April 20, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 13 Northwestern took dominance to the next level Sunday in the second game of a doubleheader against Purdue at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, run-ruling the Boilermakers, 8-0, in five innings to complete a four-game sweep of its Big Ten weekend -- all in run-rule games lasting just five innings.
The win puts Northwestern into a tie with Michigan for first place in the Big Ten standings with a 13-1 record. The Wildcats now are 28-10 overall on the season. Purdue's loss drops it to 30-16 on the year, 6-6 in the conference.
Northwestern defeated Indiana by scores of 11-0 and 13-0 Friday and Saturday before defeating Purdue, 10-2, in five-inning fashion during Sunday's first game. The feat is the first time NU has had four run-rule wins in a single Big Ten weekend in program history. In 1985, Northwestern run-ruled Ohio State in three games of a four-game series, but that is the closest the Wildcats have ever come in the past.
Last season at the Tiger Invitational in Missouri, Northwestern run-ruled Western Illinois, Columbia (Mo.) and Missouri twice in a four-game stretch.
Northwestern jumped all over Purdue in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos) led off with a double into left center, then junior Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) drew a walk from Purdue starter Dana Alcocer (16-10). A passed ball moved both runners up a base, then freshman Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) lifted a fly ball to deep center to plate Wheeler and move Williams to third with a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) then drove in Williams with a laser-beam double down the line in left. A single by Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) moved Pauly to third, then pinch runner Ashley Lafever (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) replaced Dyer at first. On a steal attempt by Lafever, the Purdue catcher sailed a throw into center when no one covered the second-base bag, allowing Pauly to trot home for a 3-0 NU lead.
The Wildcats added to their lead in the bottom of the third when Pauly led off the proceedings with a majestic home run over the fence in right to make the score 4-0. The blast was Pauly's seventh of the season and the 21st of her career, giving her sole possession of fifth place on NU's all-time list.
In the bottom of the fourth, freshman Robin Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) led off with a single up the middle, then motored around to third when Wheeler also singled up the middle. Wheeler took second on the throw to third, then came around to score behind Thompson when Williams ripped a single into center to make the NU advantage six, 6-0.
Northwestern walked off with the five-inning win in the bottom of the fifth when Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) led off with a double followed by the first home run of Thompson's career two outs later to complete the 8-0 victory.
Sophomore Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) picked up her 12th shutout of the season, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out seven. She now is 26-6 on the season.
Wheeler, Williams, Pauly and Thompson all recorded two hits in the game, with Wheeler, Pauly and Thompson all scoring twice. Williams, Pauly and Thompson drove in two runs each.
Northwestern returns to action at 3 p.m. CT Tuesday, April 22, against Illinois-Chicago at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.