NIU Softball Team Splits Doubleheader
Feb. 22, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Northern Illinois University softball team opened play in the FAU "Strike-Out Cancer" Tournament by splitting its doubleheader Friday.
The Huskies (4-3) knocked off North Florida, 4-2, in extra innings to open the tournament, before falling to Providence, 13-7, in Game Two.
Northern Illinois pounded out six hits and took advantage of four North Florida errors. The Huskies took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) reached on an error to lead off the inning. She promptly stole second and was advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Delani Vest (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) drove in Oswald from third when reached on an error by the Osprey's first baseman.
After North Florida tied the game with a run in the bottom of the inning, NIU responded in the top of the fourth with an RBI single from designated player Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) to retake the lead, 2-1. A bases loaded walk to Danica Mandarano tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth.
A scoreless seventh inning by both teams drove the game into extra innings. Patience at the plate and another Osprey error helped the Huskies plate a pair and take a two-run lead. Vest, who was placed on second to start the inning, scored on an RBI single by Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins).
Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) reached on a fielder's choice and Gremillion was safe at second on an error by the pitcher to keep the inning alive. Barnett walked to load the bases and Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) earned a free pass to force in the insurance run.
Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) improved to 2-1, allowing two runs, while scattering nine hits.
"Jessica threw another great game," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "Amanda [Sheppard] made some amazing defensive plays to really keep us in the game and we had some clutch hitting when it counted."
Northern Illinois wasn't as fortunate in the second game. Providence jumped out to a 7-0 lead with five runs in the top of the first and a pair in the third. The Huskies responded with a run in the third and a five-run fourth of their own to pull within a run, 7-6.
With NIU trailing, 8-7, heading into the top of the seventh, the Fryers sealed the game with five more runs to take a 13-7 lead.
The Huskies continue play in the FAU "Strike-Out Cancer" Tournament Saturday. NIU faces Towson at 8 a.m. and Connecticut at 12 p.m. All times Central. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
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