April 13, 2013
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Iowa 15, Northwestern 14
Records: NU (20-16, 5-5 B1G), Iowa (24-15, 3-7 B1G)
Next NU Event: April 14, 2013 -- vs. Iowa (Sharon J. Drysdale Field), Noon CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Trailing by nine runs and three outs from a run-rule loss in the fifth inning Saturday against Iowa at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, Northwestern stormed all the way back to tie the game, 12-12, in the sixth before succumbing in the seventh, 15-14.
Northwestern falls to 20-16 overall on the season and 5-5 in the Big Ten with its loss. Iowa now is 24-15 overall on the year, 4-7 in the conference.
Iowa started the scoring Saturday with a two-out solo home run in the top of the first against Northwestern starter Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) before Northwestern evened the contest in the same fashion in the second. Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) continued her torrid hitting in this series with a solo shot to lead off the frame, giving her five home runs in 10 Big Ten games, eight total on the season and 16 for her career.
The same big inning that proved to be Northwestern's downfall in Friday's game one struck again in the top of the third. Iowa used four hits, four walks and a pair of NU errors to bring seven runs home and take an 8-1 lead in the game. Another Wildcats error in the fourth led to two more runs and a 10-1 NU deficit.
Northwestern attempted to fight back a bit in the bottom of the fourth beginning when Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) tripled off the very top of the centerfield fence. The very next pitch hit Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) before Letourneau drew a four-pitch respect walk to load the bags with no outs. Iowa was able to escape with no damage, however, thanks to a pair of strikeouts and a Lamberth liner that was caught at second.
After a 1-2-3 top of the fifth for Iowa, Northwestern needed to score at least twice to avoid a run-rule decision. So the 'Cats batted around and plated six. Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) started the frame with a rifled double off the fence in left. She came all the way around to score when an Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) liner to center tipped off the top of the waiting fielder's glove for an error. Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) continued the inning with a hard single off the backhand attempt of the second baseman, moving Duehr to third before swiping second base herself. Majam followed with a slow grounder to short and the throw came home, but it was too late to get Duehr. Bast then lifted a fly ball to foul territory in left that was caught, though it was deep enough to allow Scharkey to scamper home to make the score 10-4.
Letourneau received another four pitch respect walk to put two on with one out in the frame before Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) delivered the big blow, a three-run home run off the scoreboard in left to bring NU back within three, 10-7.
Iowa took the NU punch and counter-attacked in the top of the sixth, forcing in a pair of runs with no outs before freshman Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) took the ball from Letourneau. Wood entered with an attitude, fanning the side in dominating fashion to strand all three of her inherited runners and keep the score 12-7.
NU continued pressing the offensive gas pedal in the sixth, batting around again. This time starting with a leadoff Duehr walk. Scharkey followed with a single into center before she was erased on a Majam fielder's choice ball that pushed Duehr to third. Bast then blasted a double into right that brought Duehr in and moved Majam to third before yet another four-pitch Letourneau walk loaded the bases.
Edwards again came through after the free pass to Letourneau, ripping an RBI single to right. Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) followed with a two-run single to right, then, with two outs, LeBeau improbably evened the score, 12-12, with a single past the second baseman. At that point, Iowa chose to lift starter Kayla Massey from the circle in favor of Micaela Whitney, who walked the bases loaded before finally ending the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Iowa put its two leadoff runners on via a walk and a single. The next batter grounded out to second but moved both runners up a bag before the fourth and fifth NU errors of the game allowed the Hawkeyes to regain the lead, 15-12.
In the bottom half, Bast roped a one-out single to right. Then, with two outs, Edwards again made it a one-run contest with a mammoth home run to left center - her second homer of the game, her seventh of the season and the 12th of her career. Iowa was able to hang out, however, to get the one-run win.
Edwards had the big day at the plate for NU with a career-best six RBIs and nine total bases on a 3-for-5 day. LeBeau had a career-best three hits, DiPrima was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Bast was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs, Scharkey had two hits, and Majam and Duehr each scored twice.
Lamberth allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in two-plus innings of work in her start. Letourneau, who entered the circle in relief during the third, went three-plus innings and gave up five runs (two earned) on three hits and five walks with four strikeouts.
Wood (0-3) ended up taking the loss, allowing three unearned runs in that seventh inning while going 2.0 frames and giving up one hit and two walks with five strikeouts.
Northwestern and Iowa return to action in the finale of this series at noon CT tomorrow, Sunday, April 14, at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.
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