Softball: Win over UCLA highlights Northwestern’s weekend slate

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Softball: Win over UCLA highlights Northwestern’s weekend slate

Amy Letourneau takes a swing. The senior pitcher tied a school record Friday, hitting eight RBIs in a victory over New Mexico State.

Amy Letourneau takes a swing. The senior pitcher tied a school record Friday, hitting eight RBIs in a victory over New Mexico State.

Source: Reagan Lunn/NU Athletics

Amy Letourneau takes a swing. The senior pitcher tied a school record Friday, hitting eight RBIs in a victory over New Mexico State.

Source: Reagan Lunn/NU Athletics

Source: Reagan Lunn/NU Athletics

Amy Letourneau takes a swing. The senior pitcher tied a school record Friday, hitting eight RBIs in a victory over New Mexico State.

Melissa Haniff, Reporter

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Softball


Although the Wildcats lost their fair share of matches this weekend, their final game proved they are capable of competing with the nation’s best teams.

Northwestern (7-7) ended the three-day series at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with a huge win Sunday against No. 11 UCLA (9-6) after a couple of close losses to No. 8 Georgia (13-1) and No. 20 Fresno State (11-2) on Saturday. The Cats split Friday’s doubleheader, losing the morning game to Oregon State (14-2) and winning the afternoon contest against New Mexico State (11-6).

NU started hot against the Bruins, with junior leftfielder Krista Williams and sophomore centerfielder Sabrina Rabin reaching base in the top of the third to get the Cats rolling. Senior shortstop Andrea Filler then smashed a double into centerfield, giving NU a 2-0 lead. After UCLA tied it up in the fourth, the Cats would go on to score five runs in the sixth and seventh innings, bringing home a 7-2 win.

Despite losing three of their five games this weekend, coach Kate Drohan said she believes the Cats’ showing against the Bruins is proof of their ability to adapt and adjust their play while staying mentally tough.

“The game of softball will challenge you at times,” Drohan said. “We had two really tough losses on Saturday but we took a deep breath and looked at ways we could improve ourselves and the team responded.”

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, NU had the lead heading into the seventh inning against Georgia, with sophomore second baseman Brooke Marquez and freshman third baseman Morgan Nelson hitting an RBI apiece and senior pitcher Amy Letourneau hitting the 35th home run of her career to earn a 4-2 edge. But the lead didn’t last, as the Cats gave up three runs in the final frame and the Bulldogs escaped with a 5-4 win.

The Cats would again suffer a close loss in the seventh and eighth innings against Fresno State on Saturday afternoon. Although NU held a 3-2 lead going into the seventh inning, the Bulldogs would go on to score four runs in the last two innings to pull out a 6-4 win.

Williams, who went 2-for-4 in the loss against Fresno State, emphasized the importance of finishing games in light of those losses, especially in tight situations against such tough opponents.

“Everyone’s really embracing their role and doing whatever they can do to help the team win,” Williams said. “But we need to have that all the way through seven innings, five innings of that isn’t enough to win games.”

NU started its slate against an unranked but solid Oregon State team. Although the Cats led 2-0 after the first inning, the Beavers were able to score 4 runs over the next two innings, bringing the score to 4-3. NU was unable to score in the following innings, giving up a close one to the Beavers, 5-3.

Later that day, the Cats offense caught fire against New Mexico State, led by senior first baseman Letourneau, who hit a school-record eight RBIs, along with three hits and two runs to lead the team to a 12-4 victory in six innings. Letourneau’s offensive prowess was supported by Williams, who had two hits and three runs, and senior infielder Aubrie May, who had a career game with two runs and two RBIs.

Despite mixed results over the series, the team’s resilience against UCLA showed that NU can compete against quality opponents.

“We learned a lot throughout the weekend,” Drohan said. “We played really good softball and put ourselves in a position to win every single game.”

Email: melissahaniff2016@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @melissahaniff

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