Going into the seventh inning at Big Ten rival Illinois (23-17, 3-8 B1G) on Wednesday, Northwestern (16-23, 7-7 B1G) trailed 6-4. But thanks to three huge doubles, the Wildcats exploded for eight runs in the final inning, going on to win the game 12-6.
Sammy Nettling’s bases-clearing double brought in three runs, and she led the ‘Cats with four RBIs on the day. Amy Letourneau went a full seven frames, giving up just two earned runs while getting the victory.
Later that evening, in the second game of the doubleheader, the cardiac ‘Cats showed up again. With the game all knotted up at three in the sixth inning, Illinois outfielder Nicole Evans slammed a home run to put her team up 4-3.
But an Andrea Filler two-run double and a Letourneau RBI single in the seventh inning put the ‘Cats on top 6-4, a lead they would not relinquish. Filler’s three hits and four RBIs combined with Letourneau’s two hits and one RBI powered NU to victory, just as the senior combo has been doing all year.
After Kenzie Ellis tossed six solid innings for the Wildcats, Letourneau even came in for the seventh to get the save, after she had just pitched the full seven innings the game before. Both contests were gutsy wins against a strong Illinois team, showing what NU is capable of.
But the Wildcats stumbled over the weekend, losing all three games to Nebraska (28-14, 9-5 B1G).
This time, the roles were reversed. With NU up 3-1 going into the seventh inning, Nebraska tagged Letourneau for three runs, winning the game 4-3. Nettling led the ‘Cats with two RBIs on the day.
On Saturday, Nebraska pulled away from NU, scoring five runs in the final two innings to win 8-1. The Wildcats mustered just five hits all game, with Nettling recording two of them.
In a wild final game of the series on Sunday, NU almost pulled off a win, but fell 11-9 in 11 innings. The Wildcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings, thanks to a three-run dinger from Letourneau. But then Nebraska scored nine unanswered runs, taking a 9-5 lead into the sixth inning.
In the sixth and seventh innings, Morgan Nelson, Letourneau and Brooke Marquez all went yard for the ‘Cats, leveling the score back up at nine. Letourneau had three hits and five RBIs while also throwing 5.2 innings allowing just three hits and no earned runs.
But Letourneau and the ‘Cats would get the loss when in the 11th inning, Nebraska scored two runs on a throwing error, taking the game 11-9. NU will host Michigan State in its last home series of the year next weekend. The first game will be Friday at 4 p.m.