NIU Softball Team Takes Second Game of Twinbill

GO HUSKIES Ashley Kopp went 1-for-3 with two RBI to help lead NIU to a 6-2 win over St. John's.
GO HUSKIES
Ashley Kopp went 1-for-3 with two RBI to help lead NIU to a 6-2 win over St. John's.
GO HUSKIES

Feb. 8, 2014

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Northern Illinois University softball team posted a 6-2 victory over St. John's after dropping a 6-4 decision to Ohio State in the second day at the FAU "Kickoff Classic" Saturday.

The Huskies (2-2) played a solid game offensive and defensive against the Red Storm. NIU pounded out seven hits, scored six runs on two three-run innings and didn't commit an error. The Huskie offense was also able to capitalize on three St. John's errors.

"We actually went into the second game with our main focus to try and have zero errors in that game," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "That was 100 percent what were concentrating on."

NIU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Junior pitcher Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) began the rally with a single to left field. Kaitlyn Barrett (Monticello, Ill./Monticello), who was pinch running for Sturm, advanced to second on a Jordyn Bowen (Libertyville, Ill./Grayslake) single up the middle and scored when Bryanna Phelan (Coal city, Ill./Coal City) reached on an error.

Bowen, who was able to advance to third on the play, scored the second run of the inning on a wild pitch and Phelan reached third. Phelan then scored when Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) grounded out to first base.

The Huskies' three-run fourth began the same way as the second, with a leadoff single by Sturm. A two-out RBI single by Gremillion scored Kali Kossakowski (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward). Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) delivered a two-RBI single through the left side to give NIU a 6-0 lead.

Sturm went 2-for-3 from the plate and picked up her second win of the season going six-and-a-third innings allowing two runs while scattering seven hits and striking out four. Allyson Hecht (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) came in to get the final two outs.

Gremillion went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Kopp was 1-for-3 with two RBIs to lead the way for the Huskie offense.

"We definitely were able to capitalize on their errors and get some runs early," Christina Sutcliffe said. "It was great to see the offense come around.

"Our offense, one through nine, is definitely capable of being able to put runs on the board, get runners on and allow people to move them over and manufacture runs. We didn't have the long ball in the second game. We're able to execute a squeeze and move some runners over when we needed to."

Trailing 3-0 after a three-run third inning by Ohio State, the Huskies rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the fourth and another in the top of the fifth to tie the game, 3-3, heading into the bottom of the fifth. However, the Buckeyes responded with two in the fifth and a run in the six to open a 6-3 advantage.

The Huskies mounted a rally in the top of the seventh as Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) delivered a two-out RBI single to pull NIU with two runs. However, that is all the runs NIU would get.

The Huskies conclude play at the FAU "Kickoff" Classic against Tulsa tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.

-NIU-