Your weekend may have been bad, but it was probably better than the Northwestern softball team’s.
Without scoring a single run, the ‘Cats (13-19, 1-5 B1G) were swept in Ann Arbor by No. 20 Michigan (26-7-1, 6-0 B1G), losing 10-0, 6-0 and 4-0. The sweep dropped them to second-to-last in the conference play with only Maryland (0-6) behind them.
The weekend opened on a rough note – the ‘Cats couldn’t even make it a full seven innings, falling to the ten-run mercy rule in the fifth inning. Michigan scored three runs in the first inning on a string of walks and singles. Pitcher Kaley Winegarner held the Wolverines scoreless in the second, but it didn’t last: In the third, Michigan shortstop Abby Ramirez broke the game open with a RBI-double to left, and the beatdown really never stopped. Michigan added three runs in the third and four more in in the fourth.
Northwestern put up a goose egg for runs on just three hits, and the 10-run deficit ended the game after just four-and-a-half innings.
In the next two games, Northwestern at least managed to finish the game, but the offense performed no better. On Saturday, pitched Nicole Bond made it through five-and-two-thirds innings with only two runs allowed, but Michigan tripled the lead in the bottom of the sixth with RBI doubles by 2B Faith Canfield and 1B Aidan Falk followed by an RBI single by shortstop Abby Ramirez.
Once again, the ‘Cats managed only three hits. Michigan ace Tera Blanco threw a seven-inning dealing three strikeouts and no walks.
On Sunday, Northwestern did its best job yet containing the Michigan offense, but it was far from enough considering the team’s offensive performance. Michigan pitcher Megan Betsa allowed just two hits over seven innings and fanned nine Northwestern batters while walking just two.
The Michigan offense was not its usual explosive self, but they kept the line moving enough to score a run in each inning from the second through the fourth. Pitcher Nicole Bond was the only bright spot for the ‘Cats; she pitched a hitless inning-and-a-third to end the game (and added a strikeout), but if your bright spot is a reliever pitching at the end of a losing game, your team is probably not doing particularly well.
The ‘Cats look to turn things around at home on Wednesday against Illinois (24-10, 4-2 B1G).