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    No. 23 Wildcats, No. 14 Gophers Feature in B1G Showcase

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Brianna LeBeau's recent power surge has her ranked among the top-10 in the Big Ten for slugging and on-base percentage.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Brianna LeBeau's recent power surge has her ranked among the top-10 in the Big Ten for slugging and on-base percentage.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    April 9, 2014

     No. 23 Northwestern (22-9, 5-4 B1G) at No. 14 Minnesota (30-5, 8-2 B1G)
     Date Friday-Sunday, April 11-13
     Location   Jane Sage Cowles Stadium | Minneapolis, Minn.
     The Schedule April 11 | 6 p.m. CT | at No. 14 Minnesota | Listen (Free) | GT
    April 12 | 1 p.m. CT | at No. 14 Minnesota | Listen (Free) | GT
    April 13 | 1 p.m. CT | at No. 14 Minnesota | Listen (Free) | GT
     Social Media  @NUSBCats   |  @NU_SportsLive
     Game Notes  NU's Minnesota Series Game Notes

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- After a five year absence, No. 23 Northwestern travels to Minneapolis this weekend for a three-game set against No. 14 Minnesota in a showdown of ranked Big Ten softball squads.

    Game one of this year's series is set for 6 p.m. CT Friday, April 11, with game two scheduled for 1 p.m. CT Saturday, April 12 and the final slated for 1 p.m. CT Sunday, April 13. The forecast for this weekend looks good and no schedule changes are anticipated at this time--if the good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise.

    All three games will be broadcast live on NUsports.com with free audio via Wildcats All-Access. Minnesota has a watch link available on its site, though the stream is not a full Big Ten Digital Network production.

    Due to conference expansion and the resulting scheduling quirks, Northwestern is making its first trip to Jane Sage Cowles Stadium in Minneapolis since 2009 when the Wildcats were ranked No. 6 in the nation. NU's visits previous to that were in its Women's College World Series years of 2007 and 2006, which was the year when newly minted Northwestern Hall of Famer Eileen Canney set the NCAA single-game strikeout record with 28 in an 18-inning complete-game victory at Minnesota. That record still stands today.

    The Gophers have visited Evanston every year for the past four seasons; last year, then-sophomore Amy Letourneau (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) tossed a no-hitter against Minnesota at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Letourneau is out for the remainder of 2014 after needing season-ending surgery.

    Northwestern enters this weekend with a 5-4 Big Ten record after winning a series at Iowa last weekend. Minnesota is enjoying a tremendous record thus far with a 30-5 overall mark, 8-2 in the B1G. The Gophers swept Iowa in a midweek doubleheader on Tuesday.

    The long Minnesota trip layoff means not even fifth-year senior Emily Allard has ever played in Minneapolis. Allard is coming off a red-hot series at Iowa last weekend in which she batted .583 (7-for-12) with five runs and four steals.

    Northwestern's offense continues to be the Wildcats story in 2014, currently ranking eighth nationally at 6.90 runs per game while NU's .327 batting average rates 14th. Northwestern will face one of the nation's better 1-2 punches in the circle in Minnesota's Sara Moulton and Sara Groenewegen.

    After facing Minnesota, NU returns to Chicagoland with a 4 p.m. CT Wednesday, April 16 game at Loyola (Chicago) before hosting Indiana April 18-20 at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Join the NU softball players and coaches for a postgame clinic after the Saturday, April 19 game against the Hoosiers. Kids in grades 8 and under can sign up for a $10 registration fee that includes a game ticket, the postgame clinic, a purple softball t-shirt, hat and an opportunity to be part of the pregame tunnel. Friends and family members can get additional tickets for just $3. For more information or to sign up, call the NU marketing department at 847-467-6862.

    Tickets for 2014 Northwestern softball are ON SALE NOW and can be purchased online at NUsports.com or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775). Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for youth and seniors, and $3 for groups of 15 or more. For softball ticketing questions or for group sales, contact Joe Thuente at 847-467-6862 or j-thuente@northwestern.edu.

    Northwestern is the host of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament May 8-10 at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. All-session and group tickets for this premier, 12-team softball event ARE ON SALE NOW. The tourney will feature not only some of the nation's best softball, but also the first-ever night game in the history of Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Again, contact Joe Thuente at 847-467-6862 or j-thuente@northwestern.edu for more information.

    For the complete Northwestern game notes package for this weekend's Minnesota series, download the .pdf at the top of this page.

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