April 6, 2007
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Senior Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) matched her career-high of 17 strikeouts for a seven-inning game, and Northwestern got a two-run home run from sophomore Jessica Rigas (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest) to defeat Purdue Friday afternoon at the Varsity Softball Complex, 2-1.
The win pushed Northwestern to 29-7 on the season, 4-1 in the Big Ten. The loss dropped Purdue to 19-25-1 on the year, 1-4 in the conference.
Canney's 17 strikeouts tied her performance in a 5-0 win at Hawaii on March 20, 2006. She fanned at least one batter in every inning, including the side in the first, fourth, fifth and seventh frames. She whiffed every Purdue starter at least once in the game.
She improved to 15-7 on the year with the win, allowing one run on three hits and three walks.
Northwestern got its first hit of the ball game to lead off the top of the third. Senior Jessica Miller (Elberfeld, Ind./Tecumseh) crushed a pitch to the base of the fence in left, but she hit it so hard that she was thrown out at second going for the double. Freshman Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) followed with a walk, then moved to second one out later when a ground ball to short by Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol) was mishandled for an error.
Another error on a ground ball hit by Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) loaded the bases, but Garland Cooper's (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) fly ball to deep center was caught to end the frame with the game still scoreless.
The contest would not remain scoreless for long. In NU's next trip to the plate in the top of the fourth, sophomore Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) worked an 0-2 count into a walk, then with two outs Rigas blasted her fourth home run of the season over the left-field fence to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Purdue leadoff batter Kelsey Haupert hit a fly ball up into the 20 mile-an-hour winds blowing straight out, and it carried just over the center-field fence for a solo home run to cut NU's lead to one, 2-1.
The run broke an impressive 34-inning shutout streak by Northwestern over Purdue dating back to April 25, 2004. The Wildcats had shut out the Boilermakers in the last four meetings between the schools. In fact, the run was the first given up to Purdue by the senior Canney in her career, a scoreless streak that reached 23.2 innings pitched before Friday's homer.
Canney recovered from the home run to strike out the next three Boiler batters to reach 10 Ks for the game after four innings of play.
Logan led off the top of the fifth with a sharply hit single to the pitcher, reaching after the ball struck Purdue hurler Brooke Baker (15-13) and bounded back toward the plate. Williams followed with a single through the left side before a Cooper groundout moved both runners to put 'Cats at second and third with one out. Purdue was able to get out of the inning, however, after nailing Logan at home trying to score on a ground ball to second, then throwing to third to get Williams, who had rounded the bag on the play at the plate.
Williams' base knock in the inning extended her current hitting streak to 22 games.
In the circle, Canney continued to throw heat on a cold day, fanning the side in the fifth to reach 13 Ks in the game. After a leadoff bunt single by Purdue in the bottom of the sixth, Canney notched her 14th strikeout before finally allowing her defense to play a little, and the Wildcats' infield responded. Freshman Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) fielded a sharp ground ball at second and threw to Williams covering the bag. Williams then fired to Cooper at first to complete an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Canney then ended the game by striking out the side in the seventh.
Williams finished the game 2-for-4 with a double, while the Dyer sisters each added a double for the 'Cats. Rigas drove in both NU runs.
Northwestern returns to action at 11 a.m. CT Saturday, April 7, for the second game of its doubleheader at Purdue.