Softball: Bats come alive in four-day sweep

Cameron Zick

It has been a good week for Northwestern’s offense.

After overpowering Notre Dame on Tuesday, the Wildcats continued their dominance at the plate against conference opponents, outscoring Indiana and Purdue 42-2 on their way a to a four-game sweep at Sharon J. Drysdale Field this weekend.

“I think everyone’s hitting the ball really well right now,” said junior shortstop Tammy Williams. “Batts, Pauly, Erin and Kelly Dyer are right behind me. They give me good pitches to look at because they don’t want me to get on base. And when they do, I know they will score me.”

The Cats blanked Indiana on Friday and Saturday, winning in five innings by the lopsided scores of 11-0 and 13-0.

In Friday’s contest, sophomore Lauren Delaney limited the Hoosiers to one hit in five innings, and Tammy Williams hit her eighth home run of the year to propel NU to the victory. Sophomore Nicole Pauly added her sixth home run, as the Cats scored in each of the four innings they came to bat.

Delaney continued to excel as the team’s ace, starting all four games for the Cats and throwing her fifth no-hitter of the year against the Hoosiers on Saturday.

“Lauren has been really consistent, she has good stuff, she’s always had good stuff, and she’s really executing,” coach Kate Drohan said. “She has a great level of focus out there.”

The Dyer sisters started the run brigade, leading off the second inning with back-to-back solo home runs. Sophomore Kelly Dyer followed her sister, junior Erin Dyer, with her first career longball at home and her fifth on the year. Hitting back-to-back homers as sisters was an emotional ride that Kelly said she had wanted to do ever since they have been playing together.

“I don’t think we’ve done it here at Northwestern,” said Erin Dyer of the twin blasts. “Kelly and I have just started hitting back-to-back, but I love hitting back-to-back with Kelly because we have that special sister-to-sister combination.”

After outscoring Indiana 24-0 in the two-game series, the Cats continued their offensive surge in the Sunday doubleheader versus Purdue.

In game one of the series, NU got on the board early with four runs in the first inning. Purdue was the first team to score on Delaney since April 12 against Illinois, as they responded with a two-run second inning to make the score 4-2.

The Cats responded when junior Tammy Williams hit an RBI double, her 31st RBI of the year. While on second, the junior watched teammate Michelle Batts wave at an off speed pitch. Williams yelled to Batts to “sit on it,” exhorting her teammate to zone the next pitch.

Batts nailed the 0-2 pitch over the wall to put the Cats ahead 6-2.

“Before the next pitch, I knew I had to protect and just hit a home run,” Batts said.

The Boilermakers did not help themselves defensively in the third inning, as three hard-hit balls by the Cats’ were just out of their reach, leading to two more runs. A bases-loaded walk by Pauly won the game for the Cats, who led 10-2 after five innings.

Pauly continued her hot hitting in the second game, hitting an RBI double in the first inning and adding a home run in the third inning.

Williams, who scored five runs on the weekend, added a couple RBIs on her own in the fourth inning with a two-run double. To cap off the weekend, freshman Robin Thompson hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, the first of her career, to give the Cats’ a five-inning 8-0 win.

“It is an overwhelming feeling,” Thompson said.

NU is 5-0 since its 5-2 loss to Iowa on April 13, outscoring its opponents 47-2 in that span. All the Cats are responsible for the offensive turnaround, their coach said.

“I give every person on our team credit for that,” Drohan said. “We’re settling into what we are capable of doing … they come ready to play, they compete hard, and I just really like the way we are putting pressure on the other team every single inning.”

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