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: Northwestern secures midweek run-rule win at Illinois

Daily file photo by Henry Frieman
Graduate student outfielder Angela Zedak loads up for a pitch. Zedak was 4-for-4 with three homeruns in Northwestern’s win over Illinois Tuesday.

Following last weekend’s Michigan sweep, Northwestern traveled south for a Tuesday tilt against in-state rival Illinois.

Behind graduate student outfielder Angela Zedak’s 4-of-4, three-home run performance, the Wildcats (23-8, 9-1 Big Ten) defeated the Fighting Illini (15-22, 2-7 Big Ten) 8-0.

“This is a game that we circle every year,” Zedak told the Big Ten Network postgame. “It’s super fun to be the in-state team any chance we can.”

The result marked the team’s seventh shutout victory this season.

After sophomore sluggers Kansas Robinson and Kelsey Nader each hit into outs to start the game, Zedak wasted no time putting NU on the board. The outfielder mounted her first solo shot to straightaway center.

With a one-run lead, the ’Cats entered the field behind their ace — graduate student Ashley Miller — who now boasts a conference-best 1.16 ERA following Tuesday’s win.

NU extended its early lead in the second frame as freshman catcher Emma Raye doubled to lead off and then scored on a throwing error following sophomore infielder Bridget Donahey’s sacrifice bunt.

Coach Kate Drohan’s squad tallied half of its runs in the third inning with a pair of two-run dingers plating four more NU runs. After Nader’s lead-off single, Zedak went yard for the second time that evening. Four batters later, freshman utility player Isabel Cunnea followed suit with a two-run homer of her own.

Before the past weekend’s series against Michigan, Cunnea had no extra base hits in her young career. In less than a week, the freshman tallied three home runs and two doubles, which earned her co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades, with Penn State’s Bridget Nemeth.

The ’Cats carried their offensive momentum into the subsequent inning, boarding another run on consecutive singles from Nader and Zedak after Robinson worked a walk.

With two Illinois runners in scoring position and one out in the bottom of the fourth, NU held its opponent to another scoreless inning under pressure to keep its shutout alive.

During the fifth inning, the ’Cats’ scoring efforts were halted for the first time all game despite junior utility player Lauren Sciborski delivering a lead-off pinch-hit double — her third hit of the season.

In blow-out fashion, NU secured a run-rule victory in the sixth inning courtesy of Zedak’s third and final home run. The graduate student’s dominant performance at the plate tied the Big Ten record for most homers in a conference game and set program records for both home runs and total bases in a game.

Miller conceded just three hits on the night, exiting the game before the final inning to allow freshman pitcher Renae Cunningham to seal the victory with an eight-run cushion.

After their midweek road trip, the ’Cats look to sustain their winning momentum as they prepare to host Maryland this weekend.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyPachuta

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