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: Pitching woes continue as Cats drop pair to second-ranked Wolverines

After breaking out of a five-game losing skid with a sweep of Minnesota on Wednesday, Northwestern picked up some much-needed momentum heading into this weekend’s series at No. 2 Michigan.

The momentum was quickly replaced by a pair of losses, including the Wildcats’ fifth run-rule loss of the season.

NU (18-18, 4-5 Big Ten) dropped the first game of the series 11-7 after falling behind early. The second contest saw more of the same, as the Cats lost 15-0 in five innings. They have now lost seven of their last nine games.

“We worked for it,” junior infielder Robin Thompson said. “We know that we could do it but it’s about executing when you get there.”

Starter Lauren Delaney gave up eight earned runs over 2.1 innings of work Saturday. The senior faced 19 batters, 12 of whom reached base. Delaney was replaced in the third inning by junior Jessica Smith, who retired the side in the bottom of the third.

Thompson said despite falling behind early in the game, the Cats weren’t intimidated by the Wolverines (33-5, 9-0).

“It’s not even about thinking ‘Oh, they’re the No. 2 team,'” Thompson said. “So what? It doesn’t matter. It’s about us doing our part.”

The second half of the game saw just that. NU put up five runs in the top of the fourth, and the rally was highlighted by an RBI double by Emily Haug and a two-RBI single by Meghan Lamberth.

Michigan scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to push its lead back to five, but the Cats answered once again. Senior Nicole Pauly and junior Jordan Wheeler drew walks, and Thompson lined a two-out single into left to score Pauly. Wheeler scored on an illegal pitch, narrowing the deficit to three, 10-7.

“We were not just going to lay down and let them walk all over us,” Thompson said.

But the Wolverines closed the door in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff home run by Dorian Shaw. Michigan didn’t look back, going on to defeat NU 11-7. The hard-fought battle was proof of just what the Cats can accomplish when firing on all cylinders.

“We started out a little flat,” junior designated player Michelle Batts said. “But then we started stringing some hits together and it all started to come together.”

Sunday’s game began similarly. Michigan put up five runs in the first inning, but unlike the previous day, the Wolverines’ hit parade didn’t stop there. Delaney relieved Smith in the third after Smith had surrendered eight runs, but NU’s ace promptly allowed four more runs in only a third of an inning. Freshman Meghan Lamberth couldn’t stop the bleeding, giving up three more runs in 0.2 innings.

Meanwhile the Cats’ offense managed only three baserunners the entire game, going a combined 1-for-16 on the day. Freshman Emily Allard picked up the team’s only hit in the contest, which improved her batting average to a team-leading .379. The shortstop has now hit safely in four straight games, during which she has gone 6-for-11.

Despite the team’s poor performance at the plate, Batts said there is a lesson to be learned from the games.

“It’s good getting out there and seeing that good pitching,” Batts said. “When it comes down to the stretch we’re going to see a lot of good pitching. We just have a lot of work to do before we see Michigan State on Wednesday.”[email protected]

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Softball: Pitching woes continue as Cats drop pair to second-ranked Wolverines