April 2, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team travels to Bloomington to face in-state rival Illinois State in a midweek contest Wednesday afternoon.
The two teams met earlier this year at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas in the season opener for both squads, with NIU (11-18, 1-1) taking the contest 3-1.
"We've set a goal to be the best team in Illinois," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "We take these games pretty seriously from a recruiting and competition standpoint. It's tough because we played Illinois State the first weekend out and we're completely different teams now. It will be interesting to see how we match up against them at this point in the year."
Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and Bryanna Phelan led the charge for the Huskies each going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) was outstanding from the circle in her debut, allowing one run on eight hits and striking out three.
Northern Illinois comes into Wednesday's came look to continue the offensive momentum from its weekend series with Western Michigan. NIU scored 18 runs, 12 in the conference opener. Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) led the offensive charge for the Huskies in the two-game series batting .600, well above her season average of .227. She drove in a career-high four runs in NIU's 12-5 victory over the Broncos.
Illinois State (14-14, 1-2) comes into Wednesday's game losers of three of its last four games, including a series loss to Southern Illinois over the weekend. The Redbirds own a 64-40-1 record in the all-time series history.
First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Central Time. Fans can follow all the action live, via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.