Softball: Cats try to bounce back against Iowa after getting swept last weekend

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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


After getting swept for the first time this season last weekend, Northwestern will look to make a comeback this weekend against Iowa — and if the Wildcats pick up two wins, they’ll slip into first place in the conference. 

“We played great this weekend. It just didn’t fall our way a couple times,” junior center fielder Skyler Shellmyer said of last weekend’s losses to the Golden Gophers. “(The losses) are definitely going to fire us up for the next couple of weeks.”

NU has totaled 143 runs thus far in the season, the most runs in the conference. Heading into this weekend, the Wildcats (18-6, 18-6 Big Ten) have a strong advantage over the Hawkeyes (14-10, 14-10 Big Ten) who have only 76 runs in the season.

The Hawkeyes sit fifth in the conference, two spots behind NU. Iowa is led by senior pitcher Lauren Shaw who carries Iowa’s rotation, and has gone undefeated in the season with four wins. Offensively, the Hawkeyes’ strongest batter is junior Kit Rocco who has an average of .333.

Shellmyer said that this weekend, NU would be focusing on the “little things” they missed in the Minnesota series.

After tallying six hits on Minnesota, the Iowa native said she is “fired up and ready to kick some butt” in her home state. 

Junior catcher Jordyn Rudd said the team “struggled to hit the ball” in the Minnesota series, but she remains optimistic about the upcoming weekend because the team learned a lot from the games against Minnesota. 

We had a lot of chances that we didn’t take advantage of,” graduate student pitcher Morgan Newport said. “(Minnesota) executed better than us.”

Newport has stepped up to the mound this season whenever the Cats needed her. She came up big against the Golden Gophers, closing out 3-of-the-4 games last weekend.

Just like Shellmyer and Rudd, Newport is looking forward to “getting another chance” to play this weekend against the Hawkeyes. She said her squad is full of “tough competitors” who are ready to get some redemption.

“(The Minnesota series) helped us focus on what we need to work on,” Rudd said. “We’re gonna work on those things this week so we’re fully ready for Iowa and more competitive.”

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