March 3, 2013
NIU 3-Butler 2 Box Score
SLU 3-NIU 2 Box Score
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team split its first two games of the Coach B Classic hosted by Southern Illinois Sunday Afternoon.
The Huskies (6-6) knocked off Butler, 3-2, in their first game, but dropped the nightcap, 3-2, to St. Louis in eight innings.
Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) led the way for the NIU offense in the first game. The junior second baseman went 2-for-3, including her first home run of the season, with three RBIs and a run scored.
Miller put the Huskies on the board early with an RBI single in the first to drive in Allyson Hecht (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) from second. After Butler tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third, Miller belted a two-run homer to put NIU up 3-1.
"Shelby Miller definitely came up clutch," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "She got in hit to right field to score the first run and she came in with a runner on and hit the ball over the fence. She single-handedly carried us offensively, which was nice to see because she was in a hitting slump last weekend."
Butler responded with a run in the bottom of the frame, but pitcher Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and the Huskie defense kept the Bulldogs off the board the rest of the way to seal the victory.
Norton improved to 2-3 on the season, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits, three base on balls while striking out five.
Northern Illinois' game with St. Louis was a pitcher's duel through seven innings. After the Billikins took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, NIU responded with a run in the sixth, a sacrifice fly by Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) to score Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins).
Neither team was able to plate a run in the seventh and the game was sent into extra innings. With a runner placed on second to start the eight, St. Louis scored a run on a sacrifice fly and one on a sacrifice bunt. NIU answered with a RBI double by Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City), but that would be all the Huskies could get.
The Huskies conclude play in the Coach B Classic tomorrow morning when Northern Illinois takes on host Southern Illinois. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. CT. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.