April 15, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 13 Northwestern used a five-run fourth inning and a one-hit, 13-strikeout effort from sophomore Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) to take down the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, 5-0, Tuesday afternoon at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.
The win improves Northwestern to 24-10 overall on the season, while Notre Dame falls to 26-13 with its loss. The Wildcats have defeated the Fighting Irish in the last seven meetings between the programs.
The Fighting Irish put together the game's first serious threat in the top of the second inning, getting runners to second and third with one out on a hit by pitch from NU starter Delaney, a Wildcats' error and a sacrifice bunt. Delaney struck out the next batter looking before the runner on third tried to take home on a passed ball, but catcher Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) gathered the ball from the backstop and fired to Delaney covering in time to apply the tag and end the inning.
Northwestern pushed the game's first -- and fifth -- runs across in the bottom of the fourth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. To start, junior Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) beat out a one-out infield single before stealing second with freshman Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) at the plate. After Notre Dame starter Brittney Bargar walked Batts (who was replaced by sophomore pinch runner Ashley Lafever (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley)), sophomore Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) shot a single back up the middle to score Williams from second and give NU a 1-0 lead. Lafever ended up on third and Pauly took second on the throw home.
Bargar then issued a walk to Erin Dyer
to load the bases still with one out before Dyer's younger sister, sophomore Kelly Dyer
(Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport), lined a single into right field to plate both Lafever and Pauly. The sisters Dyer took second and third on the throw to the plate, then came around to score when sophomore Emily Haug
(Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) sent a soaring double to the track in left center, giving the Wildcats a 5-0 advantage. Sophomore pinch runner Aly Euler
(River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest) replaced Haug at second, but the big frame would end there.
The Irish replaced Bargar (20-8) in the circle with Jody Valdivia to begin the bottom of the fifth. After a scoreless frame, Northwestern loaded the bases against Valdivia in the bottom of the sixth, getting a single from Haug, a walk to pinch hitter Jessica Rigas (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest) and an Irish error on a grounder by freshman Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos), but no Wildcats' runs came across in the frame.
Notre Dame never really threatened after the second inning, with Delaney setting down 17-consecutive Irish batters to end the game following NU's error in the second frame --although what would have been the final out reached first on a dropped third strike. Delaney then fanned the next batter for good measure.
The only hit she allowed was a first-inning single deep into the hole at short, and 11 of those 17-straight outs came via the whiff. She finished with 13 strikeouts total against one hit and one hit batter in the game, improving her record on the year to 22-6 to tie her with current volunteer assistant coach Courtnay Foster (2005) and Michele Hawkins (1993) for the No. 10 spot on NU's single-season wins list.
The shutout was her 10th of the season, tying her with Eileen Canney (2007) for the No. 9 spot on the NU single-season list in that category.
Pauly and Haug both finished 2-for-3 on the day, while Haug and Kelly Dyer drove in two each for the 'Cats.
Northwestern returns to action at 4 p.m. CT Friday, April 18, against Big Ten foe Indiana at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.