April 1, 2007
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 8 Northwestern scored five runs in the fifth inning Sunday during the first game of a doubleheader against Michigan State to end the game early in an 11-3, run-rule victory.
The win pushes Northwestern's overall record to 26-7 on the year, 2-1 in the Big Ten. Michigan State falls to 18-15, 0-1 in the conference.
Michigan State took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. With two outs and runners on first and second after a pair of walks, Traci Nicosia hit a little bloop single that dropped in front of shortstop Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) just behind the second-base bag, allowing the runner on second to come around and score.
Northwestern answered immediately with four runs in the bottom of the first. Senior Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol), sophomore Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola), senior Garland Cooper (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) and freshman Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) all hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles to score three runs before the first out was recorded.
With Pauly on third following a wild pitch, sophomore Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) drew a walk, then sophomore Jessica Rigas (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest) hit a sacrifice fly into right field to score Pauly and give NU a 4-1 lead.
Williams' base hit extended her current hitting streak to 19 games, while Pauly's base knock pushed her current streak to 11 games.
In the bottom of the third, Cooper unleashed a deep home run onto the batting cage netting beyond the center-field fence to lead off the inning. Two outs later, Rigas followed with a solo shot of her own to make the score 6-1 in favor of the 'Cats.
Cooper's blast was her league-leading 12th of the season, establishing a career single-season best for the senior. She now has 44 homers in her career.
Rigas' home run was her third of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth, Logan hit a one-out single into right field, and Michigan State replaced starting pitcher Leslie Noel (3-2) with Rachel Turney.
Turney then hit Williams with a pitch before walking Cooper to load the bases still with one out, but the senior was able to get out of the inning with no damage done.
Michigan State got two runs back in the top of the fifth. After a leadoff walk, Caitlin Mahoney hit a two-run home run to left to cut the Northwestern lead to three, 6-3. The Spartans placed two more runners on base via a walk and a single, advancing them to second and third with two outs before Northwestern starter Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) got a strikeout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Northwestern loaded the bases with no outs after Rigas was hit by a pitch, Jessica Miller (Elberfeld, Ind./Techumseh) singled up the middle and pinch hitter Erin Hampshire (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) drew a walk. Freshman Ashley Lafever (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) pinch ran for Rigas, while freshman Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) re-entered the game to run for Hampshire.
Junior Darcy Sengewald (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way East) singled into right field to drive home Lafever, then one out later, Williams drew a walk to force in Miller. Cooper then followed with another walk to force in Kelly Dyer and make the NU lead six, 9-3.
After a short four-minute rain delay, Pauly stepped up to the plate and singled into center field to score both Sengewald and Williams and give NU an 11-3, five-inning victory.
Canney picked up the win to move 14-7 on the season, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
Cooper finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs scored for the 'Cats, while Pauly had two hits and four RBIs. Logan had two hits, Williams was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and Rigas drove in a pair.