April 12, 2013
CMU 7-NIU 6
CMU 7-NIU 3
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team dropped a tough doubleheader to Central Michigan at Mary M. Bell Field Friday afternoon.
Northern Illinois (11-25, 1-7) suffered a 7-6 defeat to the Chippewas (20-12, 6-2) in the first game before dropping a 7-3 contest in Game Two.
"Both games were tough losses," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "We came into today needing to pick up win. We didn't. Tomorrow, we'll show how much fight we really have in us. Our offense is doing great. We're getting some huge hits out of people. We're doing everything right. We're just not coming out with a win."
Trailing 7-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh in Game One, the Huskies battled back scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh and brought the winning run to the plate. A leadoff double by Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and a single by Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) put runners at the corners with no outs for Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City).
Phelan delivered with an RBI single to left field to score Oswald. Phelan and Kopp moved to second and third on a wild pitch and Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) with two outs. Barnett singled to drive in Phelan and Kopp to make the score, 7-4.
Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) doubled down the left field line to score Miller and Ally Hecht (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison), who came in to pinch run for Barnett. Pinch hitter Murielle Vansach (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) came to the plate representing the winning run, but struck looking to end the game.
"This team knows that we're going to fight to the end," Sutcliffe said of the Huskies. "We've come back in a lot of seventh inning, so we know we can do it. No lead is too much as long as we have an out to be played. This team believes it can win. We were just one hit short in the first game."
Nine of the 10 runs scored in the second game came via the long ball. With NIU down 1-0 after a first inning run by Central Michigan, Kopp began the home run derby with her team-leading fifth homer of the season over the left field fence to tie the game, 1-1.
Oswald gave NIU a 2-1 lead after belting her second home run of the season to left field. The Chippewas tied the game in the sixth on a solo home run by Katelyn Rentschler to right center field. Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) blasted a leadoff home run in the bottom of the inning to give NIU a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
However, Central Michigan rallied with a five-run seventh. The Chippewas hit three home runs, two two-run homers and a solo shot to pull out the win.
The Huskies return to the field Saturday when NIU plays host to Eastern Michigan Saturday at Mary M. Bell Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.