May 4, 2013
NIU 3-BGSU 0
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team continued its dominance in league play with a 3-0 shutout over Bowling Green at Mary M. Bell Field Saturday.
The win was the fifth straight Mid-American Conference victory for the Huskies (23-29, 13-8) and NIU has won 12 of its last 13 MAC contests.
Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) recorded her third complete game shutout, holding the Falcons (26-21, 9-12) to two hits and a walk while striking out five in seven innings of work. She improves to 12-15 on the season. She also helped her own cause at the plate, going 1-for-3 with an RBI.
"Emily really kept them off balance," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "I really didn't think, at any point, they were on her. She did a really good job pitching a two-hitter."
Following a three up and three down top of fourth in which Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) made some stellar defensive plays, NIU carried the momentum into the bottom of the inning.
"Ashley Kopp had a phenomenal game defensively," Sutcliffe said. "She made some huge plays defensively."
With runners on second and third with two outs, Norton hit a hard ball to the second baseman. The Falcon infielder, who momentarily bobbled the ball, allowing Norton to reach first, threw home but the throw was wild and Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) scored from third and Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) scored all the way from second on the error.
The Huskies added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) scored from third on an errant throw by the catcher trying to throw out Sturm attempting to steal.
Sturm led the way for the Huskies going 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Barnett and Miller each recorded a hit and run scored.
"Jess has been working really hard on her hitting the last couple months," she said. "She's really stepped up into a nice offensive role and is doing a nice job for us."
The Huskies return to action Sunday when NIU concludes its series with Bowling Green. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT and fans can follow all the action live at NIUHuskies.com through Gametracker or they can watch the games on Huskie All-Access.