April 13, 2011
WATCH: Game Highlights
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Drysdale Field)
Score: Northwestern 4, Michigan State 2
Records: NU (20-11, 2-4 Big Ten), Michigan State (21-18, 3-7 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: April 16, 2011 -- at Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), 2 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Junior Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) broke a 1-1 tie with a fifth-inning home run in the second game of a Wednesday doubleheader against Michigan State at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, putting Northwestern in the lead for good during a 4-2 win for the Wildcats.
With the win, Northwestern improves to 20-11 overall on the season, 2-4 in the Big Ten. Michigan State now is 21-18 on the year, 3-7 in the conference with its loss.
Michigan State got a pair of leadoff singles in the top of the first against NU starter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja), who then promptly fanned the next two batters to help escape the inning.
Northwestern put together the first big scoring threat in the bottom of the second. Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) was hit by a one-out pitch before moving all the way to third when Albanese crushed a two-out single to right. Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos) then sent a hard liner toward short where the fielder leapt and gloved it to prevent any NU runs in the frame.
Michigan State scored the game's first run in the top of the third, turning a pair of two-out walks into a tally on a two-out single. On that play, catcher Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) took the throw to the plate and quickly fired to Robin Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) at third to put out the trail runner and end the inning with the score 1-0.
The Spartans did well to keep the Wildcats off the board with solid defense. Bast, Wheeler and Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) all fell victim to crushed line drives finding their way directly into MSU mitts at various stages of the game. In the bottom of the fifth, NU finally broke through. Wheeler led off with a solid grounder back through the middle before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza). Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) then drove in Wheeler by driving a pitch back through the circle and into center to tie the game, 1-1.
Allard stole second after that base knock which extended her current hitting streak to 22 games -- two shy of the all-time NU record -- before, one out later, Monka committed assault against Welsh-Ryan Arena with a thunderous home run off the wall of the building beyond left-center to put Northwestern on top, 3-1. The blast was Monka's team-leading ninth of the year and the 40th of her career.
Michigan State tried to fight back in the bottom of the sixth, getting runners to second and third with one out. Albanese induced a grounder back to herself, though, starting a 1-3-2 inning-ending double play when Monka alertly fired home to get the lead runner trying to score on the grounder.
Northwestern added some insurance in the bottom of the sixth. Albanese and Wheeler both earned two-out singles, with Lauren Ackerman (St. Louis, Mo./Home schooled) entering to run at second for Albanese. Scharkey then hit a texas-leaguer single into right field that brought home Ackerman and made NU's lead three, 4-1.
Michigan State added a run with a solo homer to lead off the seventh, but Albanese closed things out from there.
Albanese (6-4) picked up the complete game victory, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks with two strikeouts.
Albanese and Wheeler both went 2-for-3 at the plate for NU while Monka drove in a pair.
Northwestern returns to action at 2 p.m. CT Saturday, April 16, at Iowa. Game two of the Wildcats vs. Hawkeyes series will be televised live on the Big Ten Network at 1 p.m. CT Sunday, April 17.
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