northwestern now is 14-11 overall on the season after the loss, 0-1 in the Big Ten. Nebraska improves to 21-6 on the year with its victory, 1-0 in the conference.
After Northwestern starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) stranded a pair of Cornhuskers in the bottom of the first with an easy ground ball to Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) at short, the Wildcats sent eight batters to the plate in the top of the second to take the game's first lead. The frame began on an Edwards four-pitch walk, a Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) one-out hit by pitch and an Aubrie May (La Mesa, Calif./Grossmont) bases-loading single.
Later, with two outs, senior Kristin Scharkey
(Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) poked a well-placed single through the right side to bring home Edwards and LeBeau, then Mari Majam
(Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) drove in two more with a triple into the left field corner to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead.
NU's runs in the second snapped Nebraska starter Tatum Edwards' personal scoreless inning streak at 33.2 innings dating to a loss against No. 1 Oklahoma.
After the final out of the bottom of the first, Letourneau retired seven batters in a row including striking out the side in the third. Nebraska broke through, though, with two hit by pitches and its first base hit of the game to load the bags with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. The next batter hit a two-run double to cut NU's lead in half, but NU stranded the runners at second and third after the hit with no further damage. Letourneau first got a pop up to shallow left before a grounder to short that Edwards brought to the plate to nail the runner trying to sneak home. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) then reached into the Nebraska dugout to snare a pop foul to send the game to the fifth with the Wildcats up 4-2.
The Huskers tried to continue their comeback in the bottom of the fifth, getting runners to second and third with two outs before the batter ran the count to 3-2. Letourneau froze her with the next pitch for an inning-ending backwards strikeout, Letourneau's sixth K in the game.
Nebraska was able to knot the score in the bottom of the sixth after a leadoff double inside the bag at third followed by a two-run home run to make it a 4-4 game.
NU's offense largely scuffled after its four-run outburst in the second. The Wildcats got a leadoff base runner in the fourth and two out runners in the sixth and seventh but were unable to do anything with the opportunities. In the bottom of the seventh, Nebraska got a runner to second with one out before Letourneau notched her eighth and ninth strikeouts of the contest to send it into extras.
After NU failed to score in the top of the eighth, Nebraska loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half before a hit by pitch forced home the winning run.
Letourneau (8-7) took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits and nine walks with nine strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work.
Majam led NU at the plate with a three-hit day including two RBIs.
Northwestern and No. 25 Nebraska return to action immediately in the second game of their B1G-opening doubleheader.
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