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: Delaney nearing record, becoming more consistent

As Lauren Delaney goes, so go the Wildcats. NU, ranked No. 15 in the preseason, has yet to play to its potential, just as Delaney, the 2008 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, has yet to reach hers.

But Delaney showed exactly what she’s capable of Wednesday.

The Cats’ ace threw a five-hit complete game, striking out five while using only 95 pitches to lead NU to a 6-1 victory against Illinois-Chicago. She is only one win away from tying NU’s career victories record. Walks-which have been a recurring theme for Delaney this year-were not a problem.

“(I was) just focusing on throwing my pitches and not letting anything else in my way,” Delaney said. “Going out there and kind of doing what I know how to do-clearing my head.”

Delaney will look to set the tone again this weekend when the Cats (22-19, 6-5 Big Ten) host Penn State (28-18, 7-7) at Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Although the Nittany Lions are losers in seven of their last nine games, coach Kate Drohan isn’t going to take the two-game set this weekend lightly.

“They’re coming off some good games against Iowa,” Drohan said. “They’re a balanced team.”

The Nittany Lions are led on offense by leadoff hitter Cassidy Bell. The freshman is hitting .327, tops on the team, and has stolen a team-high 10 bases.

But the strength of Penn State is its pitching staff, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a 2.41 ERA. Jackie Hill and Lisa Akimine give the Nittany Lions one of the best 1-2 punches in the conference. Hill and Akimine have 2.15 and 2.57 ERA’s, respectively, while both average more than one strikeout each inning. They’ve held opposing hitters to a .216 average, the second lowest mark in the conference.

“The key will be to attack their pitching in a way where we need to foul off tough pitches and not try to do too much with pitches,” Drohan said.

Luckily for NU, its once-vaunted offense-dormant much of the season-is finally waking up. The lineup has produced at least six runs in four of its last five games. The Cats’ hitters are no longer trying to do too much, Drohan said.

“I really like how relaxed we are in the batter’s box,” Drohan said. “We’re just doing a good job of using the pitch.”

The middle of the Cats’ lineup has been especially productive. The trio of power hitters-Adrienne Monka, Nicole Pauly and Michelle Batts-went a combined 4-for-7 on Wednesday with five RBI’s and four walks.

Despite the recent success at the plate, Batts remains focused. The Cats are still fighting their way back up the Big Ten standings, and this weekend will be one of their last chances to make headway before the regular season comes to a close.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Batts said. “We got a lot to gain from these games. … They’re going to come at us and we’re going to come right back at them as hard as we can.” [email protected]

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Softball: Delaney nearing record, becoming more consistent