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Cougars split with Northwestern in softball

Despite early leads in both games, the Cougars settled for a split at Northwestern Friday, taking the first game 3-1, before an 18-1 loss in the second game.

Mariah Essig pitched a gem and got timely hitting from her offense in the first game, as Morris broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth on their way to the 3-1 win. Essig allowed just a sole first-inning run, before putting zeros on the board for the final six innings, scattering just four hits to move to 3-5 on the year.

She tabbed two perfect innings and allowed just one hit over the final three, issuing just three walks while striking out four.

It was a different story in the second, as the Cougars took a 1-0 lead after the top of the first for the second straight game, but couldn't hold off Northwestern. The Eagles got to Morris starter Kelli Hamilton for 10 runs, all earned, and knocked her out after just 2.1 innings.

The Eagles added nine runs in the third and six more in the fourth, working through Cougar relievers Essig and Kelsey Draper. Hamilton took the loss, falling to 2-6 on the year.

The Cougars got five hits in their game-one win, including two from Molly Olson who finished with three on the day. Olson also knocked in the Cougars' first run in the first inning, and came home for the eventual winning run in the fourth.

Jordan Iverson had a hit and a run scored in the first game, but was held hitless in the second, ending her three-game hitting streak

The win in the first game gave the Cougars a season-long three-game winning streak, and with the split remain in a clump of teams currently battling for positioning in the conference tournament.