Cats head west for California tourney (Softball)

Northwestern resumes play this weekend at the Palm Springs Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.

While the Wildcats are receiving votes in the USA Today and ESPN coaches’ polls, four of their five games this weekend feature teams that are ranked or also receiving votes. The tournament’s other five teams are No. 12 Washington, No. 23 Long Beach State, Arizona State, Loyola Marymount and Pacific.

The Cats begin the tournament today at 12:30 p.m. against host Long Beach State.

Two weekends ago, NU placed third at the Florida Atlantic Worth Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla. The Cats dropped the first two games of the tournament and came back to win the next three, defeating Boston College 8-5 in the third place game for the second time in the tournament.

NU’s two other weekend wins featured solid shutout pitching in a day-night doubleheader from junior Courtnay Foster and sophomore Eileen Canney. Foster struck out 18 in the Cats’ first win against the Eagles, while Canney followed her with an eight-strikeout, 1-0 win against Florida Atlantic in the evening.

NU enters the Palm Springs tournament with a 7-3 overall record and boasts numerous top individual Big Ten performances. Canney leads the conference with 46 strikeouts, junior Kristen Amegin is the Big Ten’s home run leader with three and junior Jamie Dotson is second in the conference in RBIs with 11.

As a team, the Cats are the Big Ten’s leading home run hitters with 11, and they lead the conference in walks with 32.

–Coley Harvey