April 8, 2012
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Drysdale Field)
Score: Northwestern 12, Iowa 6
Records: NU (16-20, 4-5 Big Ten), Iowa (15-20, 5-4 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: April 14, 2012 -- vs. Minnesota (Sharon J. Drysdale Field), 1 p.m. DH
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern capitalized on five Iowa errors Sunday in their Big Ten series finale at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, plating five runs in the first inning and keeping the pressure on en route to a 12-6 victory.
Northwestern wins its second-consecutive Big Ten series with the victory, moving to 16-20 overall on the year and 4-5 in the conference. Iowa now is 15-20 overall on the year, 5-4 in the conference.
Northwestern starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic), who earned the win in Saturday's second game and at one point had 8.0 consecutive innings of no-hit ball between yesterday's two contests, came out in game three and set the tone early with a pair of strikeouts in a 1-2-3 top of the first.
The Wildcats mounted a big rally quickly in the bottom of the first, loading the bases without the benefit of a base hit and taking advantage of three Hawkeyes' errors for a five-run frame. With one out, Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) took a pitch off the dome -- she would be fine -- before Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) drew a walk and Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) reached on an error when the third baseman could not handle a well-struck grounder.
One out later, freshman Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) ripped a single into right, plating Majam and eventually Monka when the fielder kicked the ball around a bit. After Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) drew a walk to re-load the bases, sophomore Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) earned an RBI the hard way when she hit by a pitch. Two more runs came in when a Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) grounder to third also was mishandled for an error, staking Northwestern to a 5-0 lead after one inning of play.
Two more strikeouts for Letourneau in the second served as the prelude to another Northwestern run in the bottom of the frame. Majam worked a leadoff full-count walk before taking second on a wild pitch. Then, with one out, Bast shot a single back up the middle to drive home Majam and make it a 6-0 game.
Letourneau gave up her first hit of the game with two outs in the top of the third, but the runner left first early trying to steal to put an end to the inning. In the bottom of the third, pinch hitter Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) crushed a double to the fence in left that easily would have exited the building if not for the blustery breeze blowing in. She moved to third when Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) reached on an error, then Allard stole the 100th base of her career with a swipe of second. No runs came of the rally for the 'Cats, however.
Iowa put together its first serious threat in the top of the fourth, getting runners to the corners with one out. Letourneau got the next batter to hit a comebacker, allowing her to successfully hold the runner at third before throwing to first for the out. The next batter watched a third strike to end the frame.
In the bottom of the fourth, Monka led off with a walk, giving way to pinch runner Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada). Bast then was hit by a pitch to put two 'Cats on. One out later, Duehr worked a full-count walk to load the bags. Albanese then smoked a single back up the middle to score both Edwards and Bast, pushing the game into run-rule territory, 8-0.
The inning continued when a Jenny Tyler (Glendale, Ariz./Deer Valley) pinch hit single ricocheted off the pitcher to load the bases, then DiPrima hit a big bouncer to short that was mishandled for Iowa's fifth error, allowing both Duehr and Albanese to come home for a 10-0 score before the inning ended.
Letourneau surrendered a leadoff single in the top of the fifth before getting a foul out to Monka at first. The next two batters walked to load the bases, then a bases-clearing triple brought Iowa back out of the run-rule, 10-3. A two-out single and double later on cut NU's lead all the way in half, 10-5, before Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) entered the circle in relief and finished off the Hawkeyes' rally.
Northwestern fought back in its half of the fifth, getting a pair of runs after a Monka walk and Bast blast over the fence in right for a two-run home run and a 12-5 lead going to the sixth inning. The shot was Bast's 10th of the season.
Iowa added a run to its total in the top of the sixth with a one-out single against Lamberth, but she preserved a six-run edge going to the bottom of the frame. Northwestern loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the frame on base hits by DiPrima, Allard and Majam, but a double play ended the inning. No worries, though, as Lamberth came back out in the seventh and finished off the victory.
Letourneau (8-7) earned the win, allowing five runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Lamberth worked 2.1 innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits and a walk with three Ks.
Bast scored a career-best three runs and also drove in three on a pair of hits to lead Northwestern at the plate. Duehr had two hits and two runs, Albanese drove in two and scored twice, DiPrima earned two hits and Monka scored twice after drawing three walks.
Northwestern has next week off, returning to action April 14-15 in a home Big Ten series against Minnesota. First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT after the Northwestern football spring exhibition.
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