April 6, 2013
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Northwestern 8, Illinois 0 (5)
Records: NU (18-14, 4-3 B1G), Illinois (11-20, 1-7 B1G)
Next NU Event: April 7, 2013 -- vs. Illinois (Sharon J. Drysdale Field), Noon CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- One day after Northwestern no-hit Illinois at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, senior Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) nearly repeated the feat with a career-best one-hit shutout in an 8-0 (5) run-rule victory over the Illini.
Northwestern improves to 18-14 overall on the season, 4-3 in the Big Ten with its win while Illinois now is 11-20 on the year, 1-7 in the conference after its loss.
Lamberth (7-4) needed just 68 pitches and allowed only two base runners, one early in the game on an error and another on a one-out fifth-inning hit. She fanned three in the game and notched her fourth shutout of the season.
Junior Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) started the scoring in the bottom of the first. For the past three games, Bast had hit the ball hard in every single at-bat, earning a pair of doubles while being robbed of a homer and several other sure base hits by strong defensive plays. Saturday afternoon, she made sure no one could take a hit away when she sent a ball soaring over the center-field fence for a 1-0 NU lead. The blast was Bast's eighth of the season and the 26th of her career.
The NU scoring continued in the bottom of the second, beginning with a wind-aided Anna Edwards
(La Canada, Calif./La Canada) double that blew just past the lunge of a retreating shortstop while Edwards never stopped motoring to beat the throw to second. Andrea DiPrima
(Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) then rifled a pitch back through the middle to bring Edwards around for a 2-0 NU lead.
Catcher Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) flexed into the lineup to run for DiPrima before moving to second on a Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) sacrifice bunt. Subsequent events, including Lamberth and Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) walks, loaded the bases with two away.
That's when Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) drove a pitch up in the air and into the sustained 20 mph winds blowing straight out of the park. The ball rode that jet stream way over the fence for a grand slam and an early 6-0 Northwestern advantage. The shot was the fourth of Majam's career and her second since transitioning to a full-time slapper midway through the 2012 season.
Northwestern's barrage continued in the third when Edwards joined the home run fun with her fifth of the year, clanging a solo shot off the "gerbil tube" in left center.
In the top of the fifth, Illinois got a line drive up that middle that glanced off the glove of a diving LeBeau and into center for the Illini's first hit of the entire series -- a span of 10 innings after Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) tossed a five-inning no-no on Friday and Lamberth spun 4.1 hitless innings Saturday prior to the knock.
In the bottom of the fifth, Majam led off with a single before Bast drew a walk. Letourneau then hit a ball into the air that carried with the wind all the way to fence in right center where it fell for a game-ending double.
Majam went 2-for-3 with a career-high-tying four RBIs and two runs scored. Edwards was a perfect 2-for-2 with a home run, a double and two runs.
Northwestern concludes its series against Illinois at noon CT tomorrow, Sunday, April 7. The game is a PURPLE OUT with the first 250 fans through the gates getting a free Northwestern softball t-shirt.
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