April 16, 2009
CHICAGO -- Sophomore Jessica Smith (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) was brilliant in her first start of the season Thursday at Loyola (Chicago), scattering five hits to throw her second-career shutout in a 6-0 win for No. 10 Northwestern.
Northwestern's record improves to 26-8 overall with the win while Loyola (Chicago) falls to 20-16 with its loss.
Smith allowed just one walk and struck out one in the complete-game effort. She suffered an injury during the offseason that kept her out of action until she made her season debut with a scoreless inning versus Indiana on April 4.
In the top of the first, senior Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) reached on a one-out bunt single before moving to third when freshman Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) ripped a ground-rule double to right center. Sophomore Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) executed a perfect squeeze bunt to bring home Williams, reaching first when the play went to the plate. Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Monka and make it a 2-0 NU lead.
Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) then stepped to the plate and clubbed a home run to left field to increase that cushion to four, 4-0. Dyer now has 11 home runs on the season and 40 for her career, becoming the third Wildcat in school history to reach the 40 home run plateau.
Smith was dealing from the start, needing just five pitches to set the Loyola side down in order in the bottom of the first.
With the score still 4-0 in the top of the fifth, Monka ripped her third hit of the game over the fence for a solo home run and a 5-0 Northwestern lead. Monka has a team-best 13 home runs on the season.
After Smith scattered a pair of hits in the bottom of the fifth to keep the Ramblers scoreless through five, Loyola replaced starter Hilary Payne (1-2) with Amy Solava in the circle. Except for a walk to pinch hitter Emily Haug (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias), Solava kept NU off the base paths.
Williams and Monka led off the top of the seventh with walks from Solava, moving up a bag one out later on a wild pitch. Pauly then worked a walk of her own to load the bases before another wild pitch allowed Williams to score to account for the final 6-0 tally.
Monka was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, and now has hit safely in seven-consecutive at-bats to tie the NU school record set by Stephanie Churchwell in 2005. That streak also currently is tied for 12th-longest in NCAA history. Pauly went 2-for-2, Williams scored twice and Erin Dyer drove in two.
Northwestern returns to action at 1 p.m. CT Saturday, April 18, at Purdue.