March 29, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- One day after No. 23 Northwestern run-ruled No. 19 Nebraska, the Wildcats had to fight off the same fate in a 13-3 loss to the Huskers that went the seven-inning distance Saturday at the Ballpark at Rosemont.
Northwestern falls to 19-7 overall on the season with the loss, 3-2 in the Big Ten. Nebraska now is 22-11 on the year with its win, 2-3 in the conference. The two teams will shift away from Rosemont tomorrow for the rubber match in this series at 1 p.m. CT Sunday, March 30, at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston.
Just as it did Friday, Northwestern put plenty of runners on base Saturday but found difficulty launching the big RBI hits that were so prevalent in the Wildcats' 10-2 (5) win in game one of this series. Through four innings, NU had stranded nine on base and ended up leaving 12 total in the contest.
Nebraska wasted little time jumping ahead in this game when leadoff Husker Taylor Edwards hit her 10th home run of the season to put the visitors on top. Nebraska would add one more run later in the frame before NU starter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) ended the rally with the help of two strikeouts to limit what could have been much more damage.
The Huskers put a runner on in the second as well but Northwestern turned a textbook 5-4-3 inning ending double play started by Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park), turned expertly by Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) and stretched wonderfully by Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) at first.
Northwestern got two runners aboard in the first, second and third innings, including getting LeBeau and Kuhn to second and third with two outs in the second. Both times Nebraska starter Tatum Edwards was able to escape the rally, with the second frame coming to a close when she herself gloved a high Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) chop and threw out the speedy Wildcat by a half step.
The Huskers added two more in the top of the third to go ahead 4-0. After the runs came in, freshman Nicole Bond (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) entered the circle in relief and stranded two runners on base to keep the NU deficit at four.
Nebraska broke through in a big way in the top of the fourth, scoring five runs to bring the run-rule into the equation, 9-0.
Northwestern got itself back on the correct side of that run-rule question with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. LeBeau led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) groundout. With two outs in the frame, Allard singled into right to bring home LeBeau before Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) tripled all the way to the fence in left-center to knock in Allard. Three-straight walks to Bast, Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) and Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) forced in Majam to cut the NU deficit to 9-3 heading to the fifth.
Nebraska threatened to score again in the top of the sixth, but Allard charged a Huskers single up the middle from her center field position, gloved it and threw a runner out at the plate to keep it a 9-3 game.
After NU got its two leadoff batters in the sixth on base but was unable to bring them around, Nebraska added four to its total in the seventh for the final 13-3 margin.
Allard's two base hits in the game give her 267 for her career, moving her past Garland Cooper (2004-07) for second-place all time at Northwestern. Those 267 base knocks also rank second among all active NCAA Division I players. Majam joined Allard with two hits in Saturday's game.
Albanese (5-4) took the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts in two-plus innings of work. Bond worked 5.0 innings of relief, allowing nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits and five walks with a K.
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