Softball: Petersen leads offensive charge in rebound against Maryland


Daily file photo by Allie Goulding

Anna Petersen takes a swing. The senior outfielder led the Wildcats to a series win against Maryland.

Evan Augeri, Reporter


After alternating between fifth and seventh in the lineup a week ago, senior right fielder Anna Petersen was installed as the clean-up hitter for this weekend’s series against Maryland. She responded as only a true clean-up hitter would.

Throughout the series, Petersen slugged 6-of-8 with two home runs, two doubles, three runs scored and eight RBIs. Her production led the Wildcats (15-20, 3-6 Big Ten) to a doubleheader sweep of the Terrapins (8-28-1, 1-8 Big Ten) on Saturday and a close loss in the series finale Sunday.

Moreover, the weekend marked a milestone for Petersen — the first multi-home run series of her collegiate career — and her robust stat line makes her a strong candidate for this week’s Big Ten Player of the Week honors.

“She was outstanding,” coach Kate Drohan said. “She was completely dialed in. Her extra-base hits were outstanding, as were her extra-base hits with two outs, (and) when she started an inning by taking a walk … She just had great poise and was really seeing the ball well, fouling off some tough borderline pitches.”

Over the weekend, Petersen’s batting average jumped from a pedestrian .267 up to .306. She continues to lead the team in doubles (10), home runs (6), RBIs (23), total bases (58) and slugging percentage (.592).

She ranks second in the Big Ten in slugging percentage in conference games, with an astronomical 1.174 rate.

“I try not to think about it too much,” Petersen said. “I’m just trying to be aggressive at the plate. I’m not trying to do anything too special … just keeping it simple.”

The senior was dominant at an important crux in the Cats’ season. Following a tough series with then-No. 20 Michigan, in which NU was stymied and unable to score a run in any of its three contests, Petersen’s output helped create positive momentum for the offense.

Others pitched in, most notably junior outfielder Sabrina Rabin, who tallied three hits, three walks, five runs scored and four RBIs atop the lineup.

However, the outcome of Sunday’s game — a 5-4 loss that came after NU outscored Maryland 17-9 in two games Saturday — put somewhat of a damper on that momentum.

A disastrous second inning, in which NU committed three errors and allowed all five of the Terrapins’ runs, put the Cats at a deficit they couldn’t overcome. It paled in comparison to the defense the Cats have played earlier this season; the team averaged less than one error per game in its 10 games prior to the Maryland series.

“I don’t have a good reason for how (that happened),” Drohan said. “But we gave up a lot of runs in front of us.”

The Cats had numerous chances to take the lead throughout the game but failed to capitalize on advantageous situations. In the bottom of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, NU loaded the bases with two outs, but Maryland escaped each time with a timely strikeout.

Converting baserunners into runs wasn’t a problem in Saturday’s doubleheader, as the team left just six and three runners on base in the first and second games, respectively.

But on Sunday, the Cats stranded 11, preventing them from orchestrating a large comeback.

“We definitely put the ball in play more and put more runners on base than the previous weekend,” Rabin said. “We obviously still need to work on scoring those runners and getting that clutch hit.”

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