Softball Takes Out Big Ten Leader #15 Northwestern, 4-3
April 20, 2005
Chicago, Ill. - The UIC softball team toppled Big Ten leader #15 Northwestern on Wednesday night, snapping the Wildcats' 14-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory at Flames Field.
Horizon League frontrunner UIC (32-21), which picked up its first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since downing then-#10 Tennessee, 6-5, back on May 22nd, 2004 at the NCAA Regional Championships, is now 4-1 this season versus the Big Ten.
Northwestern (32-10) last tasted defeat back on March 26th with a loss to Illinois at the Stanford Classic.
Rookie pitcher Mercedes Lovato went the distance to pick up the win for the Flames, allowing three runs, two earned, while striking out three. She is now 15-9 on the season.
Reliever Courtnay Foster was the tough-luck loser, falling to 16-5 this year despite surrendering just one unearned run on one hit in 2 2/3 innings of work.
The Flames capitalized on four Northwestern errors on Wednesday, scoring four unearned runs including the game-winner on an error by Wildcat third baseman Darcy Sengewald in the bottom of the fifth.
UIC took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning after back-to-back errors with one out opened the door for junior Nicole Shepard, whose bases loaded single drove home a pair of runs to break a 1-1 tie.
Northwestern clawed back to knot the game with an unearned run in the fourth and a solo home run by Kristen Amegin in the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Shepard, who reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch before eventually scoring the go-ahead run on Sengewald's miscue.
Lovato kept the Wildcats' bats at bay over the final two innings, stranding the tying run on second in the sixth and then getting Katie Logan to ground out with a runner on first in the seventh to end the game.
Senior Cameron Astiazaran had two of UIC's four hits on the day, raising her batting average to .480.
The Flames will be back in action on Saturday when they open a three-game Horizon League series at Wright State with a doubleheader at 12:00 p.m. CDT.