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Softball: Northwestern adds three wins but can’t top No. 3 Oklahoma

NU got blown out twice by the Sooners and topped three lesser opponents to improve to 17-6.

nusports.com

Northwestern put up another solid weekend, going 3-2 at the Oklahoma Tournament in Norman. The Wildcats beat Drake, Tulsa and Grand Canyon but fell to No. 3 Oklahoma twice, both times in blowout fashion.

The weekend started dramatically as Northwestern was tied with Drake heading into the seventh inning. Freshman Danielle Williams knocked a game-tying RBI single and one inning later, Nikki Cuchran hit a walk-off single. Cuchran had a weekend to remember, going 5-for-16 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored.

Next up was third-ranked Oklahoma. NU could only manage one hit against Giselle Juarez and Shannon Saile. Sophomore Kenna Wilkey held the Sooners to one run through three innings, but OU exploded for six in the fourth to put the game out of reach.

Saturday brought better fate for Northwestern, as it won both games easily, 9-1 over Tulsa in five innings and 7-2 over Grand Canyon. The Antelopes upended top-ranked Florida State last week. Cuchran continued her hitting heroics with a two-run home run against Tulsa and a 10-pitch at-bat against Grand Canyon which culminated in a two-run double. She currently leads the team with a .353 batting average. Williams picked up her aforementioned team-leading 12th win of the season in the victory over Tulsa, and Wilkey went the distance against Grand Canyon.

The Wildcats’ weekend culminated with another game against the Sooners. The outcome was nearly the same as the first matchup, though. Oklahoma crushed three home runs of Williams, who gave up six runs in the worst start of her young college career. Juarez stifled NU once again, striking out six batters in four innings as only managed three hits.

Northwestern stands at 17-6, a very good start, and has beaten inferior and quality opponents alike. In the few games Northwestern has faced top-tier competition, though, it has struggled to break through. The Wildcats have lost a close one to then-fifth-ranked Washington and two noncompetitive ones to third-ranked Oklahoma.

The Wildcats hit the road once again next Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., for doubleheaders against both Toledo and Indiana.