Softball: Northwestern bounces back with solid weekend in Georgia

Sophomore Anna Edwards takes a swing. The Wildcats won two games over the weekend before their third was cancelled.

Daily file photo by Samantha Maeng

Sophomore Anna Edwards takes a swing. The Wildcats won two games over the weekend before their third was cancelled.

Josh Walfish, Reporter

Northwestern’s weekend ended with three wins and a sprint to the airport.

The Wildcats suspended their game with No. 13 Georgia on Sunday afternoon in the top of the fifth inning with the bases loaded and a 7-5 lead. However, the Cats had to dash to catch their flight back to Chicago and hoped to continue the game next weekend in Cathedral City, Calif., where both teams will be participating in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The request was denied and because five complete innings were not contested, the game was cancelled and all statistics were wiped from the record book.

“That was a very unique situation,” sophomore Andrea DiPrima said. “We made the most of it and we were just really excited to get out there and play.”

The cancelled game was only the final part of a weekend in which the Cats rebounded from their disappointing start to the season. NU took home three of the four games, which counted to improve their record to 3-6 on the season. Coach Kate Drohan said the biggest difference between the two weekends was playing with a little more fire.

“It was combination of just having the experience of playing last weekend and just getting out on the field,” Drohan said. “The biggest difference I saw in the team was the mentality and the energy that we played with. It was outstanding and we’re excited to build off this weekend.”

Drohan pointed out one of the mental differences she saw was how the team executed in the big moments. NU was able to string together timely hits and get the outs to avoid the opposing team from getting a big rally.

The Cats had at least one inning of three or more runs in all four games after doing that just twice the previous weekend. In addition, NU was able to limit the large rallies which allowed both Boise State and Oklahoma to run away with the games in Arizona.

The only exception came in NU’s sole loss of the weekend when Georgia scored four unearned runs with two outs to win 6-5.

It was the game that didn’t count which emphasized this change the most. The Bulldogs took a 4-1 lead into the third inning, but the Cats responded with three runs in the top of the inning to tie the game. With the game level at 5 in the fifth inning, NU loaded the bases and scored twice while being poised to score more before the game was called.

“We played tough,” Drohan said. “We got some big hits in key situations. We got some big outs and to see both Amy (Letourneau) and Meghan (Lamberth) control ballgames like they did was outstanding.”

The pitchers were both on point all weekend. Letourneau established a new career-high with 12 strikeouts against Middle Tennessee State on Friday only to break that Saturday against Campbell when she fanned 15 batters.

Lamberth threw a complete game three-hitter in a Saturday win over the Blue Raiders and came in to get out a jam in the cancelled game against Georgia. The two combined for a 1.30 ERA over the course of the weekend, giving up only five earned runs.

The offense seemed to have a revival as NU scored at least five runs in all four games, a feat they only accomplished once in Arizona.

Sophomore infielder Anna Edwards said the key was the Cats staying focused on every pitch and not trying to do too much in one at-bat.

“You just can’t put too much pressure on yourself,” Edwards said. “We all know we can hit and we just needed to go base to base and not try to do too much. As long as we do that, we can score runs easily and we can tack on runs like anybody else can.”