March 29, 2013
WATCH: Game Highlights
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Northwestern 6, Minnesota 2
Records: NU (15-12, 1-2 Big Ten), Minnesota (20-11, 3-1 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: March 30, 2013 -- vs. Minnesota (Sharon J. Drysdale Field), 1 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Sophomore Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) harnessed the nasty stuff she's been dealing all season long in Northwestern's 2013 home opener Friday against Minnesota, throwing the 45th no-hitter in Wildcats' history in a 6-2 win over the Gophers.
Northwestern improves to 15-12 overall on the season with its win, 1-2 in the Big Ten. Minnesota falls to 20-11 on the year with its loss, 3-1 in the conference.
Letourneau (9-7) at times struggled to control her filthy repertoire, allowing 11 total base runners in the game on nine walks and two hit batsmen. She did allow two runs (only one earned) in the third inning, but recovered to hold Minnesota at bay the remainder of the game while racking up 11 strikeouts for her ninth double-digit K game of the season.
The no-no is the first of Letourneau's career and the 45th in school history. It is the first since current junior Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) no-hit Saint Mary's (Calif.) on March 22, 2011, in a five-inning contest and it is NU's first full seven-inning no-hitter since Lauren Delaney performed the feat against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 12, 2010.
In a pitching duel featuring two of the B1G's premier hurlers, Letourneau and Minnesota junior Sara Moulton matched stranded runners in the first before the Wildcats broke through with a pair of two-out hits in the bottom of the second.
Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) began the frame with a solid line drive single before moving to second when Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) drew a two-out walk. Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) then drove a single into center to bring home Edwards and move Tonz to third before Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) pounded a grounder toward third that caught the fielder in the upper body on a wicked hop for a run-scoring single and a 2-0 NU lead going into the third.
The Gophers answered back with a pair of runs in the top of the third without the benefit of a base hit. After the two leadoff batters walked, a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly brought one in before a passed ball knotted the score, 2-2.
NU went right back to work in the bottom half with a barrage of base knocks befitting a singles night. Leadoff singles from Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park), Letourneau and Edwards, the latter of which was a laser, brought Bast home to give the Wildcats the lead back, 3-2. The inning continued with a fourth-straight single, this one loading the bases off the bat of Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) before a pair of fielder's choice grounders to third. One resulted in an out at the plate while the second throw was late to give NU another run.
One final run came in on Duehr's second single of the game to make it a 5-2 game and knock Moulton from the circle in favor of Nikki Anderson, who shut down the Wildcats' rally to end the frame.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Edwards eschewed the singles strategy in favor of full blown yard work. The sophomore sent her fourth home run of the season just over the outstretched glove of a leaping fielder in center and over the fence to give NU a four-run cushion, 6-2.
Letourneau's borderline brilliance continued in the top of the fifth when Minnesota was able to load the bases with one out on two hit by pitches and a walk before the NU sophomore got an infield fly and a backwards K -- her seventh strikeout of the game -- to end the inning unscathed.
After NU failed to score in the fifth for the first time since the first inning, Letourneau had her first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the top of the sixth, capped with her ninth strikeout. In the seventh, the sophomore got a strikeout, a deep fly out to Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) in left and her 11th K to complete the no-hitter.
Edwards led NU at the plate with a 3-for-3 day, scoring a career-best three runs and driving in two on a pair of singles and a home run. Duehr had two hits and two RBIs, Scharkey had two hits and Letourneau added a pair of base knocks to her pitching accomplishment.
Northwestern and Minnesota continue their series at 1 p.m. CT tomorrow, Saturday, March 30, at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.
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