April 22, 2012
Site: Bloomington, Ind. (IU Softball Field)
Score: Northwestern 8, Indiana 3
Records: NU (18-23, 6-8 Big Ten), Indiana (22-22, 6-8 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: April 22, 2012 -- at Indiana (IU Softball Field), Immediately
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With the wind howling in Sunday in the first game of a Big Ten doubleheader at Indiana, Northwestern showed its power prowess with a pair of deep home runs and seven total extra base hits that aided an 8-3 Wildcats' win.
Northwestern improves to 18-23 on the year with its win, 6-8 in the Big Ten. Indiana's record on the year evens at 22-22 and its conference record also is 6-8 after its loss.
Indiana loaded the bases in the bottom of the first on two singles and a two-out walk against Northwestern starter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja), but the sophomore showed quick reflexes in stabbing a comebacker to her throwing hand side to end the inning.
The Wildcats put a pair of runners on in the top of the second courtesy of a crushing double to right center from Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) and an Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) walk, but the Hoosiers also were able to stop the rally.
Indiana took a 1-0 lead in the second on a funky play that crossed up the umpires. With a runner at third and one out, the batter sent a fly ball to shallow center. Kristin Scharkey
(Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) charged in and made a lunging shoestring grab before firing to third to double off the runner who had taken off for the plate. The umpires initially ruled the play no catch before meeting and overturning that call to make the play out number two, but the run stood despite the throw behind the runner.
Northwestern fought back in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) beat out an infield single to start the rally before Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) secured a walk. Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) made a bid for a three-run home run, but the wind knocked it down and it was caught at the fence, allowing Allard to move up to third. Majam quickly stole the newly opened second base, then Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) crushed a double over the left fielder to push the Wildcats in front.
Indiana tied the game in the bottom of the third on a 1-6-3 run-scoring groundout before Northwestern blasted off in the top of the fourth. Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) led off the frame with a pinch-hit rocket to left for a single before DiPrima singled into the hole at short. With two freshmen on base, a third freshman -- Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) -- stepped to the plate and launched a deep drive into the teeth of the wind blowing in from left, sending it over the fence for her third home run of the year and a 5-2 NU lead.
Letourneau remained in the game to pitch in relief of Albanese, needing just eight pitches to get through a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth. Then, in the top of the fifth, Letourneau made 100 percent contact with an offering, unleashing an insanely hard-hit home run sky high to dead center that fought the wind hard enough to still land 20 yards beyond the fence for a two-run bomb and a 7-2 Northwestern lead. The shot was Letourneau's sixth of the season and it knocked in Bast, who was on base following a leadoff single.
The inning continued with a DiPrima one-out double over the centerfielder's head and a walk to Edwards, but Indiana was able to strand the additional Northwestern runners.
In the top of the sixth, Allard led off with a nifty single and Indiana elected to lift starter Lora Olson for Miranda Tamayo. The appearance was the first of Tamayo's career and the first at all since the freshman's junior year of high school after she missed her senior year due to injury. Majam greeted her with a ground ball that the fielder threw away for an error, allowing Allard to move to third and Majam to second. Tamayo recovered to earn a gold star in her debut, shutting down NU's 3-4-5 hitters to strand both Wildcats and keep it a 7-2 game.
Indiana got a run back in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out solo home run, but Northwestern countered with a score of its own in the seventh. With two outs, Edwards pounded a double to the fence in left, then scored when Scharkey beat out an infield single while the throw on the play sailed past first for an error, making it an 8-3 contest.
Letourneau needed just four pitches in a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh to finish off the contest.
Letourneau (9-7) earned the win in relief, going 4.0 innings and allowing just the solo home run and two walks with one strikeout. Albanese went 3.0 innings in her start, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk.
Northwestern pounded out 13 hits in the game, seven for extra bases. Allard, Bast, Letourneau, DiPrima, Edwards and Scharkey all collected two hits. Edwards drove in three and scored twice, Letourneau knocked home two and scored twice and Bast also had two RBIs.
Northwestern and Indiana return to action immediately in the second game of Sunday's series-ending doubleheader.
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! and subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter to receive 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!