April 12, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS -- One day after No. 23 Northwestern matched its school record for hits in a 13-9 win over No. 14 Minnesota, the Gophers returned the favor with 13 runs of their own in a 13-5 (6) decision Saturday at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.
Northwestern falls to 23-10 overall on the season with its loss, 6-5 in the Big Ten. Minnesota improves to 31-6 on the season with its victory and now is 9-3 in the conference. The rubber match between the Wildcats and Golden Gophers conclude their series at 1 p.m. CT tomorrow, Sunday, April 13.
Both teams sent undefeated freshmen to the circle to start this game. The Wildcats featured Nicole Bond (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) and her 3-0 record while the Gophers countered with Sara Groenewegen and her 9-0 mark. Both hurlers saw limited action early in their first college seasons but have thrown extensively in recent weeks.
Northwestern got the first rally going in the top of the second when Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) was hit by the first pitch of the inning. She moved to second on an Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) two-out walk. Minnesota escaped when its third baseman made a nice play on a grounder to force out DiPrima at third by a step.
The Wildcats blinked first in the bottom of the third when the Gophers took a 1-0 lead on a one-out double. The inning continued with another run coming home on a wild pitch and a third on a dink single into left to give the home squad a 3-0 lead going to the fourth.
Northwestern struck back right away in typical 2014 Wildcats fashion. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) drew a leadoff walk to start the fourth before Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) and Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) loaded the bags with back-to-back singles. With two outs, Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) continued her hot hitting in this series with a two-run single into left before Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) uncorked a three-run home run to dead center to put Northwestern up 5-3 in the contest. The blast was Tonz's second of the season and the fifth of her career.
Minnesota responded with as big an inning as NU has given up all year. Four extra base hits and three Wildcats errors contributed to a nine-run frame for the Gophers to give the home team a 12-5 lead. Northwestern lifted Bond for senior Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) midway through the frame, then re-entered Bond after Minnesota continued to hit away.
The score remained the same in the bottom of the fifth and Bond pitched a great frame to hold the Gophers scoreless and keep the contest alive to the sixth.
Albanese (5-5) was charged with the loss after allowing five runs on four hits and a walk in one-third inning. Bond surrendered eight runs (six earned) on six hits and six walks in 5.0 innings in the circle.
Tonz drove in three and Kuhn knocked in a pair to lead the Northwestern offense.
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