Northwestern vs Minnesota | Big Ten Softball - Game 1

Game 1: Northwestern vs Minnesota

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No. 14 Northwestern inched one step closer to a Big Ten Title with a 1-0 win on the road at No. 8 Minnesota on Friday night. 

The Wildcats maintained their perfect conference record at 21-0 with two games left to play. They retained their half-game lead over Michigan and have now won 20 straight games. Their overall record is 42-7. 

First year Danielle Williams was lights-out against a Minnesota lineup hitting .299 entering Friday's contest. She tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just one hit while striking out 13, tied for her second-highest total this year. The win improved Williams to 27-3 as she tossed her 12th shutout of the season.

In a defensive battle, the only two hits of the day for Northwestern came for Morgan Newport and Nikki Cuchran. Cuchran came up with the biggest hit of the day with a double in the top of the seventh inning that put runners on second with one out. 

Maeve Nelson scored on a wild pitch in the next at-bat, giving the Wildcats a crucial run. After Nelson scored, the game entered a 93 minute rain delay.

Williams came back out for the bottom of the seventh and closed the door on the 3-4-5 hitters of the Golden Gophers with two strikeouts to seal the deal in a clean frame. 

Northwestern can now clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a win tomorrow. For the Wildcats to take the title outright they must either win their last two games or benefit from a Michigan loss in either of their two games against Maryland.

First pitch for tomorrow's crucial matchup is set for 3 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.