April 11, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 6 Alabama used a five-run burst in the second inning to build an early lead over Northwestern Sunday, riding its advantage out to an 11-1 (5) run-rule victory over the Wildcats.
Northwestern's loss evens its record on the year at 16-16 while Alabama now is 31-9 with its victory.
Freshman Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) notched a one-out single in the top of the first before stealing second and moving to third when the throw down skipped into center for an error, but that is where she stayed in the game's opening half inning.
In the bottom of the first, Alabama put up a pair of runs without getting a hit off Northwestern starter Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias). A pair of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases with no outs before an RBI groundout and a wild pitch plated two to put the Crimson Tide on top early, 2-0.
Northwestern answered immediately in the form of a Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) soaring solo home run off the scoreboard in left center to lead off the top of the second. Pauly's homer was her eighth of the season and the 48th of her career.
In the bottom of the second, the leadoff batter drew a walk to prompt NU head coach Kate Drohan to lift Delaney in favor of Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) in the circle. Two singles, an intentional walk and two doubles followed to push five Alabama runs across, and with one out in the frame, Drohan inserted Jessica Smith (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) into the circle. Smith fanned the first batter she faced and got a line out to Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) in left to quickly end the inning with the Wildcats down six, 7-1.
In the bottom of the third, Alabama got runners to second and third with no outs before Smith worked out of the jam beautifully. She first got a high pop fly to shallow left before striking out Alabama All-American Charlotte Morgan. A soft liner to Robin Thompson
(Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) at third ended the inning with no runs across.
Smith set down the first two batters she faced in the fourth before a pinch hit solo home run made the score 8-1. Alabama then pushed across its final runs in the bottom of the fifth on a three-run homer to end the game, 11-1.
Delaney (8-11) took the loss, allowing three runs on no hits with five walks and two strikeouts. Lamberth went a third of an inning, giving up four runs on four hits and one intentional walk. Smith went 2.2 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
Northwestern returns to action April 14 in a doubleheader against Minnesota at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.