May 6, 2006
DeKALB, IL -- A marathon is usually a running event, but Northern Illinois University's softball team held their own marathon on Saturday evening at Mary M. Bell Field. The Huskies endured a 12-inning battle with Bowling Green State University but fell short, 6-3 when Falcon catcher, Abby Habicht blasted a grand slam.
Bowling Green (34-21, 15-6 MAC) started the game off quickly, scoring two unearned runs in the first inning. NIU (22-25, 10-11 MAC) was stuck behind the 2-0 lead until the bottom of the sixth when the Huskies bats came alive. Third baseman Michelle Nendza (Palos Park, IL/Lemont Mt. Assisi) drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second base by centerfielder Kelly Park (North Aurora, IL/West Aurora). Catcher Elyse Jamrozy (Brookfield, IL/Riverside-Brookfield) then reached on an error to load the bases for the Huskies. First baseman Ellen Stoddard (Rolling Meadows, IL/Palatine Fremd) then singled up the middle to score Nendza. Designated player Randi Kreiter (Deerfield, IL/Deerfield) then reached on a Falcon error, allowing pinched runner Jenna Mitchell (Matteson, IL/Rich South) to tie the score at two.
After three extra innings of play and with the game still tied at two, Mid-Am rules require the international tiebreaker to be used beginning in the twelfth inning. So, with Hayley Wiemer beginning on second base, BG's Allison Vallas then reached on a bunt single as Wiemer advanced to third base. Vallas scurried to second base on a passed ball just before Ashley Zirkle drew a walk to load the bases. With one swing of the bat by catcher Hibicht, the Falcons had a 6-2 lead that the Huskies just couldn't overtake in their last at bat.
In the bottom of the twelfth, NIU managed a single run as Jenna Roberts
(Verona, WI/Verona) was placed on second to start the inning. McPherson then put down a bunt single, pushing Roberts to third. Nendza then grounded out to shortstop to score Roberts. With the next Huskies out, the game ended in a 6-3 tally.
Taryn Hagemann (Rochelle, IL/Rochelle) and Lindsey LaChiana (Oak Lawn, IL/Richards) split the pitching duties for the Huskies, each throwing six innings. LaChiana (12-7) was credited with the loss while giving up four runs on six hits.
"Despite the outcome, it was a pretty good game," said head coach Donna Martin. "We battled hard and definitely had our opportunities. I don't think the home run beat us as much as our inability to advance runners. We left 12 on base today and it sure seemed like a majority of them were left at second or third. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that a little bit better tomorrow and come out on top."
The Huskies return to action against Bowling Green on Sunday (May 7) at Mary M. Bell Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. and NIU will honor four of its seniors in pre-game festivities.