Softball: Northwestern takes series over Iowa 2-1, clinching second seed in Big Ten


Daily file by Joshua Hoffman

Graduate catcher Jordyn Rudd hypes up her teammates after a hit at the plate. Rudd played a critical role in Northwestern’s wins over Iowa on Saturday and Sunday.

Skye Swann, Assistant Sports Editor

Coming off a 20-run performance against DePaul on March 28, Northwestern returned to Big Ten play last weekend with a series against conference foe Iowa. Facing a doubleheader to close out the series, the Wildcats’ eight-game win streak was potentially coming to an end.

Although NU (20-9, 5-1 Big Ten) had a hot start, winning Saturday’s contest against the Hawkeyes 8-3, Iowa (22-15, 4-4 Big Ten) seized the upper hand in the last game of Sunday’s doubleheader and ended the Cats’ 10-game winning run. Nevertheless, NU left Bob Pearl Field with a gleaming series victory under its belt.

Saturday’s contest set the tone for the Cats early, courtesy of graduate student catcher Jordyn Rudd’s sacrifice fly to score graduate student outfielder Skyler Shellmyer, earning an RBI and a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The score remained competitive until the eighth inning, as both teams continuously exchanged runs. NU found its rhythm at the top of the 10th, with graduate student infielder Maeve Nelson, senior utility Angela Zedak and junior infielder Hannah Cady scoring runs to seal the game over Iowa.

The Cats’ efficiency at the plate has arguably been their strongest asset all season. Owning a .833 win percentage in the Big Ten, NU’s RBIs and hitting percentage have immensely improved since the 2022 campaign — its 20-run performance over the Blue Demons serves as proof.

Heading into Sunday’s first game of the doubleheader, the Cats built on their momentum and controlled the game with ease. Winning 5-0, NU’s electric offense was too much for Iowa, reiterating the program’s offensive dominance. Shellmyer led the team with two runs while Nelson finished with a single and two RBIs.

However, the Cats’ success in the series took an unexpected turn in the final rendezvous, dropping a close match 6-5 to the Hawkeyes. Yet, even in the loss, the squad’s series performance lifted the team to second place in the conference standings.

NU will have another opportunity to get back in the win column Wednesday against in-state rival Illinois. Another road game, the Cats will have to ensure the travel abundance doesn’t create fatigue in their offense.

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