On Wednesday, we were back on the Beat with the Northwestern Wildcats Women's softball team. While not much of a distance from their usual home games in Evanston, this game was a road game against Loyola on the north side of Chicago.
The Wildcats beat the Ramblers 6-3 to improve their record to 16-20. The loss evened Loyola's record at 18-18.
The weather was chilly. Northwestern's website called it "crisp, like an unripened pear." The Wildcats warmed up quickly though.
Leadoff hitter Sabrina Rabin worked the pitcher hard, coaxing a walk after 8 pitches. Krista Williams followed with a single. Marissa Panko's single scored Rabin, but Williams also raced home when the Ramblers outfielder bobbled the ball for an error.
The Wildcats kept the pressure on by scoring again in the second. Sammy Nettling singled and was driven home by a line shot double from Alcy Bush. The Wildcats were up 3-0.
In the bottom of the second, the Ramblers got two singles, followed by a home run. The score was 3-3 after two innings.
In the top of the fourth, Nettling singled and Bush doubled again. Rabin singled Bush to third. Bush then scored on a groundout from Williams. Panko's double scored Rabin.
That was the end of the scoring. The rest of the game sped along and the Wildcats walked away with the 6-3 win.
After the game, we talked to Northwestern Coach Kate Drohan. We got her assessment fo the team so far, as well as her thoughts on pleasant surprises.
The Wildcats are now in Minnesota for a three game series with the Golden Gophers. This will be a good test for the Wildcats. I'd love the team to sweep, but two wins would be great. Minimally, I want to see the Cats take one.
As of this writing, there are fourteen regular season games left. The Wildcats are 12th in the 14 team Big Ten Conference. michigan (9-1), Minnesota (8-1), Illinois (7-2) and Ohio State (8-3) are the front-runners right now. At 3-6 in Cobference play, the Wildcats have a bit of a climb, but this team is poised to make a litttle run. I don't know if 1st is probable, but the can certainly make noise and reach the upper end of the standings.
We will continue following the Wildcats and reporting here. You can also get more info at the Northwestern Wildcats Softball site. Purple Power is alive in Evanston and I am loving it.
Thank you to Northwestern University for their hospitality. Thanks to Coach Drohan for her time and consideration.