No. 22 Northwestern softball (6-6, 0-0 B1G) went 2-2 at the Mary Nutter Classic this weekend, going .500 for the third weekend in a row. The Wildcats dropped their first two games to No. 20 Oregon (13-3, 0-0 PAC-12) and No 2. UCLA (17-1, 0-0 PAC-12) before picking up wins against No. 17 Kentucky (10-3-1, 1-0 SEC) and San Diego (3-14, 0-0 WCC).
Game One – Oregon 2, Northwestern 1
Third-year pitcher Lauren Boyd pitched a complete game and struck out five, but an RBI single from graduate second baseman Allee Bunker in the top of the seventh would be the final blow.
Graduate catcher Jordyn Rudd hit her first homer of the season to tie the game in the fourth, but she was just one of four Wildcats to get a hit against second-year pitcher Stevie Hansen, who pitched a complete game and struck out five.
Game Two – UCLA 2, Northwestern 1
Fourth-year pitcher Sydney Supple got the start, and while she only allowed one earned run in four innings, that was all UCLA needed. Graduate pitcher Cami Henry shutout the last two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one.
UCLA graduate pitcher Brooke Yanez pitched a complete game, striking out five, allowing just two hits and retiring 17 batters in a row.
Rudd would hit another homer in the seventh to bring the deficit to one, but it was just too late for the ’Cats to rally.
Game Three – Northwestern 9, Kentucky 3
After going down 2-1 early, graduate center fielder Skyler Shellmyer hit an RBI single in the fourth to start a four-run rally. Shellmyer went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
The Wildcats followed up the four-run fourth with a four-run fifth inning to seal the deal, including a two-RBI single from graduate shortstop Maeve Nelson on her only hit of the game.
Graduate pitcher Danielle Williams started the game for Northwestern, and she shut the game down. Williams pitched a complete game, striking out seven and allowing only one earned run to get NU its first victory of the weekend.
Game Four – Northwestern 2, San Diego 1
Cami Henry returned to the circle to start the weekend finale, and held San Diego to just three hits in six innings. Williams finished the game, earning her first save of the season and striking out two in the seventh.
The Wildcats didn’t fare much better than the Toreros on offense, but a two-run homer from fourth-year left fielder Angela Zedak would prove to be enough to get the win.
While the Wildcats were able to end the weekend on a high note, offensive consistency is something to watch in the future. Northwestern currently averages 6.8 runs in its wins, and just 1.2 runs in losses. Being able to shake off cold streaks in the middle of games could turn the tide and bring NU a few more dubs, especially considering that the pitching staff averaged just one earned run per game last weekend.
Next up for the ’Cats is the Cardinal Classic in Louisville, where they’ll take on Toledo (2-7, 0-0 MAC), Louisville (12-4, 0-0 ACC), and Northern Kentucky (3-7, 0-0 Horizon).