May 21, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- No. 9 seed Northwestern bounced back from a dramatic loss to Notre Dame earlier in the day to eliminate Louisville, 8-2, Saturday evening at the NCAA Ninth Regional at Ivy Field and advance to Sunday's championship action.
Northwestern improves its overall record to 40-16 with the win, while Louisville closes its season with a 43-20 mark. The Wildcats reach the 40-win plateau for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 1987.
Northwestern will return to action on championship Sunday for a rematch with Notre Dame beginning at noon CT. The Wildcats must defeat the Irish twice to advance to the Super Regional.
Louisville earned the right to play Northwestern after launching two bottom-of-the-seventh home runs to stun the University at Albany, 5-4, in the day's first elimination game.
Contrary to its first two tournament games, Northwestern scored first against the Cardinals. Sophomore Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol) continued her stellar weekend, working a full-count walk with one out in the third inning. She moved up to second when freshman Stephanie Churchwell (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) singled up the middle.
Senior Erin Mobley (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) then ripped a single down the first-base line and Logan came all the way around to score. Churchwell advanced to third, and the throw from the Louisville right fielder got past third base, allowing Churchwell to trot home for a 2-0 NU lead. Mobley advanced to second on the throw.
Sophomore Garland Cooper (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) made the score 3-0 with a line-shot double into right-center field, plating Mobley from second.
Cooper's hit extended her current team-best hitting streak to 12 games.
In the bottom of the fourth, Louisville put a run on the board thanks to a Courtney Moore solo tape-measure home run off the ambulance parked beyond the left-center field fence. The Cardinals continued to threaten in the inning after a one-out single, but junior centerfielder Sheila McCorkle
(Costa Mesa, Calif./Mater Dei) ended the threat by tracking down a two-out liner off the bat of Michelle Vasquez with a dive to her left.
NU put three more runs on the board in the top of the fifth. Churchwell and Mobley both reached base with one-out infield singles, then moved up a base on a wild pitch.
Cooper then drove in her second run of the game with a single into right field, plating Churchwell, advancing Mobley to third and making the score 4-1 in favor of the Wildcats. Sophomore Elizabeth Piatt (Monticello, Ill./Monticello) replaced Cooper at first.
Piatt helped give the Wildcats their next run, taking off for second and drawing a throw from Louisville catcher Jenn Skaggs. Nobody covered second on the play, however, and the throw sailed into center, allowing Mobley to score and Piatt to move to third on the play.
Junior Jamie Dotson (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) followed with a two-out fly ball deep into right-center that centerfielder Sara Bausher caught up with on the warning track, but she dropped the ball for an error allowing Piatt to score for a 6-1 Wildcat lead.
Northwestern added more in the top of the sixth. Freshman Kelly Odell (Portland, Ore./Westview) led off with an absolute laser-beam off the fence in left-field for a double. She came around to score when Logan singled up the middle, with Logan advancing to second on the throw home.
Churchwell then plated Logan with her third hit of the game, a rocket off the third-baseman's glove into left field for a double and an 8-1 Wildcat advantage.
Moore gave the Cardinals another run with an almost identical solo home run to left-center as her first blast of the game. She also homered against UAlbany earlier Saturday to give her three home runs on the day.
For the second time in the tournament, a solid outing in the circle from junior Courtnay Foster (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) was semi-lost amidst NU's offensive onslaught. Foster scattered seven hits and allowed just the two solo home runs to Moore while striking out seven to up her record to 21-7 on the year.
Catherine Bishop pitched a complete game for Louisville and took the loss, dropping her record to 21-9.