April 28, 2010
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Northwestern 6, Illinois-Chicago 1
Records: NU (22-19, 7-5 Big Ten), Illinois-Chicago (17-30, 10-6 Horizon League)
Next NU Event: May 1, 2010 -- vs. Penn State (Evanston, Ill.), 1 p.m. CT (Big Ten Network)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern used a four-run, five-hit fourth inning Wednesday afternoon at Sharon J. Drysdale Field to pull away from Illinois-Chicago in a midweek nonconference clash, eventually dousing the Flames, 6-1.
Northwestern improves to 22-19 overall on the season with its win while Illinois-Chicago now is 17-30 on the year with its loss.
Illinois-Chicago jumped on the board first in the top of the first inning on a one-out solo home run. A single and a double followed later in the frame, but Northwestern starter Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) kept the damage to one run.
In the bottom half of the first, Wildcat freshman Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) reached base on a one-out infield single before stealing second. Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) drew walks behind Scharkey to load the bases with one down, then Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) drove a single back through the middle to score both Scharkey and Monka and push the Wildcats into the lead, 2-1.
All was quiet again until the Northwestern half of the fourth inning, thanks in part to Delaney setting the UIC side down in order in both the second and fourth. With one down in the fourth, Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos) crushed a ball directly at the third baseman, who threw up her glove more in self defense than actual defense. The ball ricocheted into left field for a single, preceding an infield single for Robin Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King).
With runners now at first and second, Emily Allard
(Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) snuck an 0-2 grounder past the shortstop for an RBI single, scoring Wheeler and moving Thompson to second while making the score 3-1. Thompson and Allard then executed a perfect double steal -- NU's first of the season -- before Monka slotted a grounder perfectly between third and short for a two-run single to push the Wildcats' advantage to four, 5-1. The hit knocked UIC starter Devin Miller out of the circle in favor of Ashley Hewett.
Pauly immediately worked a walk from Hewett before Batts blooped a single into right to plate Monka and make it a 6-1 game before UIC got out of the inning. Allard's steal in the frame was her 30th of the year, making her the first Wildcat with 30 stolen bases in a single season since Mikeal Chambers had 31 in 1999.
"I really liked our approach today, both at the plate and in the circle," head coach Kate Drohan said. "We advanced runners and drove them in, and Lauren pitched very well."
Delaney made quick work of the Flames in the top of the fifth, but UIC battled her in the sixth. The leadoff Flame reached base via an error before moving to second on a single. Those runners would end up at second and third later on, but Delaney ended the inning with a harmless comebacker. After Northwestern did not score in its half of the sixth, Delaney finished off the game in expedient fashion, getting a double play for the final two outs.
Delaney (11-12) earned the win, going 7.0 innings and allowing one run on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Batts led NU at the plate with a 2-for-3 day, driving in three runs. Monka knocked in a pair and scored twice.
Northwestern returns to action at 1 p.m. CT Saturday, May 1, against Penn State at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. The game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network and will feature festivities surrounding Wildcat Women's Sport Reunion Weekend and Scout Day activities.
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