Softball: Wildcats coast to 14-7 victory over UIC


Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Sophomore second baseman Brianna LeBeau launched a three-run home run — her sixth of the season — to highlight a 12-run first inning, as Northwestern cruised to a 14-7 victory over Illinois-Chicago.

Huzaifa Patel, Reporter

Home sweet home indeed.

No. 23 Northwestern (20-8) lit up the Illinois-Chicago Flames (6-14) 14-7 on Wednesday at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.

The Wildcats got after sophomore pitcher Bridget Boyle early, setting a program record with 12 first-inning runs.

Senior centerfielder Emily Allard got the Cats started with a single, and they never looked back. Senior leftfielder Mari Majam and senior infielder Marisa Bast walked, followed by a two-run double from junior Andrea DiPrima and another double from junior infielder Anna Edwards, which made the score 4-2. 

After sophomore first baseman Andrea Filler reached base on a fielder’s choice, sophomore second baseman Brianna LeBeau broke the game open with a three-run homer over the left field wall, putting the Cats up 7-2.

“We prepared the same way we always do and came out saying ‘we’re just gonna beat that team in the other dugout,'” LeBeau said. “They had some different pitchers coming in. The first pitcher came all inside, so I was ready for that.”

Meanwhile, freshman pitcher Nicole Bond was stellar, allowing only 4 runs, all of which were earned by UIC senior second baseman Jacki Fletcher. Fletcher had two home runs, both hit to left field.

While the game seemed like it would end by the fifth inning, the Flames made their best effort to avoid the run rule.

Bond, who gave up only 1 earned run, was relieved in the fifth inning by sophomore pitcher Kristen Wood. A single by senior shortstop Natalie Hernandez, two errors and a hit to the head of Fletcher loaded the bases, while another hit by pitch and a walk cut the Cats’ lead to 7 and extended the game.

The Cats still had a chance for a run-rule victory, but couldn’t convert on a LeBeau leadoff double, leaving the score at 14-7.

Wood settled down as the game wound down and picked up a unique save, allowing 3 runs over three innings. It was NU’s first save of the season.

Meanwhile, sophomore rightfielder Fran Strub made her first start of the season. Strub specializes as a pinch runner for the Cats, appearing in 19 games this season, scoring eight runs and stealing a base.

“Fran’s a great athlete. She plays hard,” coach Kate Drohan said. “It was nice to see her get a couple of at-bats today.”

Overall, NU continued its dominance of UIC — the Cats have taken the last six meetings, going 28-11 versus the Flames all time. Despite the opponent, the team was focused.

“We approached this game as we approached the 27 games before it,” Drohan said. “We make sure that we’re prepared. We want to play Northwestern softball, and the way we came out in the first inning, it’s clear the team was ready for it.”

The Cats will be switching gears quickly, as they head to Iowa on Friday to take on the conference foe Hawkeyes.

“This is what we do this time of year,” Drohan said. “This isn’t really a quick turnaround. It’s a normal Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule. I think we’re ready to go.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @HuzaifaPatel95