Softball: What To Watch For: Northwestern travels to the Cardinal Classic this weekend, hopes to rise in the rankings for a potential World Series run


Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

No. 22 Northwestern looks to gain back some momentum this weekend at the Cardinal Classic, after splitting with two wins and two losses last weekend.

Kunjal Bastola, Assistant Sports Editor

Coming off two wins and two narrow losses in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic last weekend, No. 22 Northwestern (6-6, 0-0 Big Ten) looks to continue the momentum at the Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend.

The Wildcats will play two games March 3 against Toledo and Louisville, followed by another doubleheader March 4 against Northern Kentucky and Louisville, ending the tournament with a game against Toledo and Louisville on March 5.

Here are three key takeaways to watch out for as NU looks to come back with multiple wins from the Cardinal Classic. 


  1. What is the pitching rotation going to look like, and how will that fare for the Cats?

At the Mary Nutter Classic, NU’s pitching rotation shined, helping secure wins against then-No. 18 Kentucky and San Diego. 

The Cat’s pitching team of junior Lauren Boyd, senior Sydney Supple and graduate students Danielle Williams and Cami Henry delivered on the field to help the Cats gain two wins and two narrow losses, including keeping then-No. 1 UCLA Bruins to only two runs.  

As the first unanimous Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Williams is arguably one of NU’s best pitchers, but Boyd, Supple and Henry all have the talent and capability to take that secondary spot behind her. 

They have the depth. They have the talent. Can NU’s pitchers bring home a five-game sweep at this weekend’s tournament?  

  1. Graduate student catcher Jordyn Rudd was spectacular during the Mary Nutter Classic. How will she do this weekend? 

Rudd hit two home runs in back-to-back games for the Cats in the four games played last weekend, proving just how much of a key player she is to the offense. 

Having led the team in batting average (.370) last season, she is looking to be an important part of the Cats’ mission to gain another Women’s College World Series run. 

As catcher, Rudd is crucial to the success of the pitchers and the team as a whole. Combined with her skill at bat, Rudd is one player to watch — not only this weekend but also throughout the season, as she hopes to finish her last year with NU with a championship ending. 

  1. The Cats only had six hits throughout the first two games last weekend. Can NU’s offense shine early on to bring home three wins?

Against the Bruins and then-No. 22 Oregon, NU’s offense stayed pretty dormant. Looking ahead to the weekend, NU has five games to work to prove it will be a serious contender in the NCAA this season. 

Key to that, however, is NU’s offense. The Cats must put up hits early on and score runs before their opponents in hopes of staying on the offensive throughout the game. 

Along with Rudd, players to watch are graduate center fielder Skyler Shellmyer, who had three hits, two runs and two RBI last weekend against Kentucky, and graduate student infielder Maeve Nelson, who drove in three runs against Kentucky.

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Twitter: @kunjal_bastola

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