May 9, 2009
MADISON, Wis. -- Junior Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) scattered five hits to earn a shutout and freshman Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) delivered a two-out, two-run double in the top of the seventh to lift No. 13 Northwestern past Wisconsin, 2-0, Saturday night at Goodman Diamond.
The win gives Northwestern a 31-13 record at the conclusion of the 2009 regular season. The Wildcats ended up 14-6 in the Big Ten, good for a third-place finish in the league race. Wisconsin finished its year with a 15-40 overall mark, 3-17 in the conference.
The Wildcats now await the NCAA Selection Show scheduled for 9 p.m. CT tomorrow, Sunday, May 10, on ESPNU to find out their NCAA Tournament draw. Northwestern's 44-game regular-season schedule hampered by multiple rainouts -- including a rare washout early in the year in the desert of Tempe, Ariz. -- is its shortest since playing 43 games in 2002 during the Drohans' first season in Evanston.
Delaney (29-10) scattered five hits and two walks and worked around a trio of Northwestern errors to record the blank slate. She fanned seven in the game to give her 306 strikeouts on the season.
In the top of the first inning Saturday, Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) drew a one-out walk before stealing second base for her 10th steal of the year and the 47th of her career, good for ninth in NU history. She would be erased later when the fourth ball to Monka got away from the catcher, who recovered in time to throw out Williams at third. No runs came across for NU in the first.
Delaney recorded the second out in the bottom of the frame by strikeout to reach 300 for year. This is her second-straight year reaching the 300-K plateau (she had 461 last season, the second-best total in school history), and marks the fifth time in school history an NU pitcher has fanned 300 in a season.
Northwestern got runners to second and third with two outs in the second thanks to some craziness that began with a Nicole Pauly
(Palatine, Ill./Palatine) leadoff single. Several fielder's choice balls, a botched run down and a double steal by Kelly Dyer
(Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) and Kelly Quinn
(Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) gave the Wildcats their runners in scoring position, but they would not score.
Wisconsin loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the third on a leadoff single, an NU error and a walk before Delaney got the next batter to hit a lazy can of corn to left on the very first pitch she saw to end the inning.
Michelle Batts (Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) led off the fourth with a sharp single back through the middle and into center before giving way to pinch runner Ashley Lafever (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) at first. A two-out walk drawn by Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) moved Lafever to second, then both runners moved up on a wild pitch, but again the inning ended with no Wildcats finding the plate.
Despite the plentiful base runners in the game, both Delaney and Wisconsin starter Leah Vanevenhoven did well to keep their opponents off the scoreboard through five innings. Wisconsin got a runner to second with two outs in the fifth before an error on a ball up the middle. The Badger who was at second took off for home, and Pauly corralled the loose ball and fired to Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) behind the plate to nail the runner and end the inning.
Monka led off the sixth by pounding a ball into the rock-hard dirt in front of the plate, one-hopping it all the way behind second base before it landed and bounded into center for a single. Pinch runner Aly Euler (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest) replaced Monka, then moved to second on a passed ball. Batts followed with a hard-hit grounder to second that was mishandled for an error, moving Euler to third.
Pauly then hit a grounder to short, and the fielder came home with the throw to get Euler trying to score for the first out of the inning. Vanevenhoven finished the inning with a pop out to center and a groundout to keep NU off the board.
Delaney stepped up her game in the sixth, striking out the side to surround a two-out infield single that Williams nearly made an unbelievable play on up the middle. Delaney totaled seven strikeouts through six innings for NU.
Pinch hitter Emily Haug (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) served a leadoff single into left in the top of the seventh, her 10th pinch hit of the season. Quinn re-entered the game to run for Haug at first, moving to second when Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos) laid down a sacrifice bunt. After another out, Wisconsin intentionally walked Williams with first base open to bring up NU's RBI leader Monka.
The freshman promptly smacked the second pitch she saw past the glove of a diving centerfielder in right-center for a two-run double to score both Quinn and Williams and give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. Monka now has 52 RBIs on the year, tying her with Jamie Dotson's 2005 total for third-best in NU single-season history.
The first Badger to the plate in the bottom of the seventh was hit by a pitch before a one-out infield single put runners at first and second. Both moved up on a wild pitch before Delaney got a foul out to Thompson at third on the very next pitch. Delaney then got an 0-2 comebacker that she calmly fired to first to end the game.
Monka finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the game while Batts also had a pair of singles for the Wildcats.