April 4, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team continues its five-game road trip when it travels to Muncie, Ind. to face Ball State Friday afternoon.
Following its doubleheader with Ball State, NIU (11-19, 1-1) will travel to Oxford, Ohio for a weekend set with Miami University Saturday and Sunday. First pitch for Friday's doubleheader with the Cardinals (19-11, 4-0) is scheduled for 12 p.m., while Saturday's series opener with Miami is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday's series finale will start at 12 p.m. All times listed are Central.
This weekend will be a homecoming of sorts for a pair of Huskies. First baseman Jennifer Barnett will be playing less than an hour away from her hometown of Indianapolis, while NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe returns to Miami (9-19, 3-1) where she spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach.
"It's a completely different coaching staff, so it's not like they're going to have the same philosophies or same strategies within their play," Sutcliffe said of facing Miami. "It is a little bit different. It's comfortable that I know the capabilities of some of the players, but in the same sense kids can change throughout the year."
Northern Illinois owns a 36-22 record against Ball State in the all-time series. The two teams split last year's meeting with NIU winning the first game 12-5 before falling 11-10 in extra innings in Game Two. The Huskies lead the all-time series with Miami, 25-17, however, the RedHawks swept last year's season series at Mary M. Bell Field.
The Huskies head into this weekend's action looking to rebound from a 7-3 loss to Illinois State Wednesday. Sophomore Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) led the way for the Huskies at the plate and in the circle. Sturm drove in all three Huskie runs going 2-for-4 with a run scored and pitched four innings of relief allowing two runs on five hits while striking out four.
Sturm leads the Huskie pitching staff with a 7-7 record and a 2.88 ERA and is batting a team-high .385 going 10-of-26 at the plate with a home run and five RBIs. Nicole Gremillion
(Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) is right behind her with a .337 batting average and leads the team in hits (32), runs (24) and doubles (7).