Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Junior+infielder+Grace+Nieto+crosses+home+plate.
Daily file photo by Seeger Gray
Junior infielder Grace Nieto crosses home plate.

Northwestern, scheduled to play five games at the Shriners Children’s Clearwater Invitational this weekend, returned home with a 1-1 record after inclement weather cut its campaign short. 

The Wildcats (5-2, 0-0, Big Ten) missed out on matchups against No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Texas and UCF. 

In the games they were able to play, NU suffered a narrow 13-12 loss to No. 12 LSU on a walk-off but bounced back with a commanding 19-6 victory over Georgia Tech. 

The ‘Cats started their weekend with a bang as senior infielder Hannah Cady delivered a three-run homer in the first inning against LSU on Friday, following walks drawn by two of NU’s first three batters.

In the top of the second, the ‘Cats mounted their early lead to five runs after freshman Riley Grudzielanek, who started in the lineup as a designated player before taking the mound later in the game, tallied a two-run home run. 

Despite starting with an early NU advantage, a back-and-forth battle unfolded between the two ranked teams in the bottom of the second inning.

The Tigers amassed three unearned runs in the second inning, capitalizing on Cady’s fielding error, the first of five errors for coach Kate Drohan’s squad in Friday’s matchup.

During a high-scoring seesaw affair that saw runs in every inning, highlights included Cady’s three-hit, five-RBI showing, and graduate student pitcher Ashley Miller’s solid outing against a potent LSU offense.

Miller, renowned for her ability to rack up strikeouts, had to utilize her spin and rely on defensive plays to secure outs across the diamond. Despite recording only one strikeout, she gave up just four hits. 

Miller exited the game during an LSU rally in the fourth inning but returned in the seventh after freshman pitcher Renae Cunningham allowed five runs in just one inning. 

Despite the last-minute pitching change, the ‘Cats couldn’t stave off LSU, who clinched the victory with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

Following the loss to LSU, NU bounced back with a blowout victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday morning. 

After only seeing 1.2 innings in the circle against LSU, Grudzielanek got the start Saturday and secured her second win of the season. 

Sophomore outfielder Kelsey Nader’s leadoff double, coupled with Cady’s subsequent hit, extended the team’s streak of scoring in each opening frame this season. Nader has reached base to start the game in five out of seven contests this season.

While NU’s offense remained consistent throughout the game, an explosive nine-run fifth inning prompted two pitching changes for Georgia Tech and ultimately propelled NU to a dominant run-rule win. 

The electric inning featured consecutive homers by Nader and sophomore infielder Bridget Dohaney. Dohaney went yard in her only at-bat of the game.

Following a condensed stint in Clearwater, the ‘Cats will look ahead to next weekend where they will travel to the Golden State to face No. 20 UCLA, Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Oregon State at the Mary Nutter Classic. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyPachuta

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