May 2, 2014
Northwestern 8, Michigan State 0 (5)
Evanston, Ill. Sharon J. Drysdale Field
Box Score | Box Score
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern shone in the circle, in the batter's box and in the field Friday en route to an 8-0 (5) run-rule win over Michigan State at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.
Northwestern improves to 30-15 overall on the season with its victory, 12-9 in the Big Ten. NU now has had 30-win seasons in nine of the 13 years in the Drohan era. Michigan State falls to 12-34 with its loss, 4-17 in the conference. The two teams meet again at 1 p.m. CT Saturday, May 3, with NU's eighth-annual Purple Auction following immediately in Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) worked her way out of two jams in the first two innings Friday. In the first frame, Michigan State got runners to the corners with one out and in the second the Spartans had runners at second and third with one down. Both times, Wood got strikeouts for the second out of the inning before coaxing easy outs on the infield to keep MSU scoreless.
After NU threatened with a pair of runners aboard in the second inning, its Seniors started a four-run breakout on the scoreboard in the third. With one out, senior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) shot a single back through the middle and stole second base. Senior Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) then ripped her own single into center that brought Allard around and ended with Majam moving to second on the throw to the plate. Senior Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) followed with a speeding bullet down the line in left for an RBI double that made the score 2-0.
The inning continued with an Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) walk and an Anna Edwards (La Canada, Calif./La Canada) double over the head of the right fielder that pushed Bast home and moved DiPrima to third. Still with one out, Brianna LeBeau (Worth, Ill./H.L. Richards) was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Andrea Filler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) lifted a fly ball to right that was caught for a sacrifice fly and a 4-0 Northwestern lead.
Senior Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) made a bid to break the game super wide open with two outs on a deep fly ball to left, but the MSU fielder reached up and over the fence to rob a homer and end the inning.
After Wood escaped an adventurous fourth with her fifth strikeout of the game to strand two more Spartans base runners, Northwestern added a run to its tally. Just like in the third, Allard got things going with a one-out single. This time she moved to second on a passed ball, but that was the only difference as Majam pounded a single to center to score her classmate and make it a 5-0 game.
Wood left two more Spartans on base in the top of the fifth when she ended the frame with her sixth strikeout of the contest, giving her an even 200 Ks on the year. Her 2014 campaign marks the 16th 200 strikeout season by an NU pitcher in program history.
With Northwestern controlling all three phases of the game, LeBeau led off the final frame with an opposite-field home run into the NU football team seated in the right-field bleachers. The shot was LeBeau's team-leading ninth of the year and gave NU a 6-0 lead. Filler followed with a full-count walk and was replaced by pinch runner Krista Williams (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley), then Tonz also drew a walk and also gave way to a pinch runner: Fran Strub (Coralville, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana).
Senior Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) pinch hit in that moment and a drove a single into left field to drive home Williams. Allard then beat out her third single of the game to load the bases before Majam earned a game-ending walk.
Wood (17-6) earned the two-hit shutout victory, working around a number of base runners while allowing no runs on two hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5.0 innings.
Allard led NU at the plate with a 3-for-4 day, scoring twice, while Majam finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Bast collected a pair of hits with one run and one RBI.
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