Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

51° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Pitcher propels Cats to victory

Forget about the Big Ten tournament last weekend. And forget about any notion of a sophomore jinx.

Pitcher Courtnay Foster threw a complete-game gem in the Northwestern softball team’s opening-round game in the NCAA regional Thursday in Tucson, Ariz. Foster (15-14) gave up only one unearned run and four hits while striking out six.

Third-seeded NU (33-18) rode Foster and a potent offense to an 8-1 victory over sixth-seeded UC-Santa Barbara (32-30).

“Courtnay threw a great game today, ” NU coach Kate Drohan said. “All her stuff was working. It was great to see her pitch well.”

A native of Tucson, Foster had numerous friends and family at Arizona’s Hillenbrand Stadium to see her pitch in her second regional tournament of her career.

In a start similar to the beginning of the Big Ten tournament game against Minnesota last weekend, Foster found herself in predicaments in the first and third innings.

The Gauchos put two runners on base with no outs in the first inning, but Foster coaxed a pop out and two strikeouts from the next three hitters.

In the third inning, Foster ran into trouble after UC-Santa Barbara loaded the bases with two outs. But unlike in the quarterfinal matchup with the Golden Gophers, Drohan stuck with her veteran hurler, and Foster responded by allowing only one unearned run.

In addition to a coming-out party for Foster, the game also featured an explosion from the NU hitters.

They took a few innings to get warmed up, but the Cats’ bats pounded the UC-Santa Barbara pitching with 11 hits.

Catcher J.C. Kira broke open the game in the third inning with a double to right field. Shortstop Eryn Manahan and pinch runner Sheila McCorkle scored on the play to give NU a 3-1 lead.

“To score with two outs when (UC-Santa Barbara) just scored before we came up to bat was huge,” Drohan said. “It shifted the momentum in the game back to our side, and I think it really allowed Courtnay (Foster) to settle in after that.”

Right fielder Erin Mobley and designated player Garland Cooper put the game out of reach in the sixth inning. They led off the frame with back-to-back solo home runs, which put the score at 8-1.

The blast gave Cooper an NU single-season record 11 dingers and snapped her “mini-slump” from the Big Ten tournament.

She hit no home runs in two games in the conference tournament.

“I’ve been struggling with my hitting in the past few games, so this was good for me,” Cooper said. “I think this put me back on a little bit of a groove.”

Cooper, Mobley, second baseman Carri Leto and third baseman Kristen Amegin had two hits each in the win. Cooper and Amegin had two RBI apiece.

NU will continue in regional action today with a 1:30 p.m. game against second-seeded and 20th-ranked Oklahoma (41-19-1).

The Sooners shut out seventh-seeded Temple Thursday afternoon 5-0.

Oklahoma has won 17 consecutive games in regional play and is bidding for its fifth straight College World Series appearance.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Pitcher propels Cats to victory