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The Northwestern Wildcats (45-11) have touched down in Oklahoma City, and media day was yesterday at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, the holy ground of postseason college softball. 

Super Regional Recap

While the Evanston Regional in the first round of the tournament was a relative breeze for head coach Kate Drohan and company, outscoring opponents Oakland and McNeese 36-7 overall on the weekend, Northwestern coined a proper nickname at the Super Regional in Tempe, Arizona last weekend: the "Cardiac 'Cats." 

In the three-game set against the Arizona State Sun Devils, senior pitcher Danielle Williams–the unanimous Big Ten Pitcher of the Year award winner–threw 430 pitches to help the Wildcats move on to OKC. 430. You read that right. 

In the first game of the weekend, Northwestern was down three runs in the top of the sixth inning before fifth-year outfielder Rachel Lewis blasted a two-run home run to breathe life into a Wildcats offense that had been silenced by ASU freshman pitcher Mac Morgan for much of the contest. 

In the top of the seventh, sophomore third baseman Hannah Cady hit a solo shot to tie the game 3-3, marking what would be the turning point in quite a long night for both teams. The game continued late into the Arizona night, extending to 11 innings thanks to clutch defense from Williams and the rest of the Wildcats. Northwestern scored in the top of the 11th on an RBI groundout from junior outfielder Angela Zedak to score senior shortstop Maeve Nelson, which turned out to be the winning run as Northwestern took the first game 4-3. 

The Wildcats staged another comeback to force extra innings in Game Two after erasing another three-run deficit late in the game thanks to senior catcher Jordyn Rudd, Lewis and Nelson. But, the effort proved not to be enough as the Sun Devils scored three runs in the top of the eighth to pull away for a 7-4 victory, evening the series. 

The dramatics continued on Sunday as Williams stayed in the circle for the Wildcats, holding down the fort after letting up five runs early in the game. After a four-run fourth inning, Cady stepped up big time yet again the top of the fifth with another game-tying solo home run to tie the score at 5-5. 

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A quality 4-for-5, 3-RBI performance from Rudd led the Wildcats to an eventual 8-6 victory, marking the sixth trip to the Women's College World Series in Wildcats program history and the third under Kate Drohan and associate head coach Caryl Drohan. 

What's Next? 

Northwestern hasn't been to OKC since 2007, but they came close in 2019, getting as far as the Super Regionals. The team that knocked them out? The Oklahoma Sooners, who the Wildcats are set to play in their first matchup at the WCWS this weekend. 

Back in 2019, the Sooners ended the Wildcats hopes of returning to Oklahoma City by sweeping the Super Regional with 3-0 and 8-0 victories in Norman, Okla. Now, the Wildcats and the current defending champions Sooners will meet again on (somewhat) neutral ground. The Sooners (54-2) are the overall No. 1 team in the country and are, to say the least, a complete powerhouse led by NCAA home run queen Jocelyn Alo and dominant freshman pitcher Jordy Bahl. 

Game Information

Northwestern takes on the Oklahoma Sooners today at 1:30 pm CT. The winner heads to the winner's bracket of the double elimination tournament to face the winner of Texas-UCLA on Saturday. 

Stick with Wildcats Daily for more updates on the weekend! 

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