March 22, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- No. 23 Northwestern held a 3-0 lead over Wisconsin Saturday in the seventh inning of the final game of the season's first Big Ten series before the Badgers broke through for seven runs during a crazy final frame that saw the Wildcats fall, 7-5.
Northwestern now is 17-6 overall on the season with the loss, 2-1 in Big Ten play. Defending Big Ten Tournament champion Wisconsin now is 15-12 on the season, 1-2 in the conference. NU took the series over UW, 2-1, after winning both of Friday's contests.
Both starting pitchers, freshman Nicole Bond (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) for Northwestern and Cassandra Darrah for Wisconsin, allowed just one hit apiece through the first three innings of play.
Just as NU did trailing by a run in Friday's second game, the Wildcats pounced for a crooked number in the fourth frame of a tight game Saturday. Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) led off with a textbook infield single before moving to second when Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) drew a four-pitch walk. Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) followed with a roped double to left field that brought Majam home and moved Bast to third. Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) completed the scoring with an RBI groundout that drove in Bast.
After Bond stranded a two-out double -- just the second hit she had allowed in the game -- in the top of the fifth, Northwestern added to its edge in the bottom half. Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) led off with a four-pitch walk and gave way to pinch runner Krista Williams (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley). Williams moved to second on a passed ball, third on a Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) sacrifice bunt ad scored when Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) rifled a single to right field.
Wisconsin led off the top of the sixth with its second double of the game. After a sacrifice bunt moved that runner to third, Bond got a foul out to Bast halfway down the third-base line before spearing a hard comebacker herself to keep the Badgers off the board.
After Northwestern left a pair of infield singles on base in the bottom of the sixth, Wisconsin broke through on the scoreboard with a solo home run to lead off the top of the seventh. The next two batters beat out infield singles leading to Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) entering the game in relief.
Albanese struck the first batter with a pitch to load the bases before getting the first out with a strikeout. The next batter hit a ground ball to Bast at third, who took the sure out at first to put two down in the inning while allowing Wisconsin to get within a run on the RBI groundout. A wild pitch tied the game before the floodgates opened with repeated singles on the ground finding holes in the Northwestern infield, giving Wisconsin seven runs in the frame and a 7-3 lead going to the bottom of the inning.
Needing a massive comeback, Allard got things going with a double to right before taking third on a wild pitch. Majam joined Allard on base via a walk, then Bast hit a shallow fly ball that the second baseman caught while running backward, allowing Allard to score from third on the play. DiPrima reached base after the out when she was hit by a pitch before Edwards worked full-count walk after being down 0-2 in the at-bat to load the bases. Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) beat out an infield single to make it 7-5 before Wisconsin shut down the NU rally.
Albanese (5-3) took the loss in relief, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 1.0 inning of work. Bond went 6.0 plus innings in the circle in her start, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
Filler, LeBeau and Allard all had two hits for NU at the plate; Majam scored two runs.
Northwestern is scheduled to return to action at 5 p.m. CT Tuesday at Notre Dame and at 2 p.m. CT Wednesday afternoon at Northern Illinois in a game the Huskies also will be hosting at the Ballpark at Rosemont. Stay tuned to NUsports.com for potential schedule updates.
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