March 26, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- No. 23 Northwestern pounded out seven extra base hits including three triples and two home runs Wednesday to defeat Northern Illinois, 13-2 (5), at the Ballpark at Rosemont.
The game was moved from DeKalb, Ill., to the all-turf field in Rosemont and was hosted by the Huskies, who fall to 10-13 on the season with their loss. Northwestern improves to 18-6 overall with the win.
NU's three triples in one game bests the previous program record of two achieved many times over the year.
Scoring came fast and furious in this one, beginning with a pair of Northwestern runs in the top of the first. Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off with a single before swiping second base and moving to third on an error on the throw down. Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) followed with a walk and a steal of second herself. Both Wildcats came in sequentially on a Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) RBI groundout and an Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) sacrifice fly.
Northern Illinois also got on the board in the first against Wildcats' starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union), scratching across a run on two hits and a Northwestern error to make the score 2-1.
NU pounded back in grand fashion in the top of the second. Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) led off with a soft single to center before Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) pounded a double down the right-field line that moved Filler to third. Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) drew a bases-loading walk before senior Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) stepped to the plate and crushed a soaring grand slam to dead center to put the Wildcats up 6-1. The blast was the fourth of her career and the first of her season.
After the Huskies again scored once in the bottom of the second, the Wildcats poured it on with five more in the top of the third. DiPrima led off the frame with a triple before Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) drew a walk. Filler then drove everybody in with a home run onto the party deck in left field for a 9-2 Northwestern edge on the sophomore transfer's third homer of the season.
NIU made its third pitching change of the game after the blast, but NU was not done. LeBeau greeted the new hurler with an immediate single into center before Kuhn doubled to right. Tonz then muscled a two-run single into left field to give her a career-best six RBIs in the game and the Wildcats an 11-2 lead on the scoreboard.
Wood worked a shutdown bottom of the third after the NU outburst in the top half, striking out the side in a 1-2-3 frame that gave her eight strikeouts in the contest through 3.0 innings of work.
Filler added a two-out triple for Northwestern in the top of the fourth, and NIU got Huskies to second and third with two outs in the bottom half of the frame but both sets of runners were stranded there in the first scoreless inning of the game.
Northwestern added two more in the top of the fifth. Tonz drew a walk and gave way to pinch runner Krista Williams (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley), who then sprinted around to score on an Allard triple. The scoring finished off when Bast lifted a fly ball to deep right for a sacrifice fly and a 13-2 final tally.
Wood (9-2) picked up the win with a career-high 11 strikeouts, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk.
At the plate, Tonz had the career day with six RBIs on a pair of hits while Filler added a home run, a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored. Allard was 3-for-4 with a triple, a steal, two runs and an RBI. LeBeau had two hits and scored twice, Kuhn scored twice and Bast drove in a pair despite not having a base hit.
Northwestern returns to action at 3 p.m. CT tomorrow, Thursday, March 27, at No. 25 Notre Dame in a game re-scheduled from Tuesday, March 25.
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