April 9, 2005
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- No. 18 Northwestern kept its spotless Big Ten record intact, sweeping its third-consecutive Conference series by virtue of a 5-2 victory over Minnesota Saturday afternoon at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.
Northwestern extends its current winning streak to six games and improves its record to 24-9 overall, 6-0 in the Big Ten with the win. With the loss, Minnesota falls to 18-18, 1-5 in the Conference.
The Wildcats started things in the bottom of the third after sophomore Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol), freshman Stephanie Churchwell (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) and senior Erin Mobley (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) led off with back-to-back-to-back singles, chasing Minnesota starter Mandy Valadez from the game.
Sophomore Garland Cooper (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) greeted UM reliever Rene Konderik with a smash double into center field, plating Logan and Churchwell to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
The double extended Cooper's current hitting streak to 12 games.
Junior Jamie Dotson (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) drew a walk to load the bases with still no outs, and junior Ashley Crane (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake) entered the game for Dotson as a pinch runner.
Junior Kristen Amegin (Sacramento, Calif./Elk Grove) then sent a sacrifice fly into right field, advancing all the runners and scoring Mobley to give the 'Cats a 3-0 advantage.
With Northwestern starter Courtnay Foster
(Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) cruising into the top of the fourth, Minnesota broke through with its first hit and run of the game on a two-out solo home run to cut NU's lead to 3-1. The homer was just the second given up by Foster in her first 100 innings of the season.
The Gophers added another run on a double to center field in the inning, but after a throw home to Dotson, she was able to gun out a UM runner getting greedy on the play, snapping a throw down to freshman Darcy Sengewald (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way East) at the hot corner to end the frame with NU holding a 3-2 lead.
The Wildcats got those two runs back in the bottom of the fourth, courtesy of their own two-out rally. Logan drew a walk and Churchwell launched her sixth home run of the season -- a ball that was still going up when it hit a tree beyond the right-center field wall -- to extend NU's lead back to three, 5-2.
Churchwell finished the game 2-for-3 and the series 5-for-7, raising her batting average to .383 on the season. Cooper finished the series 2-for-3 with two doubles and five walks. She reached base every time she came to bat against the Gophers, raising her on-base percentage during Big Ten play to a mind-boggling .762.
In the top of the sixth, Minnesota loaded the bases on two walks and a single against Foster, but she whiffed the final two batters of the inning to end the threat. Foster twice pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the game.
With the win, Foster's record improves to 11-4. She allowed two runs on five hits, walked five and struck out six. On Friday night, Foster struck out the side in relief in the seventh to earn a save.
Valadez (2-4) was saddled with the loss for Minnesota.
Northwestern returns to action at noon Sunday (April 10) with a doubleheader at Wisconsin.