April 7, 2012
Watch Game Highlights on Wildcats All Access!
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Northwestern 7, Iowa 6
Records: NU (15-20, 3-5 Big Ten), Iowa (15-19, 5-3 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: April 8, 2012 -- vs. Iowa (Evanston, Ill.), 1 p.m. CT (BTDN)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Freshman Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) unleashed the fifth home run in Northwestern history to land on the roof of adjacent Welsh-Ryan Arena during the second game of a doubleheader Saturday against Iowa, highlighting a three home run attack for the Wildcats in a 7-6 win over the Hawkeyes.
Northwestern improves to 15-20 on the season with its win, 3-5 in the Big Ten. Iowa falls to 15-19 on the year with its loss, 5-3 in the conference.
Head coach Kate Drohan gave freshman Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) the start in game number two after she threw 5.1 scoreless, hitless innings of relief in the first contest. The Hawkeyes worked three straight full-count, two-out walks against Letourneau in the top of the first to load the bases before she ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout. When Letourneau retired the side in order in the second inning, it gave her 7.1 innings of no-hit softball dating to Saturday's first game -- the equivalent of a regulation no-hitter (plus one).
The Iowa starter did equally well holding Northwestern's offense at bay in the first two innings before the Hawkeyes took the lead in the top of the third. After Letourneau ran her hitless streak to an even 8.0 innings with two strikeouts, a two-out hit by pitch came around to score on an RBI triple to right for a 1-0 Iowa edge.
Northwestern tried to answer immediately in its half of the third. Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, then Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) sacrificed her to second. Tonz moved to third on an Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) single. Allard then stole second base before, with two outs, Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) got unlucky when her wicked, tailing, nearly horizontal line drive maneuvered itself directly to the perfectly positioned right fielder to end the inning.
Iowa added to its lead with a single run in the top of the fourth when a leadoff walk stole second and third before coming home on a two-out infield single.
In the fourth, Duehr did her deed. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before moving to second on a long Letourneau single to right. Duehr then stepped to the plate and turned on a pitch, launching it high and deep to left and just over the gutters lining the McGaw Hall roof to put Northwestern on top, 3-2. The shot was her sixth of the season.
Duehr joins Jessica Miller (March 31, 2007 vs. Michigan), Nicole Pauly (April 4, 2009 in the first game of a doubleheader vs. Indiana), Erin Dyer (April 4, 2009 in the second game of a doubleheader vs. Indiana) and Adrienne Monka (April 14, 2010 vs. Minnesota) as the fifth member of the elite Sharon J. Drysdale Field Roof Club.
Iowa put a stop to the euphoria quickly in the top of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and a two-run home run to re-take the lead, 4-3.
Northwestern re-ignited the euphoria in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) reached on an error before Monka made sure nobody could catch her next batted ball, crushing a pitch over the fence for a two-run home run to put Northwestern back on top, 5-4. The shot was Monka's eighth of the season and the 49th of her career.
The fun continued courtesy of a Bast single before Letourneau crushed a two-run home run of her own to make NU's edge three, 7-4. Letourneau now has four home runs this season. Iowa lifted its starting pitcher after the blast, and its reliever was able retire the side.
Of course Iowa fought back immediately, getting a leadoff solo home run in the sixth before a two-out double whittled the NU lead all the way down to 7-6 heading into the bottom of the frame.
With the score the same going into the top of the seventh, Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) entered the circle in relief of Letourneau to attempt to nail down the save. Albanese struck out the first batter she faced looking and got a weak dribbler to Monka at first for the second out. The next Hawkeye got a two-out single into center, but Albanese coaxed a weak liner to Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) to seal the deal.
Letourneau (7-7) threw 6.0 innings to earn the win, giving up six runs on seven hits and four walks with nine strikeouts. Albanese notched her second save with 1.0 inning of work, giving up just the one single with a strikeout.
Monka and Letourneau each had two hits and two RBIs to lead Northwestern while Letourneau also scored twice. Duehr drove in three and Bast also scored two runs.
Northwestern and Iowa conclude their series at 1 p.m. CT tomorrow, Sunday, April 8. The game stream live online at NUsports.com in high quality via the Big Ten Digital Network.
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