May 4, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Sharon J. Drysdale Field)
Score: Minnesota 4, Northwestern 3
Records: NU (22-17, 4-10 Big Ten), Minnesota (30-21, 8-8 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: May 7, 2011 -- vs. Indiana (Drysdale Field), 1 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern twice came back from deficits in the second game of a Wednesday doubleheader against Minnesota at Sharon J. Drysdale Field, but a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning proved to be the difference in a 4-3 loss for the Wildcats.
With the loss, Northwestern falls to 22-17 overall on the season, 4-10 in the Big Ten. Minnesota now is 30-21 on the year, 8-8 in the conference with its win.
Northwestern starter Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) worked out of a jam in the top of the first inning when Minnesota got runners to second and third with two outs. The next batter hit a soft liner to Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) at second to end the inning. The Gophers did get on the board in the top of the second with a leadoff home run. Then, later in the inning, a Gopher hit a hard liner right back at Albanese that ricocheted off her and into right-center field for a run-scoring single. The freshman hurler shook off the comebacker, immediately inducing a weak roller to Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) at short to end the inning with the score 2-0.
In the bottom of the second, Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos) notched a solid one-out single into right field one game after a career-best 13-game hitting streak came to an end. Kelly Quinn (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) would later reach on a two-out error, but no runs came of the runners for NU.
Northwestern loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third on back-to-back leadoff bunt singles for Allard and Robin Thompson
(Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) before an intentional walk to Adrienne Monka
(Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga). At that point, Minnesota replaced game two starter Alissa Koch with game one winner Sara Moulton.
Bast greeted Moulton with an immediate two-run single to drive home Allard and Thompson and knot the game, 2-2. Freshman Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) entered the lineup to run for Monka at second, then the inning continued with a throwing error trying to get the lead runner on a ground ball from Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North), resulting in the bases being loaded again with no outs. Nothing further crossed the plate for NU, though, leaving the game tied going to the fourth inning.
Minnesota regained the lead, 3-2, in the top of the fourth after an error with runners at first and third. In the top of the fifth, the Gophers got runners to first and second with two outs, prompting head coach Kate Drohan to insert Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) into the circle in relief of Albanese. Lamberth needed just a single pitch to retire the side and send NU to the bottom of the fifth still down by one.
The two teams traded 1-2-3 innings before Kristin Scharkey (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza), Allard and Thompson showcased the speed of a Wildcat with back-to-back-to-back infield singles to load the bases in the bottom of the sixth. Monka stepped to the plate and crushed a grounder right at the shortstop, who had no choice but to throw to first while everyone else advanced and Scharkey crossed the plate on the RBI groundout to tie the game again, 3-3, heading to the seventh.
Minnesota retook the lead with a one-out solo home run in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) led off with a solid single to left center before Lamberth successfully sacrificed her to second. Majam moved to third on a Quinn groundout, then Scharkey worked a stoic full-count walk but the game ended after that with no new NU runs on the board.
Lamberth (8-2) took the loss, throwing 2.1 innings in relief and allowing one run on one hit with one strikeout. Albanese threw 4.2 innings and received no decision, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
Allard had three hits for the second game in a row, recording her 12th outing this year with three or more base knocks. Thompson had two hits for NU while Bast drove in a pair.
Northwestern returns to action at 1 p.m. CT Saturday, May 7, against Indiana at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Immediately following the game, the Wildcats will host their fifth-annual PURPLE AUCTION in Welsh-Ryan Arena. Click on the link to register or to donate items for the auction; it's not too late!
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