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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Albanese brings no-hit mentality to NU

Sammy Albanese was a dominant pitcher in high school.

She threw nine perfect games in three seasons of softball and threw 10 straight no-hitters during her senior year.

Albanese was a four-time first-team high school All-American selection and was mentioned in Sports Illustrated twice. Yet, all that was thrown out the window the second she stepped foot on Northwestern’s campus in the fall.

“I just need to remember it’s the same game,” Albanese said. “The players may be stronger and better, but it’s the same game and I just need to trust my pitches like I did in high school.”

The freshman pitcher has had a lot of success early in her collegiate career, including a no-hitter March 22. Albanese enters Wednesday’s doubleheader against Michigan State with a 5-4 record and two saves to go with her 2.61 ERA.

Albanese credits her smooth transition to her teammates and coaches, but said there are times she needs to keep herself levelheaded.

Luckily for Albanese, she has two role models to look up to: Senior Jessica Smith and pitching coach Courtnay Foster, who pitched for the Wildcats from 2003-2006 and earned All-American honors in 2005, have been able to help her make the adjustment. Albanese said that she has learned a tremendous amount from both and will be “devastated” when Smith leaves at the end of the season.

Coach Kate Drohan said she sees a lot of promise in Albanese. Although she puts no ceiling on her potential, Drohan identified some key aspects that make Albanese successful.

“Sammy has worked very hard since she’s got onto campus,” Drohan said. “She’s a very coachable pitcher and she’s motivated to get better.”

Foster may have paid Albanese the ultimate compliment when she said the team wants to play behind Albanese.

“Sammy is a hard worker and Sammy is a very quick learner,” Foster said. “She is the type of pitcher her team wants to play behind. She’s confident in the circle and she always gives you the sense she wants the ball.”

Albanese’s no-hitter against St. Mary’s on March 22 was all the more impressive because she faced a little bit of adversity. Two walks and an error loaded the bases in the fourth inning of NU’s 8-0 win, but Albanese delivered with one of her seven strikeouts on the day to end the threat and secure the no-hitter.

Albanese said she felt really good before the game in warm-ups and said she had no idea about the no-hitter until after the game.

“I take it one pitch at a time,” Albanese said. “I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true.”

Her most recent appearance in a doubleheader against Wisconsin on Saturday produced mixed results, earning both a win and a loss. Albanese struck out nine batters in a three-hit shutout in the second game of the doubleheader, but struggled in two-thirds of an inning of relief work in which she gave up two runs on two hits. Albanese looked fairly uncomfortable and never really settled in during the first game but was able to bounce back and throw a complete game just 30 minutes later in the back end of the doubleheader to help NU get their first Big Ten victory.

The Cats hope to ride that momentum into their doubleheader against the Spartans on Wednesday at home.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Albanese brings no-hit mentality to NU