Northwestern Opens Season With Two Shutouts & Explosive Offense

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Northwestern opened its 2019 season with a bang on Friday, dropping Utah State, 12-0, after five innings by run-rule at the Titan Classic for their first shutout in a season opener since 2009.

WATCH | Northwestern vs Utah State

Sophomore Kenna Wilkey tossed a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and no walks in a sterling debut for her first win of the season.

Sophomore Rachel Lewis picked up where she left off in 2018 with a home run and a double in two at-bats for three RBI. Lewis went deep in her very first plate appearance of the game.

First year catcher Jordyn Rudd made quite the impression in her Wildcat debut, going 2 for 3 at the dish with three RBI on two doubles. The three other first-year starters, Nikki Cuchran, Maeve Nelson and Skyler Shellmyer picked up at least an RBI in their debut. 

Morgan Nelson, Cuchran, Rudd and Lewis all collected multi-hit days for head coach Kate Drohan's squad, which exploded for 11 hits. Morgan Nelson and Lewis each picked up a steal. 

Game 2

Danielle Williams turned in an impressive one-hit shutout in her collegiate debut, while first-year Jordyn Rudd hit two home runs and drove in five runs as Northwestern turned in another dominant performance with a 7-0 victory over Pacific in the second game of their doubleheader to kick off the 2019 season.

WATCH | Northwestern vs Pacific

Williams went 6.2 innings without allowing a hit before surrendering a double from Pacific, but remained in the game and struck out the final batter to preserve the second-consecutive shutout for the Wildcats. Williams finished with five strikeouts while walking just one batter.

The Wildcats have now opened the season with consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1985.

The 'Cats offense wasted no time getting started as first-year Nikki Cuchran drove in Rachel Lewis with a one-out single. On next at-bat, Rudd launched a three-run homer–the first of her career–to give the #B1GCats a 4-0 advantage after one inning.

The bats stayed hot to lead off the bottom of the second inning as senior Lily Novak hit a solo homer, her first of the season and second of her career, to extend the Wildcats' lead to 5-0.

Rudd did not slow down in her next at-bat as she drove in two more runs with her second homer of the game to put the 'Cats on top, 7-0. She is the first Wildcat to have a multi-homer game since Morgan Nelson did so against Ohio State on April 13, 2018.

Northwestern will be back in action at the Titan Classic tomorrow with two more games against Louisville at 2:30 p.m and Loyola Marymount at 5 p.m. Fans can watch on Flosoftball.com or follow along to @NUSBCats on Twitter for updates.

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