NU gives Demons a case of the blues (Softball)

Paul Tenorio

CHICAGO – Behind the arms of its veteran pitchers and the bat of its freshman phenom, No. 12 Northwestern (38-11) won both games of its doubleheader with DePaul on Tuesday.

The Wildcats took the first game, 2-0 and the second game, 3-1 against the team that eliminated them from NCAA Super Regionals last year.

Junior pitcher Eileen Canney and senior pitcher Courtnay Foster each picked up their 19th wins of the season.

Freshman shortstop Tammy Williams went 4 for 8 in the two games, driving in one run and scoring twice. That gave her 53 runs scored for the season, tying her with departed All-America shortstop Stephanie Churchwell for NU’s single-season record for runs scored.

“It’s great. I didn’t even realize I was close to it,” Williams said. “I was just coming in trying to get my hitting back. I’ve kind of been in a slump, and it was important to get that back.”

In the first game, the Cats’ offense struggled to produce early, but junior pitcher Eileen Canney kept them in the game by holding the Blue Demons (27-21) to no runs on just two hits in nine innings, her 13th shutout of the year.

It took until the top of the ninth for NU to score, but after junior Katie Logan was hit by a pitch, Williams singled and both runners advanced on a deep fly out to right-center field from junior Garland Cooper.

Senior Jamie Dotson then hit a hard single off the glove of DePaul second baseman Jessica Evans, scoring Logan, and Williams was awarded home when the throw from right field skipped into DePaul’s dugout.

Senior Kristin Amegin flied out to end the inning, and two superb plays from sophomore Darcy Sengewald at third base in the bottom of the ninth helped put the Blue Demons down in order and gave NU the victory.

“I knew the team was going to come through, even though it took nine innings,” Canney said. “I mean, we can do it in 18 (innings), so I knew we’d pull it out today.”

In game two, NU got on the board first when senior Ashley Crane started the third inning off with a single when the umpire ruled the DePaul first baseman’s foot came off the bag.

Crane advanced to third on smart base running following a sacrifice bunt by Logan and it paid off when Williams singled up the middle, scoring Crane and giving the Cats a 1-0 lead.

The Cats scored again in the fourth when Crane singled senior Sheila McCorkle home after McCorkle reached on an error to start the inning. NU tacked on another run in the fifth inning – Williams record-tying run – on a sacrifice fly from senior Kristin Amegin.

“We actually worked a lot out during this doubleheader, and I really like the way we were swinging our bats towards the end of the second game,” coach Kate Drohan said. “We generated runs, and I really like the way we worked things out today.”

The Blue Demons pulled one back on a solo home run by freshman catcher Jackie Tarulli-Fisher in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to do any other damage.

Foster gave up just one run on three hits in the 3-1 win.

Freshman Erin Dyer, who was recruited to NU as a catcher but has played right field this season, saw her first action behind the plate in game two and threw out a runner on an attempted steal to end a threat in the bottom of the third inning.

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