April 22, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Senior Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) launched two of No. 11 Northwestern's five home runs Wednesday in a 6-4 win over Northern Illinois to break the Wildcats' all-time home run record with the 55th and 56th shots of her career.
Williams hit a two-run blast in the third inning to tie the mark of 55 set by Garland Cooper (2004-07) before sending a solo shot over the fence in the fifth to break the mark. She now has the second-most home runs in the history of the Big Ten Conference.
Northwestern improves to 28-9 overall on the year with the win while Northern Illinois falls to 11-32 with its loss.
After it took Northwestern starter Jessica Smith (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) just 16 pitches to set down the first six Huskies to the plate, Northwestern grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by senior Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport).
In the bottom of the third, Robin Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) dropped down her second bunt single of the game, moving to second when the throw to first on the play got away for an error. Williams then stepped up and launched her career-record-tying blast off the stairwell tube attached to Welsh-Ryan Arena in left center to give NU a 3-0 lead.
Northern Illinois put runs on the board in the top of the fourth inning. After a pair of one-out singles, the next Husky to the plate lined a double just inside the first-base foul line to score both and cut NU's lead to one, 3-2, before advancing to third on the throw. The next batter hit a grounder to Williams at short, who fired to Dyer at the plate to erase the Husky coming home and stem any further damage.
Northern Illinois was able to take the lead in the top of the fifth, tying the game on a solo home run before an RBI double following an NU error gave the Huskies a 4-3 edge. The hit prompted junior Lauren Delaney
(Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) to take over in the circle for Smith. Delaney retired the next two batters to end the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Williams stepped the plate and drilled her record-breaking home run over the fence in right center to knot the score, 4-4. The blast was her 14th of the season and also was the 300th base hit of the senior's career.
Northwestern continued to hit the long ball in the bottom of the sixth. Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) led off the frame with a solo home run to right center, then Dyer followed with her second home run of the game to nearly the same spot to give the Wildcats a 6-4 lead. Dyer now has 13 home runs on the season and 42 in her career. Pauly's blast gave her 10 homers on the year and 39 in her career.
Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) followed the homers with a line drive single into left center. She stole second and moved to third on a line out by Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos), but the inning would end there.
Erin Dyer was 2-for-2 in the game with two solo homers and a walk while both Williams and Thompson went 2-for-3. Williams drove in three runs and scored twice.
Delaney earned the win in relief, going 2.2 innings of scoreless relief and surrendering one hit with two strikeouts. Smith went 4.1 frames, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with no walks.
Northwestern returns to action at 5 p.m. CT Saturday in the first game of its weekend Big Ten series at Illinois.