March 28, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 10 Northwestern launched three home runs, including a pair in the fourth inning, to defeat Penn State Saturday afternoon at Nittany Lion Field, 5-3.
The win moves the Wildcats to 17-7 overall on the season, 3-0 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are 9-15 on the year, 0-3 in the conference with their loss. Game two between Northwestern and Penn State will begin at 10 a.m. CT/11 a.m. local time tomorrow, Sunday, March 29. This is a change from the originally publicized time of noon CT.
Both pitchers were shut down through the first couple of innings, with Northwestern starter Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) striking out the side in the second to give her five already in the game. Penn State was able to break through in the bottom of the third, bringing home a leadoff walk after a pair of two-out singles for a 1-0 advantage.
Northwestern battled right back in the top of the fourth. After taking a pair of balls to lead off the inning, Robin Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) was hit by the third pitch before moving to second on a sacrifice from Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola). Freshman Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) then clobbered a Lisa Akamine (4-8) offering deep over the fence in left center to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
Monka's home run was her team-leading 10th of the year; she entered the weekend ranked fourth in the nation with 0.41 home runs per game.
Sophomore Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) followed Monka with a hard-hit single to the base of the fence in left, then trotted home one out later when senior Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) also went yard to make the score 4-1. Dyer's home run was her eighth of the season and the 37th of her career.
Penn State threatened in the bottom of the fifth, getting Nittany Lions to second and third with two outs before Nicole Pauly
(Palatine, Ill./Palatine) ranged to her right to glove a grounder up the middle and throw out the batter-runner to end the frame.
Williams then began the top of the sixth with a bang, homering to left center to make the score 5-1. The blast was the seventh of the season for Williams and the 49th of her career. She has hit a home run in each of NU's last three games.
Penn State notched two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh to make the final score 5-3.
Delaney (16-6) earned the win with a complete-game effort, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
Batts finished the game 2-for-3 for NU while both Monka and Dyer drove in two runs.