NIU Softball Team Takes Two from Western Illinois
March 23, 2010
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team opened its home schedule in impressive fashion by sweeping a doubleheader from in-state rival Western Illinois, shutting out the Fighting Leathernecks in both games at Mary M. Bell Field Tuesday.
"We played great today," NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said. "It's a great start. It was a beautiful day, a lot of fans and we played wonderfully and played the way we're capable of playing.
"Western is a good team. They take their hacks and put good swings on the ball. They're very well coached. We just came out and executed they way we're capable of."
A four-run second inning and a solid outing from pitcher Whitney Owens (Pendleton, Ind./Pendleton Heights) proved to be the difference in NIU's 4-0 victory in Game One. With the Huskies (8-15) leading 1-0 on an RBI single by Krista Matsui (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), Dani Parrish (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and delivered the big blow of the game tripling to center field to clear the bases and give NIU a 4-0 lead.
"We talked a lot with the girls about being able to put in the big blow when you have the opportunity and Dani did that today," Chouinard said. "We could have let it linger at 1-0, but she got a good pitch and she crushed it."
Owens turned in her best performance of the season, blanking the Leathernecks (14-6), scattering six hits in seven innings, striking out seven. She pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the fifth by striking out Erin Schlotfedlt to end the threat.
Strong pitching, solid defense and timely hitting proved to be the keys to victory in the second game. Sophomore Morgan Bittner (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) equaled Owens' effort in Game Two, going seven strong innings, allowing three hits and no walks.
"Morgan and Whitney both pitched great," she said. "They're growing and progressing. They're young, but today definitely showed what they're capable of doing.
NIU scored its first run in the bottom of the third on a two-out single to center field by Zoe Sinner (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) to drive in Kate Welsh (Wilmington, Ill./Bishop McNamara) from second. The Huskies added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out double to left from Adriana Sanchez (San Fernando, Calif./Alemany).
Northern Illinois University completes its three-game homestand Thursday when the Huskies welcome Northwestern to Mary M. Bell Field for a single game with the Wildcats. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
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