April 4, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 8 Northwestern scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie and defeat Indiana, 3-1, Saturday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.
With the win, Northwestern runs its current winning streak to 10 games, improving to 21-7 overall on the year, 7-0 in the Big Ten. Indiana now is 5-25 on the season, 1-4 in the conference.
Both teams struggled to put together much offense through the early part of the game. Indiana drew a trio of walks through the first four innings against NU starter Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias), but that was it. Sophomore Kelly Quinn (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) recorded the game's first hit in the bottom of the third with a sharp single to center before Northwestern put the game's first run on the board via a true feat of strength in the bottom of the fourth.
With one out in the frame, junior Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill../Palatine) crushed a Sara Olson offering deep to left and onto the roof of McGaw Hall for a 1-0 NU lead. The blast is just the second in the entire history of Sharon J. Drysdale Field to reach the roof, joining a Jessica Miller bomb on March 31, 2007, that beat No. 10 Michigan. Pauly's home run is her ninth of the season and the 38th of her career.
Delaney carried her no-hitter into the top of the sixth, retiring the first two batters before a two-out home run broke up both the no-no and the shutout, tying the game, 1-1.
Northwestern quickly mounted a rally in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) drew a leadoff walk before being replaced at first by pinch runner Aly Euler (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest). Sophomore Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) followed with a sacrifice bunt that was so perfect, she beat it out for a base hit.
Pauly followed with a fister just over the reach of a leaping second baseman for a base hit. The runners advanced one base, but the throw came home and got through the catcher, allowing everyone to move up and Euler to score on the error for a 2-1 NU lead.
At that point, Megan Lilley (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) replaced Batts at first as a pinch runner, then came home to score on an RBI groundout by Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) to make the score 3-1.
Pauly finished 2-for-2 with the home run, while Quinn also had a pair of hits for NU.
Delaney (20-6) earned the win to become a 20-game winner for the second-straight year. She surrendered just one hit and one run while walking three and striking out eight.