Softball: Northwestern posts second strong showing in weekend-tournament, falls to LSU

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

Northwestern had yet another successful weekend tournament, going 4-1 in the Tiger Invitational in Baton Rouge, La.

The Wildcats opened the tournament against George Washington on Friday, edging the Colonials out, 12-11. The Cats’ impressive bats were on display all weekend and will continue to be arguably the team’s strongest asset all season.

“The biggest challenge is writing a lineup,” coach Kate Drohan said. “We have a lot of players contributing in a lot of different ways.”

Outfielder and pitcher Olivia Duehr was the offensive spark for NU in the win over George Washington. The junior blasted two home runs and batted in four runs. The dominant performance from the team’s No. 9 hitter shows just how much the depth the Cats’ batting order has.

NU battled George Washington for a second time Saturday morning, this time rolling to a 10-3 victory.

In between the two contests, the offensive prowess that has fueled the Cats’ hot start to the season halted in the team’s Friday afternoon matchup against No. 21 Louisiana State, with the Tigers handing the Cats a 4-0 defeat.

The Tigers struck early and built their lead to 4-0 over the Cats who, despite several rally attempts, were unable to catch up.

Still, the offense bounced back after its blip against LSU and stayed strong for the rest of the weekend.

Pitching was the story in the weekend’s final two contests, with junior Amy Letourneau putting on a valiant performance in NU’s 2-1 victory over No. 18 South Alabama.

“The game was really fun,” Letourneau said. “It was a great win. We came out so early and dominated them right away. We attacked them, and they were not expecting it.”

The Cats scored both runs in the first inning thanks to the scrappy play of seniors Emily Allard and Mari Majam. Letourneau was able to hold off the top-20 team the rest of the way with impressive work in the circle.

“I was really pleased with Amy’s performance,” Drohan said. “She was efficient and worked ahead. She really had a good mix of pitches. She had the ball breaking on all planes and did a great job of keeping the batter off balance.”

Letourneau’s impressive performance was enough to give South Alabama their first loss of the season.

“We just have power hits, line drives, sharp ground balls,” Drohan said. “That’s just been the story for us.”

The team stayed equally crisp against conference rival Penn State in the final game of the tournament, drilling the Nittany Lions 11-1 in a run-rule victory.

“We were excited to have Penn State on the schedule,” Drohan said. “We don’t have them on the conference schedule. We’re excited to play Big Ten opponents.”

The blowout victory over a Big Ten foe will give NU confidence heading into conference play, the team’s main focus of the season.

“Competing well in the Big Ten is what we want to do,” Letourneau said. “The Big Ten is a big goal for us and then whatever after that.”

After building a 7-2 record, the Cats have nothing but confidence heading into the rest of tournament play and, later in the spring, conference play.

“We’re the only ones that can stop us,” Allard said.

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