Softball wins in freshman pitcher’s debut

Lily Leung

Northwestern softball coach Kate Drohan used Tuesday’s nonconference game against Loyola to try out something new in her lineup — freshman Megan Hinck on the pitcher’s mound.

Courtnay Foster started out pitching the first six innings and left the Wildcats with a 6-3 lead over the cross-town foe.

That’s when Hinck, a freshman, made her collegiate pitching debut. Hinck had one strike out en route to a save.

“Kate wanted me to go straight to the batter which is what me and Kira did,” Hinck said.

Although Hinck is glad to just be on the team, she said she hopes to get more playing time in the future.

“I was really pumped about getting on the field,” Hinck said. “Courtnay pitched a great game and the team was just excellent. It felt good.”

The Cats (20-13, 3-5 Big Ten) defeated the Ramblers 6-3 at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in their second non-league contest of the Big Ten season.

They grabbed an early 4-0 lead in the first two innings. First baseman Garland Cooper singled in center fielder Sheila McCorkle to open the scoring. In the second inning, first baseman Jamie Dotson doubled in third baseman Kristen Amegin, bringing the score to 3-0. Catcher J.C. Kira then hit a bomb off Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“We expected a good team today, ” Cooper said. “We were shaky for a little bit, but I knew we’d come back strong. It was just a matter of us pushing back.”

In the top of the fourth inning, Loyola (15-21) kept the bases loaded for some time. The Ramblers rattled three singles off NU’s Courtnay Foster (9-11) and an error by Foster brought the score to 4-3.

“Courtnay mishandled the grounder but that didn’t keep us from moving on,” Drohan said. “Loyola is a very fundamental team in that they’re aggressive in the batters box, but we came out on top.”

The Cats regained control of the game in the fifth inning when Erin Mobley capitalized on an error by Loyola’s first baseman Allison Scanlin to score from third. NU stretched the lead to 6-3 when Cooper hammered her fifth home run of the season. Cooper and Amegin lead the team in home runs.

“They didn’t rattle us at all,” Cooper said. “I didn’t see any weaknesses in our team today.”

Foster recorded eight strikeouts and gave up three unearned runs. Loyola’s ace Lindsey LaChiana (10-10) gave up six runs, five of which were earned, on nine hits. Lachiana allowed four walks in five innings.

But it was the young pitcher who impressed Drohan. The coach said she sees more playing time as a real possibility for Hinck.

“I like (Hinck’s) fielding,” Drohan said. “It was a lot of good work.”