Softball: Wildcats take two of three from Hawkeyes in Iowa

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Softball: Wildcats take two of three from Hawkeyes in Iowa

Junior outfielder Andrea DiPrima watches a ball pass by her knees. DiPrima collected collected three hits and three walks in eight plate appearances in Saturday’s doubleheader against Iowa.

Junior outfielder Andrea DiPrima watches a ball pass by her knees. DiPrima collected collected three hits and three walks in eight plate appearances in Saturday’s doubleheader against Iowa.

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior outfielder Andrea DiPrima watches a ball pass by her knees. DiPrima collected collected three hits and three walks in eight plate appearances in Saturday’s doubleheader against Iowa.

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior outfielder Andrea DiPrima watches a ball pass by her knees. DiPrima collected collected three hits and three walks in eight plate appearances in Saturday’s doubleheader against Iowa.

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

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The Wildcats were on the prowl this past weekend in their three-game series against Iowa.

No. 23 Northwestern took the three-game series 2-1 over its Big Ten rival, sweeping a Saturday double-header with 6-4 and 4-1 wins before losing Sunday 4-3. 

“We had a lot of information about their pitcher so we created a specific plan,” senior Mari Majam said. “We did a good job of keeping it and focusing throughout the day.”

The Cats’ offense has been arguably the team’s strongest asset all season, and though the tough Iowa pitching was enough to limit the Cats, it was not enough to overcome them.

“Their pitcher was really good at hitting spots, working inside and outside,” Majam said. “She would just try and push the zone farther and farther out. Our approach was to not let her determine the zone.”

The Cats stuck to their plan well enough to best the Hawkeyes in the double header, however, they didn’t put as many runs on the board as usual.

The Cats took the first matchup 6-4, in a close contest against the comparable Hawkeyes.

In the batter’s box, junior Andrea DiPrima tied for the team lead with two hits, and senior Paige Tonz led the team in RBIs with two.

Iowa got the first hits of the game, but the Cats battled back in the third inning. Senior Emily Allard opened the inning with a base hit and then stole second. Senior Marisa Bast knocked a double to the wall to bring in Allard for a 1-0 NU lead. DiPrima kept the rally going with another base hit to move Bast to third. With runners at the corners, NU subbed in sophomore Fran Strub to run the bases for the Cats and put the Hawkeyes in tough situation. On a passed ball on the throw to second, Stub scored for a 2-0 Wildcat lead.

Iowa came charging back in the bottom of the inning, tying the score at two apiece. However, the Cats regained their lead off an Allard RBI single in the fourth.

The fifth inning proved to be another big one for the Cats, as the middle of their order combined for three more runs and a 6-2 lead.

Iowa threatened again in the fifth and the seventh but only managed two more runs for a final score of 6-4 in favor of NU.

“We came into the weekend really strong, “ Tonz said. “We didn’t score as many runs as usual, but we had great pitching all weekend and had an overall very good team effort.”

The effort continued into the next matchup. Sophomore Kristen Wood handed the mound over to freshman Nicole Bond, who had a great performance in the 4-1 Wildcat win.

Bond pitched the complete game allowing only one run with five strikeouts and just two walks.  

“My goal was just to trust my preparation,” she said. “I wanted to throw what I was comfortable throwing and trust the defense to make plays behind me.”

Bond credits the powerful Cats’ offense for always giving her confidence and relieving much of the pressure on her.

However, in the start against Iowa, Bond got less support than usual. The score was tied at one apiece after the third inning, thanks to an RBI triple from Tonz. The Cats then slowly but surely added more runs, scoring one in the fifth, sixth and seventh for the eventual 4-1 win.

“We could’ve pushed a few more runs across, some insurance runs,” junior infielder Anna Edwards said. “It would have made the weekend a lot easier.”

A few more runs is what the Cats really could have used in the final game of the series, as they fell to Iowa 4-3 on a walk-off wild pitch.

Now at 5-4 in conference, the Cats are prepared to take on Minnesota next weekend.

Email: rebeccafriedman2015@u.northwestern.edu

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