April 1, 2012
Site: Madison, Wis. (Goodman Diamond)
Score: Northwestern 8, Wisconsin 3
Records: NU (14-18, 2-4 Big Ten), Wisconsin (14-12, 3-3 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: April 4, 2012 -- at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.), 4 p.m. CT/5 p.m. ET
MADISON, Wis. -- Northwestern unleashed a six-run fifth inning Sunday at Wisconsin, riding the scoring outburst to an 8-3 win and a 2-1 victory in the Big Ten series.
Northwestern moves to 14-18 overall on the season with its win, 2-4 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin now is 14-12 on the year with its loss, 3-3 in the conference.
Junior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off the game with a single through the left side of the infield, extending her current hitting streak to 17 games. Wisconsin did a great job getting the lead out on two subsequent ground balls to prevent any sort of Wildcats' threat.
The Badgers put three runners on base in their half of the first on a single and two walks, but the Wildcats put down the rally in part thanks to catcher Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) hosing a runner trying to steal second. Both Wisconsin starter Amanda Najdek and Northwestern starter Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) then cruised through the second in exceptionally quick fashion.
Northwestern found the scoreboard first in the top of the third. Mari Majam
(Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) received a four-pitch walk to start the inning, then moved to second on a high chopper groundout from Kristin Scharkey
(Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) and third on Allard's second single of the game. Adrienne Monka
(Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) drove Majam home for a 1-0 NU lead with a deep fly ball to right that was caught just in front of the track.
Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) provided a defensive highlight for Northwestern in the bottom of the third. With one out, the Badger batter got under a bunt just enough for it to float toward the third-base dugout. Bast showed (Wild)'Cat-like reflexes, taking three quick steps toward the ball before laying out and catching it just above the dirt in front of her.
Both pitchers mowed down the opposition in quick 1-2-3 half innings in the fourth before Northwestern straight up exploded at the plate in the fifth, sending 12 batters to the dish and scoring six runs. Majam led off the frame with a four-pitch walk, then stole second base. Scharkey moved her to third with a groundout to the pitcher, then Allard smashed her third hit of the game into left field to plate Majam and make it a 2-0 game.
The inning continued with a two-out walk to Bast before freshman Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) came off the bench to pinch hit in the best way possible, crushing a three-run home run to break the game open, 5-0. The freshman, who was born in Racine, Wis., and had family in attendance at the ballpark Sunday, now has three home runs this season.
The inning continued with an Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) line-drive double to the fence in center, after which Wisconsin elected to make a pitching change. Lamberth greeted the new hurler by dunking a single into right field to drive in Duehr and extend the NU cushion to 6-0.
The inning continued when pinch hitter Jenny Tyler (Glendale, Ariz./Deer Valley) was hit by a pitch. Majam capped off the scoring with a single into center in her second plate appearance of the frame, giving Northwestern a 7-0 lead going to the bottom of the fifth.
Wisconsin battled back immediately in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with no outs against Lamberth. The next batter singled to left to drive in one, but Majam reared back and fired to Tonz behind the plate to retire the trail runner on the play. A two-out double later in the inning cut the NU lead down to four, 7-3.
In the top of the sixth, Wisconsin inserted its third pitcher of the game into the circle and Northwestern gave her a rude hello. Allard led off with her fourth single to give her base hits in seven-consecutive at-bats. Monka followed with a walk, giving way to pinch runner Amanda Mehrsheikh (Chesterfield, Mo./Parkway Central). Bast sensationally sacrificed the runners up a bag, then Letourneau received a walk to load the bases.
Duehr stood at the plate and watched four balls go by to drive in Allard, but that was the lone run for NU in the inning. Lamberth hit what would have been a single to right, but the NU runner at third had to hold to see if the ball would be caught and the fielder was able to fire home for a force to help stop the rally.
Lamberth (7-8) made the five-run cushion hold up to complete the victory (helped by a game-ending line drive double play that Bast gloved before unleashing a laser beam to first to double off the runner). Lamberth allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks with no strikeouts. In a bizarre occurrence, neither pitcher recorded a single strikeout in the entire game.
Allard recorded her second four-hit game of the season, scoring twice to lead NU at the plate. Majam was perfect at the plate with a 2-for-2 day and two walks, also scoring two times. Letourneau drove in three for the Wildcats.
Northwestern returns to action at 4 p.m. CT (5 p.m. ET) Wednesday, April 4, at Notre Dame.
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