5-run first inning propels Northwestern over Purdue

Senior Maddie Damon pitched one of her best outings this season, but the early Northwestern spurt was too much to overcome as Purdue softball fell to the Wildcats 8-2 on Saturday at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.

Posted: Apr 20, 2019 7:26 PM
Updated: Apr 20, 2019 7:30 PM

EVANSTON, Ill. (Purdue Sports) — Senior Maddie Damon pitched one of her best outings this season, but the early Northwestern spurt was too much to overcome as Purdue softball fell to the Wildcats 8-2 on Saturday at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.

With the loss the Boilermakers move to 30-19 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play, while the Wildcats improve to 35-7, including a 14-game winning streak in conference action.

Extending to a three-game hitting streak, freshman Rachel Becker opened Game 2 with a single up the middle, but a pair of strikeouts from Kaley Winegarner would keep the Boilermakers from capitalizing. In the bottom of the frame, Northwestern's offense picked up right where it left off in Game 1, scoring five runs on back-to-back doubles by Morgan Nelson and Maeve Nelson.

The Wildcats added to their lead with a Nelson home run and an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the second.

Trailing 7-0, Purdue threatened in the top of the third inning when it walked in a run on a bases-loaded situation. Senior Mallory Baker opened the frame with a double to left field, while seniors Jenny Behan and Lexi Huffman reached on an NU error and a walk, respectively. Junior Madison Douglass capitalized with her patience as she drew a walk to put the Boilermakers on the board. Freshman Kasey Wilhoit extended Purdue's momentum with her 31st RBI of the season to score Behan.

The Boilermakers continued to pressure the Wildcats, loading the bases again in the top of the fifth and sixth frames, but were unable to capitalize, going 0-15 with runners in scoring position.

Overall, the Boilermakers tallied five hits to Northwestern's seven, with Baker guiding Purdue with two hits on the day.

Despite the struggles at the plate, Damon was a bright spot in the circle as she limited the Wildcats to only one hit through four innings, while striking out a game-high four batters.

The final game of the series is slated for 5 p.m. ET Sunday at Sharon J. Drysdale Field and will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network.

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