April 4, 2009
Photo Gallery | Highlights
| Game One | Game Two
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois softball team used a three-run 7th inning to win game one, 7-6 and five-run second inning to win game two, 9-6, as the Huskies' swept Bowling Green Saturday at Mary M. Bell Field in DeKalb.
After scoring just five runs in two losses to Toledo Friday, the Huskies (11-20, 6-2 MAC) pushed across 16 runs on 21 hits, including three doubles and two triples.
"The bats were much better today," said NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard. "We got some big hits in key situations with runners in scoring position. If we can continue to do that, we will be in good shape."
"We've got UIC on Tuesday and DePaul on Thursday to get ready for next weekend (at home against Western Michigan)," said Chouinard. "Obviously it would be great to win those games but its really about getting better. Our pitchers need to take a lot of time to work on their pitches, things like spinning the ball and hitting their spots. If we can see a steady progression from them on the mound, it's going to mean great things for us next weekend."
Trailing 6-2 in game one, the Huskies stormed back with five runs in the final two frames, highlighted by a game-winning bunt on a perfectly executed squeeze play from Emily Gooding (Lismore, Australia/Lake Land C.C.) to score Kayla Kramer (West Chicago, Ill./West Chicago/Kankakee C.C.) with one out in the bottom of the 7th.
NIU's comeback started when Zoe Sinner (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South/Lake Land C.C.) doubled home Gooding and Ashley Cann (Glenwood, Ill./Marian Catholic) with two outs in the 6th to cut the Falcons lead to 6-4.
After Bittner held Bowling Green (7-18, 2-4 MAC) scoreless in the top of the 7th, Bailey Ouellette (Beaverton, Ore./Beaverton) reached on an error to lead off the bottom half. Andrea Colosimo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) followed with a single through the left side and after Allie Parker (Evergreen Park, Ill./Marist) popped out, Kramer delivered a clutch, two-run triple over the right fielder's head to tie the game at 6. Gooding then laid down the perfect sacrifice bunt and Kramer raced home, completing the comeback.
The Huskies then jumped out to an early 9-1 lead in game two, only to see their eight-run cushion shrink to three. But freshman Morgan Bittner (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly), the game one starter, came on to record the final four outs and collect her first save of the season.
It was all NIU in the first three innings, as the Huskies received two bases-loaded walks, a wild pitch and a two-out, two-RBI triple by Gooding to push across five runs in the second inning after a three-run first. NIU would add another run in the 3rd as Dani Parrish (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) scored on Jenna Roberts' (Verona, Wis./West) sacrifice fly to the first baseman in foul territory.
Bowling Green would claw their way back into the game though, cutting the lead to 9-6. Bittner relieved Colosimo with two outs in the 6th and got a one-pitch out to end the inning. She then struck out the side in the 7th, including the final out with the tying run at the plate.
Gooding led NIU at the plate, going 5-for-7 with four RBI's on the day. Colosimo collected three hits and drove in four runs to raise her team-leading RBI total to 17.
Bittner (6-9) was the winner in game one after allowing six runs on 10 hits and recording a season-high 12 strikeouts in a complete game effort.
Joreigh Landers (Vernonia, Ore./Vernonia) (5-7) started game two and got the win after allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out five over four innings of work.
NIU returns to action Tuesday, April 7, when the Huskies travel to Illinois-Chicago for the first of two non-conference games in Chicago. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.