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

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

The Daily Northwestern


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Softball: Hurlers help Northwestern stay close against top teams in California

Northwestern proved once again this weekend it can handle top-level competition. Beating lesser teams is a different story.

The No. 23 Wildcats (6-8) traveled to California to play in the Cathedral City Classic, where they played their best softball against the strongest opponents, beating No. 10 Stanford and taking No. 5 UCLA into extra innings. Unranked teams troubled NU, as it fell to both Pacific and Cal Poly.

“An area we really need to improve on as a team is to approach each game consistently and play disciplined softball,” coach Kate Drohan said.

The Cats managed only one hit in their weekend-opening loss to Pacific on Friday afternoon. Senior hurler Lauren Delaney helped the Cats bounce back later that day, striking out seven en route to a one-hit shutout against Stanford. Seniors Emily Haug and Nicole Pauly fueled the offense with back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth.

“(Haug) has had great at-bats through our first three weekends,” Drohan said. “She’s got a very consistent approach in the batter’s box and that’s really helped her.”

The Cats’ catcher has made the most of her opportunity in her first year as an everyday player, as she leads the lineup with 16 RBIs and a .342 batting average.

In Saturday morning’s game against Cal Poly, NU’s lineup went silent again. The Cats collected only five hits while getting shutout for the second time this season. Meanwhile the Mustangs had no trouble scoring runs, putting up three in the first inning before recording an out. Despite solid efforts in relief by Delaney and freshman Meghan Lamberth, NU fell 4-0.

In the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Cats showed once again they can compete with top-ranked teams. Haug’s three-run blast in the fifth inning, her third homer of the season, tied the game at five. Delaney held the Bruins scoreless for the next two innings, sending the game into extras. But then the floodgates opened. UCLA scored five runs off the Cats’ ace in the eighth inning to hand NU its second-straight loss, 10-5.

Freshman Emily Allard, who Drohan moved to the leadoff spot against Stanford, had a monster day at the plate in the losing effort. The shortstop went 3-for-4, bringing her season average to .286. Allard’s performance in California helped her emerge as a threat at the top of the order, giving Drohan another athletic weapon alongside junior Robin Thompson. Allard and Thompson are a combined 11 for 11 in steal attempts this season.Allard is also progressing as the leader of the infield, Drohan said.

“She’s starting to get comfortable out on the field defensively,” Drohan said. “She’s settling into the college game.”

NU’s final game of the tournament, against UC Davis, was suspended in the sixth inning so the Cats could catch their flight home. The tournament schedule was already pushed back due to rain the previous day. The game, which the Cats currently lead 7-1, will resume next weekend at the Demarini Invitational.[email protected]

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Softball: Hurlers help Northwestern stay close against top teams in California