May 17, 2009
WACO, Texas -- No. 13 Northwestern fought back several times in the final innings late Saturday night at the Waco Regional, but in the end bowed out of the 2009 NCAA Regional with a 3-2 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.
Northwestern finishes the season with 31-15 overall record. Weather delays pushed the Waco Regional schedule back, with the first game beginning at 8 p.m. and the first pitch of NU's game not coming until 10:36 p.m. CT.
Louisiana put the game's first run on the board in the bottom of the first. A bases-loaded grounder to short was brought home by Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) to catcher Erin Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport), who stretched out beautifully for it but the runner was called safe to give the Cajuns the early 1-0 advantage. A wild pitch with runners at second and third in the second frame brought another ULL runner home to make it 2-0.
The Cajuns put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the third on a single and a walk, then NU starter Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) got a nice double play to finish the frame. The batter at the plate hit a soft liner to the left side of the circle and Williams charged in from short to glove it just above the dirt before firing to first to double up the runner and end the inning.
Northwestern mounted its first rally of the game to kick off the fourth inning. Sophomore Robin Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) reached on an error on a bunt to begin the inning, motoring around to third when Williams singled deep into the hole in short and the ball bounded away in foul territory. Freshman Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) then lifted a Texas-leaguer into center that the second baseman could not find over her shoulder, falling for a single and driving in Thompson. Aly Euler (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest) entered to run for Monka at first.
(Bloomingdale, Ill./Glenbard North) successfully sacrificed both runners up a base, but the inning ended there with NU trailing, 2-1.
The Cajuns got that run back with a one-out sacrifice fly to left in the bottom of the fourth before the Wildcats fought back again in the fifth. Kelly Quinn (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) drew a one-out walk, then moved to third with two outs when the throw on a Thompson infield single got away at first. Williams followed with a line-shot single through the left side to plate Quinn and again make NU's deficit one, 3-2, before the frame finished.
Delaney came out and blew away the Cajuns in the bottom of the fifth, needing just eight pitches to retire the side in order.
Erin Dyer worked a two-out full count in the top of the sixth before looping a single into center to keep the inning going. Senior Ashley Lafever (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) entered to run for Dyer, whose sister, Kelly Dyer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport), hit a wicked hard comebacker that the pitcher was able to reach out and stab to prevent it from getting into center to end the inning.
Delaney again set the side down in order in the bottom of the sixth, with the third out coming on a vintage Williams play in the hole at short to nail a speedy slapper at first.
Pinch hitter Emily Haug (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias) led off the top of the seventh with a full-count walk, giving way to Quinn at first when she re-entered the game to run. An unsuccessful sacrifice attempt erased Quinn at second and put Jordan Wheeler (Garden Grove, Calif./Los Alamitos) at first. With Thompson at the plate, a ball got away from the catcher to move Wheeler to second. Thompson then grounded out to short, moving Wheeler to third with two outs.
Williams worked a full-count walk to put runners at the corners, but the inning would end there.
Delaney fired a one-hitter with four strikeouts but took the loss to finish the year at 29-12.
Williams was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk in her final game, while Thompson also had a pair of hits.
The game marked the conclusion of the storied careers of seniors Erin Dyer, Williams, Lafever and Jessica Rigas (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest).