Softball: Six Northwestern players homer in run-rule win over Illinois


Daily file photo by Jorge Melendez

Graduate student pitcher Danielle Williams throws a pitch on the mound of Sharon J. Drysdale Field. Against Illinois, Williams threw a five-inning shutout with 11 strikeouts, bringing her to fourth place on NU’s all-time strikeout leaderboard.

Rachel Schlueter, Reporter

No. 23 Northwestern’s (21-9, 6-1 Big Ten) offensive firepower lifted the Wildcats to a 12-0 run-rule victory versus in-state rival Illinois (22-15, 1-6 Big Ten) Wednesday.

For the first time this season, each player in the starting lineup got a hit during the game. Graduate catcher Jordyn Rudd, freshman second baseman Kansas Robinson and junior third baseman Hannah Cady each had two hits in the five-inning game.

Cady jump-started the Cats’ offense in the first inning with a two-run home run, her fourth of the year. The blast came with two strikes and two outs in the top of the frame.

In NU’s second half-inning, senior left fielder Angela Zedak hit a solo home run, extending the Cats’ lead to 3-0. Later in the inning, with two outs, Robinson continued the trend and hit a solo home run of her own, upping NU’s lead to 4-0.

The Cats’ hot bats were bolstered by graduate pitcher Danielle Williams’ shutout performance on the mound. In the bottom of the second, Williams struck out the side, and by the end of the contest the ace gave up just one hit and struck out 11 batters.

In the third, NU’s offense exploded. Graduate first baseman Nikki Cuchran’s fielder’s choice brought home Rudd, who led off the inning with a double. Two batters later, freshman right fielder Kelsey Nader took advantage of a pitch right over the heart of the plate. Her three-run home run over the right-center wall was the first of her collegiate career and gave the Cats an 8-0 lead.

But, the third-inning party wasn’t over just yet. Robinson continued her success at the plate, hitting a stand-up RBI triple down the right field line, while graduate shortstop Maeve Nelson joined the home-run fun with her own two-out, two-run bomb bringing the score to 11-0.

In the top of the fifth, senior pinch hitter Emmie Farnam hit a solo home run, extending NU’s lead to 12-0 and capping off its victory in Champaign.

The Cats recorded a season-high six home runs by six different players during the game — the epitome of a true team win.

Although NU’s bats were the main story of the night, Williams’ dominant performance was a pivotal factor as well. Williams notched her sixth win of the season and now sits in fourth place on the Cats’ all-time strikeout leaderboard.

The victory once again proved coach Kate Drohan’s team to be a threat both in the circle and the batter’s box. Ahead of a weekend home series against Penn State, NU will be looking to replicate this commanding performance.

NU will play the Nittany Lions at Sharon J. Drysdale Field on April 7-9.

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Twitter: @rschlueter26

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