May 3, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Homestanding Northwestern jumped on the board early, and also took advantage of four Michigan State errors on the day in a six-inning, 9-1 victory over the Spartans on Saturday in Evanston. The Wildcats improve to 31-15 (13-9 B1G) with the win.
MSU (12-35, 4-18 Big Ten) has dropped six straight, but broke a string of four straight games without scoring a run when Sarah Bowling and Kassidy Kujawa smacked consecutive doubles in the fifth inning. However, Northwestern manufactured a run in each inning but the third, and capitalized on the four Spartan miscues in the field. Valerie Kaff pitched a complete game, allowing 11 hits, walking two and striking out two.
Adding insult to injury was an injury in the top of the first inning to third baseman Sarah Gutknecht, MSU's leading hitter. She exited the game after her first at-bat and was replaced at third by sophomore Shanin Thomas. MSU's four hits on the day came from four different players, which included a two-out triple by shortstop Destinee Luna in the top of the sixth. Kujawa had the lone Spartan RBI.
Mari Majam went 3-for-4, scoring three times and contributing an RBI. Andrea DiPrima was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, and Anna Edwards knocked in a pair of runs with a double in the bottom of the first that got the ball rolling for the Wildcats. The home team added a run in the second and blew open the game in the fourth with three runs on three hits. Emily Allard led off with a single, she stole second, and moved to third when Majam reached on an error. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Marisa Bast brought home Allard with an infield single, leaving runners at the corners for Olivia Duehr; she grounded out, but plated Majam for a 5-0 lead. Brianna LeBeau, who homered in Friday's game, singled to left to score Bast for the 3-0 lead. Ellie Stoffer, playing behind the plate for an injured Lindsey Besson, gunned down LeBeau as she tried to steal second to end the inning. Stoffer threw out two runners in the game, extinguishing Majam back in the second on a steal attempt.
Northwestern added one in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Filler and Paige Tonz, then closed out the run-rule victory with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Majam led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on an error; after Bast walked on four pitches, DiPrima singled to center to plate the final two runs of the game.
The teams will play on Sunday in a 1 p.m. ET start at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston.