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April 16, 2013

Offense stifled in losses to North Central

The South Siders just couldn’t gather enough momentum to defeat nearly invincible North Central.

On Saturday, the Maroons (12–8) dropped both games of their doubleheader to No. 23 North Central (25–1) in Naperville, IL. Coming into the game, the Cardinals were known to be a tough opponent and proved it twice over.

Chicago kept it close in the first game, but was just edged out with a final score of 3–2, while North Central dominated the second game, winning 4–1.

Although they were disappointing losses, the Maroons will learn from them and use them as motivation.

“This doubleheader definitely will push us to work harder and continue to strive for success,” first-year infielder Kathleen Kohm said. “There were several good takeaways and things we can learn from that will help us in the important coming weeks.”

Game one started on a promising note as the Maroons’ fourth-year right fielder Jacqueline Ryan scored on a North Central error in the top of the first. The Cardinals tied it up with an RBI single in the fourth, and the Maroons countered with an RBI single of their own from first-year Jordan Poole, grabbing a 2–1 lead.

North Central countered in the sixth with back-to-back doubles, tying the contest 2–2. After Chicago put up a goose egg in the last inning, the Cardinals loaded the bases, and in unlikely fashion, they drew a walk to walk-off with the win, 3–2.

In game two, North Central picked up right where it left off. The Cardinals came out strong in the first two innings with an RBI double and RBI single, and along with a Maroons’ passed ball, they took a three-run lead.

Chicago fought back with an RBI single in the top of the third by first-year catcher Kristin Lopez, but that was the end of the offense. North Central went up 4–1 with another RBI single in the fifth and held the lead from there.

The South Siders know what they want to work on for the remainder of the season.

“We just need to keep pushing through the entire game and work together as a group,” Kohm said. “We had some good hits, but they just wouldn’t fall into gaps. They will start to fall very soon, so Illinois Wesleyan should be nervous.”

On Tuesday, the Maroons will face the Illinois Wesleyan Titans (20–7), who are going to be a solid opponent. In the Titans’ doubleheader against North Central, they managed to split their results, winning their second game against the Cardinals 9–3—handing North Central its only loss of the season. This game should prove to be challenging for the South Siders, but they are happy to play the underdog.

“We are very excited to face Illinois Wesleyan,” Kohm said. “The pressure is all on them because we are going to play at a high level of intensity and are ready to come back with a fire after these past two games.”

Illinois Wesleyan plays the revved-up Maroons today at 3:30 p.m. on Stagg Field.

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