Eastern finally broke through in the fifth inning after a leadoff double by pitcher Abby Oyler. Her courtesy runner, Emily Harvath, scored two batters later on a fielder’s choice by Quinlyn Hochstedler where all runners were safe. Quinlyn Hochstedler scored later on a wild pitch.
Northwestern answered the next half inning. Bailey Thatcher hit a one-out double to start things. Kelsey Richards followed with a single and Metz reached on an error to load the bases. After a fielder’s choice out at home, Kaitlyn Kennedy delivered a two-out, two-run single to knot the game.
Those runs shook up a duel between Eastern’s Abby Oyler and NW’s Metz. Metz gave up eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts while dealing with runners on base every inning.
“We had a couple shots there where we should have had an out and we didn’t,” Dyer said. “Crystal did a heck of a job battling out of some of that.”
The Eastern ace allowed six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.
“I thought Abby pitched real well for being under pressure the whole game,” Haines said.
Dyer praised Kennedy, the catcher, for a good night at bat. He wants more of the Purple Tigers taking cuts and fewer watching pitches fly by.
“I thought we hit the ball when we swing the dang bat, but we watched too many pitches,” he said. “Especially with Abby, she gets one on you and you’re already behind the gun. She just kept hammering and once she gets ahead, can’t let good pitches go down the tube and not move our bat.”
Rounding out NW’s offense, Kindra Gingerich tripled, and Richards doubled to go with her single.
On Eastern’s side, Brooke Stout doubled and singled, Abby Oyler had two singles in addition to her double, and Quinlyn Hochstedler singled twice.