Eileen Canney hurled a one-hit shutout as Northwestern advanced one win shy of a berth in the championship series with a 2-0 win over Tennessee Friday evening at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Canney (25-7) struck out 10 and retired the last six hitters she faced as Northwestern held the Lady Vols under four hits for the first time this season in front of a crowd of 5,887.
Ã¢€Å“It was a great game and a battle between two excellent pitchers,Ã¢€Â Northwestern head coach Kate Drohan said. Ã¢€Å“Timely hitting was the key for us tonight, and Canney getting out of the sixth was huge for us.Ã¢€Â
Ã¢€Å“Our pitching coach (Tori Nyberg) called a great game, and we had a game plan to go out and work around the plate,Ã¢€Â Canney said. Ã¢€Å“I knew the defense would work behind me and get the job done, and they did.Ã¢€Â
Northwestern broke open the scoreless game in the top of the sixth off Tennessee hurler Monica Abbott. Abbott gave up both runs on five hits with 15 strikeouts as she fell to 42-9 on the year.
The WildcatsÃ¢€™ opening run came as Katie Logan led off with a single and advanced to second on Garland CooperÃ¢€™s one-out walk. Following a strikeout of Jamie Dotson, Kristen Amegin lined a single to center that brought Logan home from second and gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
NU added an insurance run in the visitorÃ¢€™s half of the seventh as Darcy Sengewald hit her third home run of the season a night after crossing home with the winning run Thursday night against Alabama.
Ã¢€Å“It was my third at-bat, and I felt that I didnÃ¢€™t have good at-bats my first two times,Ã¢€Â Sengewald said. Ã¢€Å“I was looking for something good to hit on the inside part of the plate, and it was there.Ã¢€Â
A night removed from a three-run sixth against UCLA, the Lady Vols once again threatened in the bottom of the frame. Jennifer Griffin led off with a walk, and Kenora Posey advanced her to second as she was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced to second and third, respectively, on Sarah FeketeÃ¢€™s ground out. Canney worked out of the threat with a strikeout of pinch hitter Natalie Brock and a line out to short by Lindsay Schutzler.
Ã¢€Å“I told the team that I was proud of them, but Northwestern wanted it more and played like they did,Ã¢€Â UT co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. Ã¢€Å“Monica pitched a great game, but we had a problem on offense. I knew after the win over UCLA weÃ¢€™d have to get the team up again, and we just ran into a buzzsaw.Ã¢€Â
Northwestern advanced to 49-13 on the year, while Tennessee dropped to 59-11 and will face the winner of Oregon State and Arizona State Saturday at 6 p.m.