Von Holst's career day spurs offensive explosion as Huskie Softball spilts double dip with Loyola

GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES
March 23, 2004

Box Score
R
H
E
Loyola-Chicago
7
5
0
Northern Illinois
1
5
2

WP: LaChiana (6-6)
LP: Dearborn (3-6)
HR: Keilah Williams (LUC / solo / 2nd inning), Becky Marx (LUC / grand slam / 3rd inning)

Box Score
R
H
E
Loyola-Chicago
0
4
0
Northern Illinois
5
8
2

WP: Krahula (3-5)
LP: Pangere (3-6)
HR: Lauren von Holst (NIU / solo / 4th inning)

RECORDS TO DATE: Northern Illinois now 8-17 overall / Loyola now 10-13 overall
NEXT HUSKIE ACTION: Saturday / Mar. 27 / NIU vs. Eastern Michigan University (DH) / DeKalb, IL / 1:00 p.m. (CST)
Sunday / Mar. 28 / NIU vs. Eastern Michigan University / DeKalb, IL / 1:00 p.m. (CST)

VON HOLST'S CAREER DAY SPURS OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION AS HUSKIE SOFTBALL SPLITS DOUBLE DIP WITH LOYOLA
DeKALB, IL---It took the Northern Illinois University softball team a little bit of time to get used to their "new" surroundings back home at Mary M. Bell Field Tuesday (Mar. 23). 23 games and five straight weekends on the road can do that to you, but the Huskies settled in just enough to salvage a doubleheader split with Loyola University-Chicago.

With their 5-0 win in the nightcap, the Huskies snap a six-game losing streak and move to 8-17 overall on the season. Loyola drops to 10-13 for the year after taking the first game of the day 7-1.

"It's just nice to sleep in our own beds," NIU head coach Donna Martin said. "There isn't that much of an advantage to being at home yet, because the first groundballs we've taken on this field all year were the ones we took in warm-ups before the game today. I think as we settle in there will be a more distinct homefield advantage later on in the year."

Being back in DeKalb didn't seem to cure NIU's recent offensive woes in game one. Rambler starter Lindsey LaChiana allowed just five hits and struck out seven Huskies to move to 6-6 on the season. LUC catcher Becky Marx, on the other hand decided to relive a little bit of her past, launching her second grand slam against NIU in as many years to stake LUC to an early 5-0 lead.

"When things aren't going well for your team, this kind of stuff seems to kind of pile up on you," Martin lamented. "We made our own mess in that situation by walking a batter and committing an error. If we would have taken care of business at the beginning of the inning (Marx) would have never come to the plate."

The Huskie offense never quite got on track until it was already trailing 7-0 heading into the seventh inning. In a sign of things to come, however, NIU avoided the shutout by scoring a run on three hits---one more than they had the previous six innings combined. Lauren von Holst (Mokena / Lincoln-Way East) drove in the lone Northern Illinois run of the game with a two-out single.

That lone tally was not enough, however, as Kathy Dearborn (Geneseo / Darnall) got saddled with the loss after giving up more than two earned runs for the first time in her last eight appearances, falling to 3-6 on the season. The junior was tagged for five earned runs on five hits in six-and-two-thirds innings of action. Von Holst had a career day at the plate, collecting her first collegiate hit with a single in the bottom of the fifth as part of a 2-for-3 first game. Things would get even better for the true freshman in round two.

Already leading 2-0 after back-to-back RBI doubles by Shelby Bernard (Cedar Falls, IA) and Lacey Gones (Sycamore) in the first inning, Von Holst collected her first career extra-base hit with a double to the gap in left-center and scored on a Kelly Park (North Aurora / West Aurora) double one batter later. The freshman wasn't done there, launching her first home run deep over the fence in left centerfield to make the score 4-0 in the fourth.

"The most difficult thing to do in this game is hit," Martin explained. "When that's your only job as the designated hitter, there's a lot of pressure in that. Lauren's been making some good contact the last couple of weeks, and she is slowly becoming more and more confident in her approach and her at-bats."

NIU tacked on another insurance run with yet another Bernard double in the fifth to post the final five-run margin. All in all, seven of the eight Northern Illinois hits in game two went for extra bases including six doubles and the Von Holst home run. Bernard was 2-for-2 with a run scored and pair of RBI. Kelly Drozd (Lockport) and Von Holst each posted 2-for-3 efforts with two runs scored apiece.

Amy Krahula (Woodridge / Downers Grove South) gave the Huskies a much needed boost in the circle, throwing her second shutout of the season. The senior allowed just four hits while striking out six and walking two in improving her record to 3-5 for the year.

Northern Illinois stays at home and opens Mid-American Conference play this weekend by welcoming Eastern Michigan University to town. The two squads will meet at Mary M. Bell Field for a 1:00 p.m. (CST) doubleheader Saturday (Mar. 27) before closing out the three-game set with a single contest Sunday (Mar. 28) at 1:00 p.m.

-30- --Copy by Brian Kedzior