March 26, 2014
NIU 13-NIU 2 Box Score
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team suffered a 13-2 setback to Northwestern at The Ballpark at Rosemont Wednesday.
"I talked to the team a little bit after the game about allowing their pitcher to get in our heads mentally and dictate what they were going to do in that at bat," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "I think that was the key to the game. They allowed someone else to control the batter's box rather than they continue to control it."
Northwestern (18-6) opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first. NIU (10-13) answered with an RBI single by Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) which scored Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) from second.
The Wildcats blew the game open in the top of the second when Paige Tonz hit a grand slam over the left centerfield fence to put Northwestern up 6-1. The Huskies got a run back in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Kali Kossakowski (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) to score Byanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City).
Northwestern put the game away in the top of the third when the Wildcats put up a five spot to take an 11-2 lead. NU added a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to cap the game's scoring.
Miller, the reigning MAC West Player of the Week, led the way for the Huskie offense going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Originally scheduled as the home opener at Mary M. Bell Field, the game was moved to The Ballpark at Rosemont due to the extended winter in the Midwest. An all turf field, The Ballpark at Rosemont is the home to the Chicago Bandits.
"I think this field plays amazingly different than a normal softball and unlike anything we've been on," Sutcliffe said. "They took advantage of it, and we didn't."
The Huskies return to action Friday, however, the schedule is still in flux while details are worked out. NIU's series at Bowling Green and Toledo have been moved to Mary M. Bell Field in DeKalb. Western Michigan, the Huskies' travel partner, will also be in DeKalb to play their games with the Falcons and Rockets.