April 29, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State did not throw a single strike to reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Garland Cooper (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) Saturday afternoon at Old College Field, and No. 14 Northwestern made the Spartans pay. Cooper scored three times, senior Jamie Dotson (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) drove in three runs and freshman Tammy Williams (El Dorado Springs, Mo./Osceola) knocked in a pair in a 9-4 Wildcat victory.
Winners of 10 straight, the Wildcats improve to 35-10 overall on the year, 13-2 in the Big Ten. Michigan State falls to 33-21 on the season, 8-8 in the conference.
Northwestern senior Courtnay Foster (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) took the ball to start the game for the Wildcats despite feeling very much under the weather. She struck out the first two batters she faced before Michigan State took an early 1-0 lead on a two-out solo home run.
The Wildcats equalized immediately in the first. Junior Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol) ripped a single to lead off the inning, then moved to second when Cooper earned a four-pitch walk. One out later, both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch.
Dotson then blooped a single into left field to score Logan and move Cooper to third, knotting the score, 1-1. Senior Kristen Amegin (West Sacramento, Calif./Elk Grove) followed with an RBI single into left to score Cooper and give Northwestern the lead, 2-1.
The Spartans tied the game again with back-to-back doubles to lead off the top of the second.
In the top of the third, Michigan State added two more runs on a two-out home run to take a 4-2 lead. The Wildcats replaced Foster with junior Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) in the circle after the blast.
The Wildcats tied the game again in the fourth. With one out, sophomore Darcy Sengewald
(Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way East) lined a double into right-center field, then scored when Logan hit a bizarre ground-rule double. She laced a ball towards third base that blasted Caitlin Mahoney in fair territory and shot into the Spartan dugout, awarding Sengewald home and Logan second.
Another intentional walk to Cooper followed by a fielder's choice by Williams that erased Logan at third put runners on first and second with two outs. Dotson then hit a hard grounder up the middle that took a bad hop and busted shortstop Meghan Darhower in the shoulder before bounding away for a single scoring Cooper from second and tying the game, 4-4.
Northwestern grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, freshman Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) hit her first-career triple off the very top of the wall in right field. Junior Jessica Miller (Elberfeld, Ind./Techumseh) followed with a pinch-hit walk, then was lifted as senior Ashley Crane (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake) re-entered the game to run at first.
Sengewald gave the 'Cats the lead with an RBI groundout to shortstop, plating Dyer to make the score 5-4. A single to left from Logan put runners on first and third with two outs, and again Michigan State decided to intentionally walk Cooper -- this time to load the bases.
Cooper now has 16 intentional walks in her career, tying her for seventh in NCAA Division I history with Megan Evans (Virginia Tech, 2002-05). She was given first base intentionally five times in the series against Michigan State.
Williams made the Spartans pay, lacing a single into right field to score both Crane and Logan. Dotson then singled up the middle for her third hit of the game to score Cooper and make the Wildcats' lead four, 8-4.
Cooper was walked every time she came to the plate -- three times intentionally and one of the unintentional, intentional variety. She scored three times in the game, including after each of the last two intentional passes.
The Wildcats tacked more onto their lead in the sixth. Senior Sheila McCorkle (Costa Mesa, Calif./Mater Dei) led off the frame with a single, then stole second. Darhower continued to have a rough series at short, committing her third error in two games on a ground ball by Dyer to allow McCorkle to run home and make the score 9-4.
Logan finished the game 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Dotson was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Williams was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Every Wildcat starter had a hit, an RBI or a run scored.
Canney (17-5) earned the win with 4.1 innings of two-hit, scoreless relief. She struck out four and walked none. Foster struck out four over 2.2 innings of work.
Northwestern returns to action at 11 a.m. CT tomorrow, Sunday, April 30 at Michigan.