April 21, 2013
Site: University Park, Pa. (Beard Field)
Score: Northwestern 2, Penn State 1
Records: NU (25-16, 9-5 B1G), Penn State (11-30, 2-14 B1G)
Next NU Event: April 24, 2013 -- at Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.), 3 p.m. CT doubleheader
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- One game after both teams combined for 31 runs at Beard Field, Northwestern defeated Penn State, 2-1, Sunday to sweep the series against the Nittany Lions.
NU earns its second Big Ten sweep of the year with its win, moving to 25-16 overall on the year and 9-5 in the conference. Penn State now is 11-30 on the year, 2-14 in the league after its loss. The game marked the first time in their last 11 contests that the Wildcats failed to score at least seven runs; still, NU earned its fifth-straight victory.
In the bottom of the first, Penn State threatened to resume the meteoric scoring that occurred in Saturday's 17-14 track meet by loading the bases with one out. NU starter Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) got a strikeout and a grounder to Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) at third to escape the rally unscathed.
NU put together a little two-out rally in the top of the third on infield singles by Kristin Scharkey
(Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) and Mari Majam
(Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) that extended their respective hitting streaks to eight and 11 games. A nice play by the third baseman on a hard Bast grounder that resulted in the fielder gloving the ball while essentially laying on the bag forced out Scharkey to end the inning.
Penn State started the scoring in the bottom of the third with a two-out solo home run. After giving up the blast, Letourneau opened the top of the next inning with a double to right field, then gave way to pinch runner Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana). Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) roped a single down the line in left immediately to bring Strub around and knot the game, 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Penn State got runners to second and third with one out after a play involving a hit and a Wildcats' error. NU elected to intentionally walk PSU's top batter to load the bases and the strategy paid off when Letourneau fanned the next two batters to keep the game tied and run the Nittany Lions' left on base total to eight through four frames.
NU took advantage of the stop to take the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth. Bast started it when she was hit by a pitch before moving to second when Letourneau slotted her third base hit of the game through the left side of the infield. Edwards then placed a single back up the middle to bring Bast around for a 2-1 Wildcats' edge.
Penn State put together another two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth beginning with an NU error and continuing with a hit by pitch and walk to load the bases. The next Nittany Lion to the plate worked the count full before fouling off one payoff pitch, then Letourneau caught her looking to keep the Wildcats on top going to the seventh.
Scharkey and Majam began the seventh with infield singles, just as they did with two outs in the third. Again, just as it happened in the third, Bast smoked a grounder to third base that the fielder grabbed, this time leading to a double play. Letourneau then sent a drive into the gap in right center that the fielder dove and grabbed just over the grass to rob the sophomore of her fourth base hit and keep the Wildcats' lead at just one, 2-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, the leadoff batter walked before being erased at second on a fielder's choice ball up the middle to LeBeau. A single put runners at first and second with one out before Letourneau got a pinch hitter to pop out to Edwards at short. A ground ball to Edwards then ended it.
Letourneau (17-9) picked up all three wins on the weekend, going 7.0 complete Sunday and allowing one run on four hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts.
Letourneau had her fourth multi-hit game in a row with a 3-for-4 day at the plate including a double. Edwards was 2-for-3 with two RBIs while both Scharkey and Majam finished 2-for-4.
Northwestern next travels to Wisconsin for a 3 p.m. CT midweek doubleheader on Wednesday, April 24. The Wildcats' series with the Badgers originally was scheduled to take place March 27 before being rescheduled due to poor playing conditions in Madison.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!