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 sweeps Maryland, extends unbeaten home streak

Daily file photo by Henry Frieman
Sophomore infielder Kansas Robinson high-fives coach Kate Drohan as she rounds the bases. Robinson logged three RBIs in the ’Cats’ series against Maryland.

Padding its undefeated home streak and lead over the Big Ten field, Northwestern swept Maryland in a three-game weekend series.

The Wildcats (26-8, 12-1 Big Ten) extended their home winning streak to 36 games — the longest active streak of any Division 1 squad — en route to securing a two-game advantage in the conference standings.

With 10 regular season contests remaining, NU has won 18 of its last 19 games and has won seven consecutive matchups.

The ’Cats’ pitching staff shined, limiting the Terrapins (17-24, 4-10 Big Ten) to six runs all weekend — the fewest number of runs Maryland has scored in a conference series this year. Graduate student pitcher Ashley Miller led the effort on the mound, picking up her sixth and seventh Big Ten wins.

Among NU’s offensive leaders, freshman infielder Ainsley Muno shone, punching in five runs and hitting a grand slam on Saturday. 

Senior infielder Hannah Cady collected four RBIs of her own. Though Cady’s bat had been quiet in conference play, recording just five hits prior to the weekend, the senior was a crucial part of NU’s lineup after opening scoring in two tight games on Friday and Sunday.

The ’Cats prevailed 5-4 in Friday’s game. Cady put NU on the board with a groundout that scored sophomore infielder Kansas Robinson.

Two scintillating sophomore sluggers extended the hosts’ lead in the bottom of the second. Sophomore infielder Bridget Donahey sent a solo shot to straightaway center. Later that inning, Robinson brought the score to 4-0 with a two-run home run, her career-high 10th bomb of the season.

Miller didn’t allow a Terrapin hit until the top of the fifth. While back-to-back Maryland doubles and a single up the middle cut the ’Cats’ lead in half during the sixth Miller dug deep, forcing three straight outs.

Junior outfielder Ayana Lindsey provided necessary insurance in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI double.

In the top of the seventh, a Maryland RBI triple and throwing error by Cady made the score 5-4. With two runners on and one out, Miller again showed grit and forced two ground outs, securing NU’s victory. NU’s ace tossed seven innings, striking out four and allowing two runs.

Four ’Cats homered in Saturday’s run-rule 12-1 victory. The Terrapins opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI double, but the lead was short-lived as NU’s offense soon took over. 

Donahey scored on a throwing error, and sophomore outfielder Kelsey Nader followed up with a three-run dinger to put NU ahead by three.

The following inning, Cady and freshman catcher Emma Raye added to the home run tally with solo shots. Muno knocked a fielder’s choice for an RBI, and Robinson collected her 30th RBI of the season to make the score 8-1.

Muno sealed the deal in the fourth inning with a two-out grand slam hit off Welsh-Ryan Arena, electrifying the home crowd.

Graduate student pitcher Cami Henry and freshman pitcher Renae Cunningham split time on the mound to hold Maryland to four hits over five innings. Henry took the win in her first Big Ten start, throwing two innings and allowing one run. Cunningham tossed three hitless frames.

Despite neither Henry nor Cunningham recording a strikeout, defensive web gems kept the bases clear. Graduate outfielder Angela Zedak dove for a left field catch in the second inning, and six different ’Cats engineered a double play with two Terrapins in scoring position.

NU completed the sweep Sunday with a 2-1 win. Miller threw her second complete game of the series, allowing four hits and one run while striking out six.

In the first inning, Raye caught Maryland outfielder and Big Ten stolen base leader Jaeda McFarland stealing. During the bottom of the inning, Cady put the ’Cats up with a two-RBI double. 

The Terrapins threatened NU’s lead with a fourth-inning RBI double. Miller responded with a strikeout, stranding a Maryland runner in scoring position. A one-run lead was all Miller and the ’Cats needed to seal the weekend finale victory. 

NU will look to protect its undefeated home streak on Tuesday against Illinois.

Email: [email protected]

X: @rschlueter26

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