March 6, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern concludes the pre-conference portion of its 2013 schedule with a trip to the South Florida Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla., March 8-10.
Competing at the nine-field Eddie C. Moore Complex, NU opens the tournament at 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET Friday against Saint Joseph's before facing Boston University at 3:45 p.m. CT/4:45 p.m. ET. On Saturday, Northwestern plays South Carolina at 8:30 a.m. CT/9:30 a.m. ET and Massachusetts at 10:45 a.m. CT/11:45 a.m. ET before concluding the tourney at 10:15 a.m. CT/11:15 a.m. ET against Loyola Marymount.
Several storylines abound among NU's Clearwater foes. First, this weekend marks the first pre-conference tournament for the Wildcats without at least one ranked opponent since the March 1-2, 2008, Coach B Classic in Carbondale, Ill.
Second, Northwestern's Saturday opponents are the same two the Wildcats defeated in Evanston Super Regionals to reach the Women's College World Series. NU topped UMASS in 2006 and South Carolina in 2007 for the right to play in Oklahoma City. Third, NU and LMU played once already this season, with Paige Tonz crushing a game-tying two-run double in the seventh inning of an eventual 7-3, nine-inning victory for the Wildcats at the Nutter Classic.
Northwestern enters this weekend with a 17-inning opponent scoreless streak dating to the third frame of a contest against No. 16 Stanford at the Easton Invitational. After that game, NU shut out Cal Poly (10-0 (6)) and Cal State Bakersfield (5-0) for its first back-to-back shutouts since two blankings of St. Mary's on March 22, 2011.
NU's current 17-inning scoreless streak is its best since 2008 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Lauren Delaney had a personal 40.0-inning streak that included the entire 2008 Big Ten Tournament and extended into the championship round of the 2008 NCAA Evanston Regional.
NU's two pitchers responsible for last weekend's shutouts are senior Meghan Lamberth, who is 4-3 this season with a 2.16 ERA and sophomore Amy Letourneau, who has a team-best six wins and 1.95 ERA while averaging 9.56 Ks per seven innings.
COUNTDOWN TO 400 WINS FOR THE DROHANS
Northwestern head coach Kate Drohan, in her 12th season at the helm of the Wildcats' program with a career record of 396-215-1, is four victories away from the 400th of her head coaching career, all with NU. The Wildcats have averaged more than 35 wins per season during Drohan's time at the helm and 27 of those victories have come during NCAA Tournament play.
Playing a part in each and every one of those wins has been Kate's twin sister, Caryl Drohan, who joined the Northwestern program as its hitting coach when Kate took over in 2002. Together they have led NU to eight NCAA Regionals, four NCAA Super Regionals, two Big Ten championships and two Women's College World Series semifinals.
The Drohans' Previous Milestone Wins
No. 1: Feb. 1, 2002 vs. South Florida (6-2)
No. 50: April 19, 2003 vs. Wisconsin (6-5)
No. 100: Feb. 12, 2005 vs. Florida Atlantic (1-0)
No. 150: March 18, 2006 vs. San Diego State (5-2)
No. 200: March 3, 2007 vs. No. 11 Oregon State (4-0 (8))
No. 250: March 7, 2008 vs. Cal State Fullerton (3-0)
No. 300: April 4, 2009 vs. Indiana (8-0 (5))
No. 350: April 2, 2011 vs. Loyola (Chicago) (6-3) (This win also was NU's 1,000th victory as a program)
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