April 5, 2013
NIU 3-Ball State 5
NIU 2-Ball State 9
DEKALB, Ill. - Early deficits proved too much to overcome as the Northern Illinois University softball team dropped a doubleheader to Ball State at the BSU Softball Complex Friday afternoon.
Northern Illinois (11-21, 1-3) suffered a 5-3 loss in the first game and a 9-2 defeat in the series finale.
A three-run second proved to be too much to overcome in Game One. After falling behind, 1-0, after a two-out RBI single by Amanda Carpenter, Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) tied the game with a homer over the fence in right center. Ball State (21-11, 6-0) responded with a three spot in the bottom of the second inning. Jennifer Gilbert delivered the big blow with a two-run single to center.
An Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) single in the top of the third, pulled NIU to within two, 4-2. Trailing 5-2 in the top of the seventh inning, NIU mounted a rally with one out when Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) drove in Stephanie Wonders (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) who led off the inning with a double. However, Sheppard popped into a double play and comeback came to a halt.
"Emily Norton did a great job keeping hitters off balance in the first game and giving us a chance to pull one out," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "They have great hitter and we did a nice job making a pitch when we needed it. We just left too many runners in scoring position to pull it out."
Ball State opened a 4-0 advantage in Game Two with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second and two more in the third inning. NIU came back with two runs in the top of the fourth on a two-run homer by Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) over the right centerfield wall to pull the Huskies within two, 4-2.
That would be as close as the Huskies would get. A five-run Cardinal sixth put the game out of reach for NIU.
The Huskies return to the diamond Saturday when NIU travels to Oxford, Ohio to face Miami. First pitch is set for at 1 p.m.