Softball: Cats grounded by Blue Demons

Colin Becht

After scoring 30 runs over its last four games, Northwestern fell silent against DePaul.

Even Michelle Batts’ two-run long ball-her fourth in the last three contests-was not enough to extend the NU’s four-game winning streak. Mustering just four hits, the Wildcats fell to the Blue Demons, 4-2.

“We missed an opportunity to beat a good team today, ” coach Kate Drohan said. “We fell short in our intensity and the way we competed.”

The Cats (24-20) found very little offense against the near-lights-out pitching of Blue Demons’ (34-15) starter Becca Heteniak. The senior threw five innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six.

Heteniak’s lone mistake came against NU’s hottest hitter, Batts. The junior designated player launched a two-run blast over the right-field fence for the Cats’ only runs of the game. With Wednesday’s big fly, Batts now has four home runs in NU’s past three games and 15 RBIs in the past four games.

“I’m just swinging,” Batts said. “I’m just doing my best and (success) is coming.”

However, Batts’ offense meant little against DePaul when the Cats’ one-two-three hitters Emily Allard, Kristin Sharkey and Adrienne Monka went a combined 1-for-10 with four strikeouts. As a team, NU hit for just a .148 average.

DePaul established its lead in the bottom of the first and increased its advantage to 3-0 in the third.

Batts’ two-run homer got the Cats within one, but that was as close as they came.

NU threatened to comeback in the sixth. Nicole Pauly and Emily Haug hit back-to-back singles with one out, the only time in the game the Cats got multiple hits in an inning. But closer Bree Brown recovered to preserve Heteniak’s gem.

“We were getting hits. We just couldn’t string them together,” Batts said. “We didn’t have anything fall for us. It was a tough outing.”

Junior pitcher Jessica Smith picked up her first losing decision since NU’s 3-2 loss to Loyola on April 22. Smith threw a complete game- her fifth of the season-surrendering four runs on seven hits.

The Cats return to Big Ten play this weekend with a two-game series with Wisconsin.

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