Softball: Kristen Wood’s no-hitter helps Northwestern crush Loyola

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

Northwestern traveled just a little bit south Wednesday to take on in-state rival Loyola Chicago.

The Wildcats (24-11) brought their A game, particularly sophomore pitcher Kristen Wood, who finished the five-inning, run-ruled game giving up no hits, no runs and only two walks, while allowing just three balls to go into play.

In her no-hitter, Wood struck out a career-best 12 batters. The game marks her second no-hitter of the season, her first coming against LIU-Brooklyn in a tournament earlier in the season. It also marks the 48th no-hitter in Northwestern history.

“I just went into it planning to throw my stuff and not stressing,” Wood said. “I went in with a clear mind.”

Coach Kate Drohan was very impressed by her young pitcher’s performance.

“It was outstanding,” Drohan said. “She was ahead in almost every at bat. She had sick movement.”

Wood attributed much of her success Wednesday to her curveball, which she considers her best pitch.

“I was hammering the outside corner with the curveball,” she said. “It was hitting good levels and moving well. “

Wood has been an integral part of the Cats’ pitching staff so far this season. It’s a staff Drohan believes has improved throughout the season, but hasn’t reached the level that she thinks they are able to.

“I like the work that we’re doing,” she said. “They’ve really developed throughout the season. The results have been up and down.”

The Cats’ offense was impressive as well, putting up 8 runs for the 8-0 win. Offense has been the biggest strength for the Cats throughout the season and according to Wood, has helped her on the mound through giving her confidence.

Drohan believes that the team’s offensive success is because of the balance in the lineup.

“Our team is connected. We understand momentum,” Drohan said. “We have production throughout the lineup. We have a lot of balance, we had six stolen bases today, and we have power. We were very physical in the base path.”

Sophomore Brianna LeBeau led the Cats at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a home run, giving her a team-high seven on the season.

The Cats opened the game with hits by senior Mari Majam and junior Andrea DiPrima for a 1-0 lead after the top of the first.

NU added two more runs in the second, starting off with LeBeau’s blast to right field. Singles from sophomore Andrea Filler, senior Paige Tonz and senior Emily Allard pushed the lead to 3-0.

The Cats plated five more runs in the top of the fifth for the run-rule victory. LeBeau wrapped up the fifth-inning rally with her third hit of the game to give the Cats the 8-0 lead they needed to end the game early.

The loss dropped Loyola to 16-24 on the season. The Cats return to Big Ten play this weekend, hosting Indiana at home.

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