Blurb: “Northwestern Softball has won 85.7% of its games since March 1. Here’s how. Reported by @milesrfrench”
The winds of change are blowing in Evanston.
Northwestern softball (25-9, 10-1 B1G) was 6-6 at the beginning of March. Since then, the team has won 85.7% of its games.
The Wildcats went 3-1 in the Cardinal Classic and after a one-run loss to No.1 Oklahoma in the Omni Hall of Fame Classic, the team uncorked a dominant 10-game winning streak and is currently ranked No. 20 in the country. The Wildcats started their conference schedule with a sweep of Minnesota at home and won their next two series against Iowa and Penn State.
The entire team has contributed to recent success but a few names have stood out.
Graduate first baseman Nikki Cuchran had Northwestern’s fourth-highest batting average and the third-most RBI last season. She’s kept that same energy in 2023. Cuchran has the second-highest batting average and third-most RBI on this year’s team. She’s also improved her play with time, as she’s hitting .533 in B1G play. She’s third on the team in walks, fifth in total hits and third in on-base percentage. Cuchran’s been raking this season, and the team is better off for it.
Third-year pitcher Lauren Boyd might not have been the most anticipated name among Northwestern’s pitchers for this season, but she’s proved naysayers wrong. Boyd has the team’s lowest ERA at 1.89 and the lowest WHIP at 1.10. She isn’t a strikeout savant like Danielle Williams, but is still second on the team in punchouts with 60. Boyd both starts and pitches in relief, and has the most innings pitched on the team. Batters facing her hit .219, and coaches are confident she can deliver in big games. In a star-studded bullpen, Boyd is carving her own path.
Graduate catcher Jordyn Rudd has been a two-way force. The "RBI Machine" leads the team in that category this season with 32, and recently moved into 5th all-time in career RBI at NU. Rudd has pop in her bat, sporting the second-most home runs on the team with six and tied for the most doubles with seven. Pair that with the second-highest OPS on the team at 0.996, Rudd is a force at the plate.
She’s also a force behind the plate; as the everyday catcher, she has a .995 fielding percentage, tied for the highest among NU players with 50 or more chances. Rudd has additionally caught a team-leading seven would-be base-stealers.
The team plays Illinois on Wednesday before traveling to Madison for a series with the Wisconsin Badgers. Head coach Kate Drohan’s squad is on the move this Spring, and doesn’t look to be slowing down.