April 2, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. - Brittany Gardner tossed a complete-game three-hitter and struck out eight and Lauren Moore hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to propel Loyola University Chicago (12-11) to a 1-0 victory over host Northwestern (16-14) this afternoon at Drysdale Field. Loyola has won three of its last five meetings with Northwestern and third-year Rambler coach Missy Beseres picked up her eighth win against a BCS conference foe in her tenure.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team," Beseres said. "Brittany was sensational today and looked like the pitcher that was all-region last season. She changed speeds well and kept Northwestern off balance all day and Mo (Lauren Moore) came up with a huge hit when we needed one."
The game was a classic pitcher's duel between Gardner and Amy Letourneau, who was named Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Player of the Week earlier this week.
Neither team managed a hit until the third inning and Loyola was unable to deliver a timely hit in the third when it tried to mount a two-out rally. Jessica Balzano coaxed a walk from Letourneau, and after a single by Moore, Lauren Zaworski was hit by a pitch to lead the bases, but Letourneau struck our Tarran Shaffer to end the threat.
Andrea DiPrima's two-out double in the fifth gave the Wildcats a runner in scoring position for the first time on the day, but Gardner, who had already set down the first two hitters in the inning on strikes, fanned Brianna LeBeau to squelch the NU rally.
Moore provided Gardner with all of the support she would need when she opened the sixth inning with a solo home run to left center, her seventh of the season, to put Loyola on top 1-0.
Olivia Duehr reached on a one out single and promptly stole second base as Northwestern put the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth, but Gardner again slammed the door on the Wildcat rally by striking out Kristin Scharkey and getting pinch hitter Meghan Lamberth to ground out to first to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the seventh.
Gardner did not walk a batter and struck out eight en route to her fourth career win over a Big Ten Conference foe.
After playing its first 23 games away from home, Loyola will finally play its 2013 home opener Thursday (April 4) when it hosts IPFW in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.