Bowling Smacks Grand Slam in B1G Tourney Loss
May 8, 2014
Evanston, Illinois - A pair of big home runs - a three-run shot in the second and a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth - generated most of Northwestern's offense, as the home team posted a 10-4 decision to advance in the Big Ten Tournament. MSU finishes its season at 12-37, while NU moves into the quarterfinals of the Tournament with a 33-15 record.
The teams combined for 10 runs in the fifth inning. Trailing 3-0 after a Andrea Filler three-run shot in the bottom of the second inning, MSU's runs came in the top of the fifth on a grand slam by senior Sarah Bowling, temporarily giving MSU a 4-3 lead. The Wildcats countered with six runs in the bottom of the inning, aided by four walks and a grand slam by catcher Paige Tonz to regain the lead and also put the game out of reach. MSU left 11 runners on base in the game, while the Wildcats left seven.
"We just failed to capitalize on the opportunities that they gave us," said head coach Jacquie Joseph. "We left the bases loaded twice, and then gave them some opportunities with our mistakes as well - the difference being that they capitalized when we gave them the opportunities. I thought we approached the game well, and played really well for the first four innings. I'm thrilled for Sarah Bowling that she ended her career with a grand slam. "
Northwestern took a lead in the bottom of the second inning, after the Wildcat side was retired in order in the bottom of the first. Starting pitcher Valerie Kaff walked leadoff batter Andrea DiPrima, then got Anna Edwards to fly out to center for the first out of the inning. Brianna LeBeau worked a full count, then got hit with a pitch to put two runners on for Andrea Filler; Filler sent a 2-1 pitch to right center for a three-run homer, her fifth round-tripper of the season, to give the home team a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Kassidy Kujawa laced a two-out double up the left field line, but McBride lined out to left to leave Kujawa on base and maintain MSU's 3-0 deficit. In the bottom half of the inning, Brianna LeBeau stroked a one-out double to put a runner on, and a nice defensive stab by Destinee Luna two batters later corralled a shot by catcher Paige Tonz, but the long throw across the diamond was not in time and left runners at the corners with two outs for pinch hitter Sammy Albanese. She grounded the first pitch to Gutknecht at third, and she gunned down Albanese to get MSU out of the inning.
MSU made its move top of the fifth. After Ellie Stoffer grounded out on a hard chopper to second to lead off, Jacquie Reiser worked a walk, and Gutknecht doubled to the wall in left center and got Reiser to third. Freimuth walked to load the bases, bringing up Bowling; she took a big cut on the first pitch and sent it over the left field fence, giving the Spartans their first lead of the night. It was the first homer for Bowling this season, and the 15th of her career. Destinee Luna walked to put another runner on, which chased Wood from the circle; she was replaced by freshman Nicole Bond. Bond walked the first batter she faced (Stephanie Sanders), and both she and Luna advanced on a wild pitch, to put two runners in scoring position for Kassidy Kujawa. She lost Kujawa on a 3-1 pitch to once again load the bases; McBride came to the plate as the ninth batter for the Spartans, but grounded out in a fielder's choice to third for the second out. Stoffer, who led off the inning for MSU, flew out to center with the bases loaded to end the MSU threat, but the Spartans took their first lead in the last four games against the host Wildcats.
Allard led off the bottom of the inning with a single to left, and the speedy centerfielder stole both second and third to put a runner on third for Mary Majam; Majam walked to put runners at the corners with no outs. Marisa Bast grounded out to second, scoring Allard to tie the game at four; DiPrima walked and was replaced on the basepaths by Krista Williams; An infield error allowed Edwards to reach first and load the bases with one out, and Kaff came back and got LeBeau swinging for the second out of the inning. That brought Filler, who have the home team a 3-0 lead with the three-run homer in the second, to the plate. She got ahead in the count 3-0, took the next pitch to make it 3-1, Kaff nipped the inside corner to make it 3-2, but lost her on a pitch that was just high to force in a run and make it 5-4 in favor of the home team. Tonz came up and also worked a full count, and then sent the next pitch over the fence in right center to turn a one-run game into a 9-4 lead for the home team. Kaff walked Julia Kuhn, spelling the end of her night as Smith took over for her in the circle. Smith gave up a single to Allard, but got Marjam to get out of the inning.
Reiser drew a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth, and advanced on a wild pitch. Bond threw seven straight balls to open the inning before catching the inside corner on a 3-0 offering to Gutknecht, but her next pitch was in the dirt to put a pair of runners on with no outs for Freimuth. Freimuth sacrificed the runners into scoring position, bringing fifth-inning hero Bowling to the plate. She was hit by a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with one out. Luna swung at strike three for a second out, bringing Sanders to the plate. She smoked a 3-1 pitch down the left field just foul, then looked at a called third strike that got Bond out of the bases-loaded jam.
Smith hit Bast to start the bottom of the sixth, then walked Edwards with one out to put on a pair for Filler. She hit a 1-1 pitch down the left field line just out of the reach of Kujawa, getting in for a double that scored Bast for a 10-4 lead. Smith got Tonz to ground out to third to end the inning.
MSU went down in order in the top of the seventh to close out the game for Bond.'
Tonight's contest was the first-ever night game at Northwestern's Sharon J. Drysdale Field; the legendary coach was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in the contest.
at the official