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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Softball: Strong defensive and pitching performances propel Northwestern to a split at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

Northwestern+will+look+to+build+on+the+momentum+of+back+to+back+victories+as+it+heads+to+Alabama+next+weekend.
Daily file photo by Mary Randolph
Northwestern will look to build on the momentum of back to back victories as it heads to Alabama next weekend.

While explosive offense has dominated Northwestern softball’s early-season narrative thus far, resilient pitching performances in low-scoring matchups led the team to a split result at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic this weekend. 

The Wildcats (7-4, 0-0 Big Ten) battled tough competition in their near-annual trip to southern California, winning two games and narrowly losing two close contests in shutout fashion.

Coach Kate Drohan’s squad opened the tournament Friday with a 1-0 loss to No. 19 UCLA, the group’s sole ranked opponent of the weekend.

The contest remained scoreless for five and half innings as NU boasted the potential of its young defensive core, ending the first two frames on squeaky clean double plays.

Graduate student pitcher Ashley Miller struck out six Bruins in her first outing of the weekend and conceded only four hits to a potent UCLA lineup.

The ‘Cats surrendered the game’s deciding run on a sixth-inning defensive miscommunication that allowed UCLA’s Maya Brady to score from second.

Following the loss, NU looked to bounce back in a Saturday morning showdown with Loyola Marymount. 

In another low-scoring affair featuring flawless defense, the ‘Cats fell 2-0, conceding the game’s only runs on consecutive fourth inning solo shots.

Offensively, Drohan’s squad struggled to produce, tallying just one hit in the team’s 24 plate appearances. 

Leaving the trip’s opening two games in the rearview mirror, NU notched its first win of the weekend with a 9-8 victory over San Diego.

In an all-hands-on-deck effort that saw three pitching changes and eight different players reaching base, NU managed to clinch the win even despite a seventh inning Torero rally.

Sophomore outfielder Kelsey Nader and sophomore infielder Kansas Robinson each recorded two hits Sunday, with Robinson extending her streak of reaching base in every game this season. 

Building upon the momentum from a win over San Diego, the ‘Cats secured a shutout victory against Oregon State in the weekend’s final matchup. 

Miller took the mound for her second start of the weekend and retired 18 consecutive Beavers to carry a no-hit bid into the seventh. She appeared in all four games during the team’s Golden State excursion, giving up just one run in 16 innings pitched.

In a game where the team’s reliable offensive standouts failed to produce, the team leaned heavily on young bats in the lineup.

Freshman infielder Ainsley Muno was the only player to achieve a multi-hit game, securing both her first-career hits and her first RBI in the team’s win over Oregon State.

Sophomore infielder Bridget Donahey accounted for two of the team’s runs, homering in the second inning and scoring on a double-steal play in the fourth to extend the lead to three.

NU collected six hits in the victory, but the team’s inability to capitalize on scoring opportunities left 11 runners stranded on base.

The ‘Cats will travel to Alabama next weekend for the Jane B. Moore Memorial Tournament where they’ll face a challenging five-game schedule –– including two matchups against No. 24 Auburn.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyPachuta

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