May 1, 2013
Site: Chicago, Ill. (Flames Field)
Score: Northwestern 8, UIC 5
Records: NU (30-18), UIC (21-22)
Next NU Event: May 3, 2013 -- at No. 10 Michigan (Wilpon Complex), 5 p.m. CT
CHICAGO -- Northwestern plated five runs in the first inning and then withstood a late UIC rally Wednesday at Flames Field, earning its 30th win of the season with an 8-5 victory.
Northwestern improves to 30-18 overall on the season while running its current winning streak to five games. UIC now is 21-22 after its loss. The Flames are 14-4 in the Horizon League and will battle for their regular season title this weekend.
Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza) and Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) led off the game for Northwestern with back-to-back infield singles before sophomore Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) brought everybody home with a three-run blast to dead center to put NU up early, 3-0. The shot was Letourneau's 11th of the season and the 19th of her career.
After Letourneau's shot, Anna Edwards
(La Canada, Calif./La Canada) fired a single into left, Andrea DiPrima
(Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) drew a full count walk and Brianna LeBeau
(Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) rapped a bases-loading single. Then, with one out, catcher Paige Tonz
(Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) drove a two-strike pitch into the outfield gap to bring two home and give the 'Cats a quick 5-0 edge for starting pitcher Meghan Lamberth
Lamberth allowed a single base runner in each of the first and second innings but also ended those frames with strikeouts and zeroes on the scoreboard. NU then added a run in the top of the third, starting with a DiPrima double off the wall in left center. She moved to third on a Lamberth single that fell between the second baseman and right fielder for UIC. Tonz then lifted a fly ball to medium center field that was caught and DiPrima raced home to put Northwestern on top 6-0.
UIC put together a strong threat in the bottom of the third on a two-out single followed by a throwing error that put Flames on second and third. The next batter hit a sharp liner to LeBeau at second, where it was gloved proficiently and fired to Letourneau at first to end the inning.
NU again plated a run in the top of the fifth and nearly plated two if not for a strong defensive play from UIC. DiPrima led off with a single before Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) entered to run. Then, with one out, Lamberth doubled off the wall in left center and Strub motored around toward the plate, but a perfect relay nailed her for the second out. With Lamberth now on second, Tonz deposited a single into left to bring Lamberth in for a 7-0 NU lead on Tonz's second hit and career-best fourth RBI of the game.
Northwestern pushed the game into run-rule territory with another run in the sixth. Majam reached on her second single of the game before coming all the way around on Letourneau's first-career triple, this one landing just inside the line in right for an 8-0 NU lead.
Facing an early ending, UIC strung together a significant rally in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases before three-straight run-scoring singles and an RBI groundout cut NU's lead in half, 8-4, entering the seventh.
In that inning, Lamberth would give up a solo home run before nailing down the complete-game victory to move to 10-5 on the season, allowing five runs on 11 hits and no walk with five strikeouts.
Both Tonz and Letourneau drove in all eight of NU's runs in the game with four RBIs apiece. They joined Majam, DiPrima, LeBeau and Lamberth with two hits in the game. Majam and DiPrima both scored twice.
Northwestern returns to action in its final regular season series of the year May 3-5 at No. 10 Michigan. Friday's opening contest is set for 5 p.m. CT; Saturday (noon CT) and Sunday (11 a.m. CT) will be broadcast live on BTN.
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