May 17, 2014
SEATTLE -- Northwestern fought its way into the NCAA Seattle Regional championship game Saturday while No. 8 Washington run-ruled its way into the title match, and that force proved to be the difference as the Huskies run-ruled the Wildcats, 9-0 (5), to advance to the NCAA Super Regional.
Northwestern concludes its season with a 35-18 overall record after advancing to its sixth NCAA Regional championship game in the last 10 years. Washington improves to 36-13 with its win and will face the winner of the Gainesville Region in the Super Regional round next weekend. These two teams met previously during the regular season at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., where the Wildcats earned a 4-2 win over the then-No. 3 Huskies.
Washington opened the scoring Saturday with a two-out rally in the top of the first. With two outs and nobody on, the Huskies dangerous middle of the order were patient and drew a couple of walks before a single through the right side of the infield put the seeded squad up 1-0. With runners at second and third later in the frame, Northwestern starter Kristen Wood (Trevor, Wis./Wilmot Union) got her second strikeout of the frame to strand those Huskies on base.
Northwestern put two runners on with two outs in the first and second innings, getting a leadoff single from Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) and a two-out walk by Andrea DiPrima (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) in the first before Washington escaped. In the second, Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) and Julia Kuhn (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) each drew two-out walks, but again the Huskies and their ace Kaitlin Inglesby escaped harm.
Washington got a leadoff runner aboard in the third on a line-drive single off the hip of Wood, who remained in the game after consultation and some test pitches. Later in the frame, Mari Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire) turned a double play from left field when she ran in to glove a dying fly ball and fired quickly behind the runner to double her off at second. Washington followed, however, with a two-out solo home run to extend its lead to 2-0.
Washington tallied another run in the top of the fourth with a one-out double, then later in the frame with two on and one still out, senior Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) entered the circle in relief of Wood. Albanese - who defeated Washington with a complete-game four-hitter in that Nutter matchup - got a groundout and a strikeout of the fearsome Huskies' cleanup batter to strand two in scoring position and keep NU's deficit at three runs.
Washington, which run-ruled Iona 8-0 (6) in the opening round and BYU 9-0 (5) in the winner's bracket matchup, kept that momentum going with a run-scoring walk and a grand slam in the fifth to make the score 9-0. NU entered freshman Nicole Bond (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) into the circle after the blast, and she retired the first two batters she saw to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Allard led off with her second single of the game, then swiped second for the second time in the game. Majam joined Allard on base with an infield single to short that kept Allard at second, then Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) gave a ball a ride to deep left center, but it was caught at the warning track for the first out. From there, Washington again escaped to end the Regional.
Wood (19-11) took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Albanese went 1.0 innings of relief, allowing six runs on three hits and four walks with two strikeouts. Bond retired the only two batters she faced with one K.
Allard led the NU offense in her final game in Purple with two hits and two stolen bases.
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