Softball: Letourneau leads Cats into second round of Big Ten Tournament

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

The Wildcats’ explosive offense came powered a close first-round contest against Indiana on Thursday.

In its first game of the Big Ten Tournament, No. 5 seed NU defeated No. 12 seed Indiana 6-3 thanks to the Cats’ 7 extra-base hits.

NU struck first in the contest, as sophomore Anna Edwards blasted the first of the Cats’ 3 home runs in the bottom of the second inning, giving them a 1-0 lead.

The Hoosiers threatened to even the score in the top of the third, loading the bases with one out, but starter sophomore Amy Letourneau kept them off the scoreboard.

The NU offense got going in the third, knocking in 4 runs on doubles by sophomores Olivia Duehr and Andrea DiPrima, as well as a home run by junior Marisa Bast. The big inning for the Cats knocked the Hoosiers’ starter out of the circle.

A lead-off home run in the top of the fourth got Indiana on the board. The Hoosiers proceeded to load the bases and bring another one around on a full-count walk from Letourneau. However, she stopped the damage there, forcing a grounder to short.

Letourneau got 1 of the runs back on the Cats’ third home run of the game to push their lead to 4.

Once more the Hoosiers threatened, loading the bases for the third time in the game in the top of the sixth, but Letourneau was able to hold them off yet again.

The Cats were kept off the board in bottom of the sixth, as the wind held a Duehr blast up in the air enough to keep it in the park. It was caught by the Indiana center fielder.

Indiana still refused to give up, loading the bases for a final time in the top of the seventh. Letourneau hit a batter, knocking in 1 run, but managed to get out of the jam, giving the Cats a 6-3 victory.

Indiana stranded 14 runners in the contest. Letourneau allowed 3 runs on 5 hits with 8 walks and 5 strikeouts in her 28th complete game of the season.

Letourneau also led the Cats in the box, finishing 2-for-3 with one of the Cats’ 3 home runs and 1 of their 4 doubles. She also knocked in 2 of their runs.

NU goes on to face No. 4 seed Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday in defense of its Big Ten Tournament title.