May 20, 2012
Site: Austin, Texas (McCombs Field)
Score: No. 6 seed Texas 5, Northwestern 0
Records: NU (29-28), Texas (45-11)
Next NU Event: May 20, 2012 -- vs. No. 6 seed Texas (McCombs Field), Immediately
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 6 seed Texas took advantage of several Northwestern miscues to plate three unearned runs in the Austin Regional Championship round Sunday at McCombs Field, forcing an if necessary game with a 5-0 win over the Wildcats.
Northwestern (29-28) previously defeated Texas, 2-0, Friday in the opening round of the Regional, sending the Longhorns (45-11) to the loser's bracket where they won their way into Sunday's action. Because NU advanced via the winner's bracket, Texas' win forces an "if necessary" game immediately in this double elimination Regional.
Freshman Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) earned the start in the circle for Northwestern, needing 10 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 top of the first. Both she and two-time Texas All-America pitcher Blaire Luna traded zeroes through the first two innings, then Texas got on the board with a two-out solo home run in the top of the third. The next batter in that frame singled, but catcher Paige Tonz (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) hosed her trying to steal second to end the game.
Northwestern had little success offensively in its first trip through the order, though it did see a lot of pitches, forcing Luna to throw 55 through three innings.
Texas would add three to its total in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of some uncharacteristic Wildcats' mistakes that crept into the contest. After two one-out singles in the inning, an error, a fielder's choice ball that resulted in no out and a run followed by a run-scoring wild pitch make it a 4-0 game. Letourneau was able to get the second out on a pop up before Meghan Lamberth (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) entered the circle with the top of the order due. With the bases loaded, Lamberth got Texas' best hitter, Lexy Bennett, to ground out harmlessly to third to strand her inherited runners.
Northwestern got its first hit and base runners of the game in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Adrienne Monka (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) strong armed a single into center before Marisa Bast (Orange, Calif./Villa Park) was hit by a pitch. After Tonz flexed into the lineup to run for Monka, a great wild pitch recovery from the Texas catcher resulted in a rundown and the final out of the inning.
Lamberth was very strong in relief, allowing her only base runner through the sixth inning on a fifth-inning error. She worked a perfect top of the sixth with the help of an amazing Bast snare of a line drive in foul territory. In the bottom of the sixth, junior Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) reached on a two-out single and stole second base, the 116th steal of her career to put her two shy of the NU all-time record. The Wildcats were unable to bring her in, though, keeping the score 4-0 to the seventh.
Sophomore Sammy Albanese (Belmont, Calif./Castilleja) entered the circle to throw in the top of the seventh. After the leadoff batter doubled and got to third on a wild pitch, Albanese recorded the next two outs before a triple to right made it a 5-0 contest.
Bast drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh to reach base for the second time in the game, but Northwestern could not mount a further comeback.
Letourneau (13-10) took the loss, going 3.2 innings in the start and allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk with a strikeout. Lamberth stranded her two inherited runners in relief, going 2.1 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. Albanese pitched the seventh, giving up one run on two hits with a K.
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