April 13, 2013
NIU 6-EMU 3
DEKALB, Ill. -A four-run sixth proved to the difference as the Northern Illinois University softball team rallied for a 6-3 victory over Eastern Michigan at Mary M. Bell Field Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Huskies (12-25, 2-7) scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to snap an eight-game losing streak.
"We're the best sixth and seventh inning team I've seen in a really long time," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "I wish we could get started better in the first and second inning to take a little pressure of ourselves, but we have fought all year and have showed we're going to fight all year."
With the bases loaded and two outs, Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) gave NIU a 4-3 lead driving in a pair with a single. Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) extended the Huskie advantage to three when she drove in two on a single.
Sophomore Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest), who came in to pitch for Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) in the top of the fifth, held the Eagles (10-24-1, 1-7) in the top of the seventh to give NIU the victory.
Norton allowed a hit, a walk and struck out a batter in two and two-thirds innings to pick up the win and improve to 5-15 on the season. Sturm went four-and-a-third innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on seven hits.
"Jess pitched better than the scoreboard showed," Sutcliffe said. "We had some defensive mishaps that got her in trouble. We're in a situation where we have two good pitchers and we needed to mix it up. I brought Emily in to change things up and it worked."
Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest), Oswald and Miller led the Huskie offense with each going 1-for-2 with two RBIs, while Oswald also scored two runs.
The Huskies return to action Sunday when NIU closes out its series with the Eagles Sunday. First pitch is set for at 1 p.m. and fans can follow all the action live, via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.