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Get to know ASU softball's Super Regional opponent, No. 9 Northwestern

Anthony Totri Avatar
May 26, 2022

The No. 8 ASU softball team is back in action this coming weekend against No. 9 Northwestern. The Sun Devils and Wildcats will play a three-game series for a chance to advance to the Women’s College World Series. 

So just how good is ASU’s opponent this weekend? The answer: very good. 

The Wildcats boast a 43-10 record on the year. Not to mention, Northwestern mercy-ruled McNeese in back-to-back games in the Evanston Regional. 

They outscored their opponents in the regional 36-7. It’s evident in the scoring, but Northwestern is an offensively dominant team. They’ve got a heavy-hitting duo that opponents in the Evanston Regional simply couldn’t keep up with. 

Senior Skyler Shellmyer and graduate student Rachel Lewis are Northwestern’s deadly combination. Shellmyer accumulated 55 runs and 66 runs this season. She may not send it over the fence often, but she’s the truest definition of a consistent player.

Lewis, on the other hand, is capable of taking over a game. She had 64 runs, 56 hits and a team-leading 21 home runs in 2022. 

It’s the routine offense that led to Northwestern’s 14-game win streak in the middle of the year. This is a group that took down No. 5 UCLA at the start of the season. Aside from a top-tier offense, the downfall of this Wildcats team is that they only boast one real pitching threat. 

Senior pitcher Danielle Williams is a true Ace for Northwestern. She’s stringed together 11 games with 10 more strikeouts. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she’s had games this season where she struck out 16 and 17 hitters. 

Williams’ ERA on the season sits at 1.64. 

The Sun Devils will surely see Williams at her best at least once during the Super Regional. With that being said, Northwestern is certainly a beatable team. ASU softball can beat the Wildcats the way all great offenses can be beaten — with better defense. 

Earlier in the month, Northwestern got shut out in back-to-back games by Minnesota. The Wildcats lost both of those contests by a score of 8-0. Minnesota mercy-ruled Northwestern through five innings in each game. 

ASU softball has a couple of pitchers capable of retiring hitters on a frequent basis. Odds are Sun Devil nation will see freshman pitcher Mac Morgan on the mound. If Morgan is able to start strong, Northwestern isn’t a team that handles lights-out pitching well. 

The Wildcats got the job done against the opponents in their respective regional. Nevertheless, the regional win is in the past, and their coaching staff is well aware of that fact. 

Northwestern coach Kate Drohan, who’s coached the Wildcats in more than 650 games throughout her tenure, is familiar with big stages. Drohan said to the media in Evanston that the Wildcats should move on relatively quickly from their regional win. 

“You celebrate this for an hour, you enjoy it at dinner and before you go to bed you’re on to the next,” Drohan said after the Evanston Regional victory. “I think our team really understands that and their maturity will shine, in terms of staying really steady through this and getting ready for our next opportunity.”

First pitch between ASU and Northwestern is slated for 5 p.m. MST on May 27. 

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