March 8, 2014
SDSU 8-NIU 7 Box Score
WICHITA, Kan. - The Northern Illinois University softball team suffered a 8-7 setback to San Diego State in its opening game of the Shocker Softball Classic at Wilkins Stadium Saturday.
NIU (6-6) built a 7-2 lead through the first four innings, but was unable to hold onto the lead as the Aztecs (15-7) rallied with six runs in the sixth to take an 8-7 advantage.
The Huskies opened the scoring with an RBI single by Emily Naegele (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) in the first inning. Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) extended the NIU lead to 4-0 when she belted a three-run two-out home run.
San Diego State cut the lead in half with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. NIU responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) doubled to center to drive in the first run of the inning and later scored on a Naegele single down the left field line. Kayti Grable's (Santee, Calif./Santana) RBI single to center closed out the scoring for the Huskies in the inning.
"Our offense got going early and often, which was nice to see," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "We picked up where we left off last weekend. They brought their No. 1 pitcher in to shut us down in the sixth. She did a good job of mixing things up. Anytime you can put up seven runs through the first four innings, you're doing a good job."
Unfortunately for the Huskies, the Aztecs mounted an incredible comeback, scoring six runs on six hits. All those runs were scored with two outs.
Angela Roberts (Flossmoor, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) came in to pitch for starter Rebecca Rupard (Normal, Ill./Normal West) with one out and one on in the top of the sixth. She retired the first batter she faced, but allowed four runs on four hits before being lifted for Skylar Weinstein (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain).
Weinstein didn't fare much better, giving up a two-run single and the lead before recording the final out of the inning.
"It was literally ground ball through the infield after ground ball through the infield," Sutcliffe said of the San Diego State sixth. "We couldn't catch a break. It wasn't like Angela [Roberts] was getting crushed by any means. The balls were going through every hole on the infield or there was a bloop hit that dropped in."
NIU returns to the diamond tomorrow to wrap up play in the Shocker Softball Classic with a doubleheader. The Huskies take on North Dakota at 12:30 p.m. before facing host Wichita State at 5:30 p.m. All times are Central.