April 30, 2014
CHICAGO -- Northwestern fought back from an early deficit Wednesday in a nonconference game at DePaul, but the Blue Demons eventually pulled away to run their current winning streak to 19 games with a 9-3 decision over the Wildcats.
Northwestern falls to 29-15 overall on the season with its loss while DePaul improves to 37-8 with its victory. The home team has won in this series every year dating to 2006 when the Wildcats swept a doubleheader in Lincoln Park en route to a second-place finish at the Women's College World Series that year.
DePaul took the game's first lead with a leadoff home run from its starting pitcher Kirsten Verdun in the bottom of the first against Northwestern starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union). The Wildcats then waited Verdun out in the top of the second when Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) and Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) drew walks and both Olivia Duehr (Antioch, Ill./Antioch) and Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) were struck by pitches to force in the tying run with pure patience and no base hits.
DePaul hit replay in the bottom of the second to retake the lead, 2-1, on another leadoff homer. The Blue Demons would eventually load the bases and tack on two more runs on a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly before Wood ended the rally with her third strikeout in the now 4-1 game.
Freshman Nicole Bond (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) entered the circle in relief for Northwestern in the bottom of the third and tossed an eight-pitch 1-2-3 frame. She got help on a leaping line drive catch from Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) at third and a diving line drive snag by Edwards at short.
NU seized on the momentum of those plays to surge back into the game in the fourth. Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) led things off with a single before being erased on a Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) fielder's choice grounder. Duehr followed the Tonz play with her second walk of the game, then both Wildcats moved up a base when Majam nearly reached on a perfect sacrifice bunt. Now with two outs in the frame, senior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) softly served a single into left center to drive both teammates in and cut the Northwestern deficit to 4-3.
Though the inning would end with no further runs across, Allard swiped second for her 26th stolen base of the year and her 144th of her career, giving her solo possession of 23rd on the NCAA Division I all-time steals list.
After another strong Bond inning in the circle, Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) led off the fifth with a single before tough luck struck when an Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) line drive went right back to the pitcher resulting in a double play. Though Edwards would single with two outs, the next batter hit a fly ball to deep left that the ballpark held to end the threat.
This time it was DePaul capitalizing at the plate after a strong defensive inning when it added three to its total in the fifth to go ahead 7-3 heading to the sixth frame.
Majam and Allard had back-to-back two-out singles in the sixth but were stranded on base, then DePaul notched its final runs of the game to complete the scoring.
Wood (16-7) took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 2.0 innings. Bond went 4.0 innings in relief, giving up five runs (four earned) on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts.
Allard led NU at the plate with two hits, two RBIs and a steal.
Northwestern returns to action on Senior Weekend May 2-4 against Michigan State at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. A full preview of the weekend will be released Thursday at NUsports.com.
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