Softball: Northwestern wins Maryland series, but snaps seven-game streak

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Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Junior first baseman Nikki Cuchran takes a swing. She smacked a double in the Maryland series.

Skye Swann, Assistant Sports Editor


Softball


Following a successful weekend series against Wisconsin (5-15), Northwestern received its second loss of the season to Maryland (8-12) in the first game of its first double-header on Saturday.

“We battled hard,” coach Kate Drohan said. “Offensively, we were just a little bit inconsistent in some innings, but we’ll keep working on that.”

The 4-3 defeat ended the Wildcats’ seven-game win streak and dropped NU into second place in the Big Ten. However, the Cats (18-2) won three out of four games in College Park, improving their road win record to 3-1.

NU came out on fire, shutting out the Terrapins 9-0 Friday afternoon to secure their 16th win of the season. Junior pitcher Danielle Williams extended her own win streak to nine by allowing only three hits and striking out eight batters with no walks in a complete game. 

But her streak — and the Cats’ — ended Saturday when Terrapins right fielder Taylor Okada scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh to mark NU’s second loss of the season. 

“We all know that (the pitchers) have each others’ backs and we coach each other up,” Williams said. “We all just want to come out with a win, as a team.”

The Cats did just that in the second matchup of the double-header. Behind six runs in the second inning, three home runs and stellar pitching from senior Morgan Newport and sophomore Sydney Supple propelled NU to defeating Maryland 10-3. Newport pitched six innings, striking out six with one walk, while Supple kept the Terrapins hitless in her single inning of work.

On Sunday, Williams picked up her 10th win of the season in the Cats’ 9-4 victory. Williams, junior shortstop Maeve Nelson, junior center fielder Skyler Shymeller and junior catcher Jordyn Rudd scored four runs in the fourth inning, causing Maryland to switch pitchers. Even after this, though, NU continued to tack on more runs.

NU’s offense was strong all weekend, outscoring the Terrapins 31-10 in the four-game series. In particular, senior second baseman Rachel Lewis — who leads the team with 20 runs — stood out, racking up two home runs and five RBIs on Saturday alone. 

“I’m never thinking about home runs necessarily — I’m just thinking about hitting the ball well and on a line,” Lewis said. “I focused on making solid contact and letting (Maryland) do the work.”

Strong offensive performances also came from Rudd, Nelson, and sophomore left fielder Angela Zedak. Rudd and Zedak had one home run apiece, while Nelson notched four RBIs over the weekend.

The Cats will return to Sharon J. Drysdale Field from April 9 to 11 to face Minnesota in an attempt to return to the top spot in the Big Ten.

“It’s gonna be an opportunity for us to go and play against a team in the top half of the conference,” Drohan said. We’ll take it one game at a time, but I’m excited about it.”

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