April 9, 2013
Watch: Notre Dame Game Highlights
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Northwestern 11, Notre Dame 3 (5)
Records: NU (20-14), Notre Dame (26-10)
Next NU Event: April 12, 2013 -- vs. Iowa (Sharon J. Drysdale Field), 4 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Trailing Notre Dame, 3-2, entering the fifth inning Tuesday afternoon at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, Northwestern scored nine times in the frame to end the game early via an 11-3 (5) run-rule victory.
NU now has won its last four games in a row, three via the run-rule, to improve to 20-14 overall on the season. Notre Dame falls to 26-10 with its loss.
Notre Dame loaded the bases against Northwestern starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Esperanza) in the top of the first on two walks and an NU error before the sophomore got a can of corn to Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) in center to end the threat.
The Wildcats put together their own bases-loaded rally in the bottom of the first, all with two outs. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) first slotted a single through the left-side hole before both Letourneau and Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) were hit by pitches from Notre Dame ace Laura Winter. The Irish, like the 'Cats, were able to escape unscathed to send the game to the second scoreless.
After Letourneau worked around a two-out bunt single in the top of the second, Northwestern sophomore Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) opened the scoring in the bottom half in a big, big way. With two outs, Duehr clobbered a Winter offering through a stiff breeze blowing in and landed it two paces onto the roof of McGaw Hall beyond left field for an early 1-0 NU advantage.
The blast was Duehr's fourth of the year and the 11th of her career, but more significantly it made her the second two-time member of the prestigious Northwestern "Roof Club." Only seven home runs (hit by five Wildcats) in the history of Sharon J. Drysdale Field have reached the roof of adjacent McGaw Hall, which houses Welsh-Ryan Arena. Duehr first entered the club last year with a shot on April 7 against Iowa, and now joins Adrienne Monka (2009-12) as the only two-timers.
Notre Dame responded right away when it turned a no-out, bases-loaded situation in the top of the third into three runs on a passed ball on a two-run single to take a 3-1 edge in the game.
The Wildcats counter-punched as well in the third. Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) led off with a single before being erased on Bast grounder. After Letourneau walked, Edwards lofted a ball deep to left field where it fell just inside the line for a run-scoring base hit to cut the NU deficit in half, 3-2, going into the fourth.
Letourneau settled in from the circle, striking out two each in the third and fourth innings before fanning the side in the top of the fifth to reach eight Ks for the game.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, things escalated quickly. Bast led off with a laser over the fence in center to tie the game, 3-3. The shot was Bast's third in the last three games, her 10th of the season and the 28th of her career.
With one out -- the last out Notre Dame would record in the game -- the inning continued with another tall Edwards fly to left that was dropped for an error, allowing Edwards to stand safely at second. Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) quickly brought Edwards around with a double, then moved to third herself on an Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) single. At that point, Notre Dame lifted starting pitcher Winter for Brittany O'Donnell.
O'Donnell immediately hit Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) with a pitch, walked Duehr to force home a run, gave up an RBI infield single to Scharkey then a two-run single to Majam to make the score 8-3. O'Donnell then gave way to Allie Rhodes, who hit Bast with a pitch, gave up an RBI single to Letourneau and a surrendered two-run Edwards single to end the game, 11-3.
The nine-run fifth was Northwestern's most runs in a single inning since it plated that number May 12, 2012, against Illinois in the fourth.
Bast and Edwards each went 2-for-3 on the day with Bast scoring a career-best three times and Edwards knocking in a career-best three runs. Majam was 2-for-4 with two RBIs while Duehr finished 1-for-2 with her mammoth home run, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Letourneau (13-8) earned the win in the circle, throwing all five innings and allowing three runs on three hits and seven walks with eight strikeouts.
Northwestern continues its current 12-game homestand this Friday through Sunday, April 12-14, against Iowa at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT while Saturday is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start and Sunday's finale is a noon CT first pitch.
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