Softball: Northwestern prepares for midweek battle with Notre Dame

Rebecca Friedman, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern’s bats were on point this weekend as the Wildcats swept a three-game series against Illinois.

NU routed the Fighting Illini in the first two games of the series, shutting them out and run-ruling them in five innings in both games. Sunday’s game went the full seven innings, but the Cats still picked up the relatively routine 7-1 win.

The weekend served as a large improvement from their game against Loyola (Chicago) on April 2, when they scored no runs on only three hits.

With the Cats’ bats going, they were nearly unstoppable. When the hitters performed as incredibly as NU’s pitchers, the team proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. The hottest bat belonged to junior outfielder Mari Majam, who was named the Big Ten Player of the Week after hitting .778 at the plate while driving in 5 runs and scoring four times against the Fighting Illini. 

The Cats’ ace, sophomore Amy Letourneau, threw yet another no-hitter in the first match of the series. The next day, senior Meghan Lamberth also shut down Illinois, allowing only one hit in the second consecutive 8-0 shutout for NU. Letourneau is ranked 16th in the nation in hits allowed over seven innings, 17th in strikeouts over seven innings and 23rd in total strikeouts.

NU now sits at sixth place in the Big Ten with a record of 5-3 in conference and 19-14 overall.

Up next for NU is Notre Dame on Tuesday, a prime opportunity for the Cats to pick up a signature non-conference win. The Fighting Irish are 26-9 overall and 7-1 in the Big East.

The Cats’ hitters will be challenged by Notre Dame’s Laura Winter, who has a 1.75 ERA and nearly an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Fighting Irish also have four batters with at least 25 RBIs and seven players hitting at least .300.