Pitcher climbs all-time strikeout ladder in win (Softball)

Lily Leung

Northwestern pitcher Courtnay Foster made history Tuesday night — and she didn’t even realize it.

Foster, who pitched four innings against non-conference foe Bradley, became the second pitcher in NU history to strike out 200 batters in consecutive seasons. She racked up 292 strikeouts her rookie year and now ranks fourth in total strikeouts.

“It felt good, but I didn’t know that I made 200,” Foster said. “I try not to keep track of that stuff too much.”

While she reached the school’s benchmark, Foster (13-12) captured a 5-2 win with six strikeouts against the Braves (29-22) at Eastside Center in Peoria, Ill. The Wildcats (27-14, 10-6) have won 11 of their last 12 games.

Foster remained critical of her performance despite her record-setting performance.

“I could’ve thrown better, but I got some good pitches in,” she said. “I walked a couple of people that I shouldn’t have walked.”

Pitcher Megan Hinck also reached a personal benchmark Tuesday. The freshman made her second appearance of the season after taking over for Foster in the fifth inning. Hinck allowed only two singles as she picked up her second save of the year.

Coach Kate Drohan said she was so pleased with Hinck’s performance that she plans to give the freshman more time in the circle, including in conference games.

“Hinck threw very well, and I think she’s ready to go,” Drohan said. “She’s on track for the Big Ten games. Defense is definitely behind her and we’re going to use her down the stretch.”

Bradley’s Kristy Brod (14-7) struck out six batters and walked three while giving up nine hits and five runs.

Aside from the pitching, the Cats dominated offensively. First baseman Garland Cooper singled to leadoff the top of the third inning, and a walk and sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third.

First baseman Jamie Dotson singled to plate Elizabeth Piatt from third, and second baseman Carri Leto’s line drive to left field scored catcher J.C. Kira and third baseman Kristen Amegin, giving NU a 3-0 lead.

“We hit the ball very well today, ” Leto said.

The Braves bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the third, but Cooper’s two-run homer in the seventh inning secured the Cats’ lead.

Right fielder Erin Mobley had a one-out double to right center before Cooper shot an opposite field bomb down the left field line, her seventh home run of the season.

Foster saw the game as a routine win after pitching four innings.

“I expected us to win,” Foster said. “It was nothing too exciting.”