After last weekend series sweep of Illinois, Northwestern coach Kate Drohan praised her team’s offensive revival and its sensational pitching, which included a no-hitter and a one-hitter. This weekend, the bats came to play for the Wildcats, but the pitching wasn’t there, as NU lost two-of-three to Iowa. The Hawkeyes had struggled offensively since starting Big Ten play, scoring just 16 runs in 9 games, but they scored 30 in this three-game set.
Game 1: Iowa 12, Northwestern 7
NU player of the game: Amy Letourneau
Doug Meffley Weather Report: 7-layer cloud bean dip
It’s tough to pick a player of the game in this one for NU, because nobody played particularly well. Amy Letourneau had a rough day at the mound, allowing 8 runs in 3.1 innings, but she was NU’s best offensive player, going 4-for-4 with 4 RBIs. The Wildcats jumped out early with 3 runs in the first inning, but Iowa rode a 9-run fourth inning to victory.
Game 2: Iowa 15, Northwestern 14
NU player of the game: Anna Edwards
Doug Meffley Weather Report: Wind whips hair back/forth
Like offense? Then this might have been the most entertaining softball game of the year. Iowa had a 10-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth — NU’s last chance to save itself from a run rule — but the Wildcats fought back with 6 runs that inning, then outscored the Hawkeyes 5-2 in the next inning to tie the game at 12. Iowa scored 3 more in the seventh and NU couldn’t quite catch up, scoring “just” two that inning. The game took nearly three hours and was the highest scoring Big Ten game the Hawkeyes had ever played in. Iowa also scored just one fewer run in this game than it had in its first nine Big Ten games. On the NU side, Anna Edwards continued an impressive Big Ten season with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs.
Game 3: Northwestern 11, Iowa 3 (5 innings)
NU player of the game: Marisa Bast
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Like the first game, Northwestern jumped out in front, this time with 4 runs in the first inning. Iowa kept threatening, but couldn’t do anything until pitcher Amy Letourneau loaded the bases with three hit batters and Sammi Gyermann knocked two runs in. NU added another run in the fourth and Iowa added one in the fifth. Then in the bottom of the fifth, Marisa Bast, who already had an RBI double in the first, broke the game open with a 3-run homer. After another run scored, lead-off hitter Kristin Scharkey knocked in two runs with a single to end the game and run-rule the Hawkeyes.
NU takes on Northern Illinois at home on Tuesday before heading to State College for a series against Penn State and to Madison for a double-header against Wisconsin. The series against the Nittany Lions will be the Wildcats’ first road series since the series at Nebraska on the weekend of March 22.