March 7, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. -From snow to sunshine, the Northern Illinois University Softball team travel to San Luis Obispo, Calif. to compete in the Mustang Classic on March 8-10.
The Huskies (6-7) open the Mustang Classic against Nevada Friday with the first pitch set for 11 a.m. and take on host Cal-Poly Mustangs at 6:30 p.m. Northern Illinois continues to play Saturday at 11 a.m. against Rutgers and Sacramento State that evening at 9 p.m. NIU closes the tournament with a rematch against Cal-Poly. All times listed are Central Time.
This weekend's tournament is the beginning of a 14-game West Coast road trip for the Huskies. Following its visit to San Luis Obispo, NIU will travel down the coast to the Los Angeles area for a doubleheader at Cal State Northridge Mar. 12 and for games against North Dakota State and Loyola Marymount Mar. 13. Northern Illinois concludes its trip at the Highlander Classic hosted by UC Riverside, Mar. 15-17.
"Matt [Jacobs], with our strength and conditioning program, has gotten the team ready for this stretch of games," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe of the team's conditioning program. "They have their legs under them. We know this is a big bulk of our schedule and we want to stay above .500 the rest of the season. We understand how important this trip is."
Sutcliffe feels this trip, with the amount of games NIU is playing, will accelerate the team's development.
"It's been hard for us [to improve] because we haven't been able to get on the field to practice," Sutcliffe said. "We're not using that as an excuse or a reason for us not to compete with everyone we're playing."
The Huskies return to the diamond after a 1-2 showing at the Coach B Classic hosted by Southern Illinois University. Second baseman Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) led the way for the Huskie offense.
Miller went 4-for-9 from the plate, batting .444, well above her season average of .231 and tallied two home runs, five RBIs and two runs scored. She led the Huskie offense in NIU's 3-2 victory over Butler, batting .667 while slugging 1.667 going 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored. In NIU's setback to Southern Illinois, Miller went 1-for-3 including her team-leading second home run of the season and drove in two runs.
Fans can follow all the action live at Mustang Classic Central.