March 28, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- No. 23 Northwestern cleared the bases when it had the chance Friday in the first game of its Big Ten series against No. 19 Nebraska, riding several big hits to a 10-2 (5) run-rule victory.
Northwestern improves to 19-6 overall on the season with its win, 3-1 in the Big Ten. Nebraska falls to 21-11 on the year, 1-3 in the conference with its loss. The two teams will return to action in game two of this series at 4 p.m. CT Saturday at the Ballpark at Rosemont. Game three will be held at 1 p.m. CT Sunday, March 30, at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston.
One game after lighting up Northern Illinois for two doubles, three triples and two home runs Wednesday at the Ballpark at Rosemont, Northwestern continued its momentum with three doubles, a triple and a home run among its eight hits Friday versus the ranked Huskers.
The victory Northwestern's eighth by the run-rule in 2014 and the first run-shortened loss suffered by Nebraska this season.
After a 1-2-3 top of the first from Northwestern starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) that included two strikeouts, the Wildcats got the game's first hit in the bottom half when Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off the frame with a single. Nebraska became the first team of the year to be able to throw Allard out stealing, however, as part of a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play that aided in a zero for NU in the inning.
The Huskers put two aboard on singles in the top of the second before Wood shut down the rally with her third strikeout of the game, then the Wildcats pounced. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) led off with a single to third before moving to second when an error was committed on a Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) ground ball. Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) walked to load the bases before, with two outs, Allard unloaded them with a three-run triple to put Northwestern up 3-0.
The triple was Allard's second in as many games and gave NU four as a team in its last two contests.
Nebraska fought back right away with a two-run home run in the top of the third to cut NU's lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the third, Northwestern reprised its rally from the second. NU loaded the bases with no outs on a Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) walk, an Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) single and then an error on an Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) fielder's choice grounder when Bast deftly avoided a tag attempt at third in a force out situation.
For the second-straight inning, a bases-loaded extra base knock drove everybody in and this time it was Filler's turn with a three-run double to right center that made the score 6-2. NU continued to rally when LeBeau reached for the second time on an error before Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) walked to again load the bags. At that point, Nebraska lifted starting pitcher Tatum Edwards in favor of Emily Lockman, who escaped the jam with no further damage.
The fun continued in the bottom of the fourth with four more NU runs to push the game into run-rule territory. Bast led off with a double and moved to third on a deep DiPrima flyout to center. Edwards joined Bast on base via a walk, then Filler crushed her third hit of the game and her second double to drive both in. LeBeau then followed with her team-leading fifth home run of the season onto the party deck in left field to make the score 10-2.
The Huskers tried to stave off the run-rule in the top of the fifth with a leadoff walk moving to third with no outs on a double. Wood then got a strikeout and a foul out, but hit a batter to load the bases. She then notched her seventh strikeout of the contest to finish off the win.
Wood (10-2) went the shortened distance, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks with the aforementioned seven strikeouts that give her 101 Ks in 79.0 innings of work this season.
Filler's 3-for-3 day followed a 3-for-3 performance Wednesday against Northern Illinois in which she had a triple and a homer. She finished Friday's contest with a career-best five RBI performance and a couple of doubles. Allard also had a career-best for RBIs with three in the game on a pair of base knocks. LeBeau drove in two and scored twice while Bast had two runs scored for NU.
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