March 29, 2013
EVANSTON, ILL. - Minnesota drew nine walks and stranded nine runners on base, as Northwestern recorded a 6-2 win in the opening game of a three-game weekend series at Sharon J. Drysdale Field on Friday afternoon,
Northwestern pitcher Amy Letourneau (9-7) threw the 45th no-hitter in NU softball history despite issuing the nine walks and hitting two other Minnesota players with pitches.
The Wildcats (15-12, 1-2) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally against Minnesota starter Sara Moulton (17-7).
Northwestern's second run of that inning was a hard-hit ball to third base that deflected off sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson's glove and then hit her in the face. Richardson injured her nose on the play and did not return to the game. She was replaced in the lineup by freshman Paige Palkovich.
Minnesota responded by scoring a pair of runs without a hit in the top of the third. Sophomore left fielder Erica Meyer led off the inning with a walk, and stole second base. Sophomore shortstop Tyler Walker then drew a walk, and senior catcher Kari Dorle moved the runners to second and third by executing a sacrifice bunt.
Palkovich, hitting for Richardson, followed by just missing a home run to left center, but the ball was hit deep enough to allow Meyer to score and Walker to move to third. Junior center fielder Bree Blanchette drew a walk, and ball four bounced off the catcher's mit to allow Walker to tie the game on a passed ball.
But Northwestern answered with three runs and five hits in the bottom of the third to take a 5-2 lead and knock Moulton from the game. Freshman lefty Nikki Anderson came on in relief and allowed just two hits and one earned run over the final 3.2 innings, striking out four and walking just one.
The teams resume their weekend series on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. CT.
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