Huskies Play Host to Western Michigan Easter Weekend
April 10, 2009
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team returns to Mid-American Conference play, when the Huskies welcome Broncos to Mary M. Bell Field for a weekend set Saturday and Sunday.
First pitch for the Huskies and Broncos is slated for 2 p.m. Fans can follow all the action live online via GameTracker and will be broadcast on Internet radio with Bill Baker on the call only through Huskie All-Access on www.niuhuskies.com.
The Huskies (11-23, 6-2) resume conference play looking for a little more consistency. NIU opened the MAC season with a 4-0, sweeping both Akron and Ohio, but went 2-2 last weekend, losing two to Toledo on Friday and sweeping Bowling Green Saturday.
"Conference play for us was good the first weekend, but inconsistent the second weekend," NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said. "I just want us to get back to some consistency on the mound and do the little things right offensively. We need to get our bunts down, hit the ball on the ground and hit early in the count with runners in scoring position."
Two players that have turned up their performance since the beginning of conference play have been Emily Gooding (Lismore, Australia/Lake Land C.C.) and Bailey Ouellette (Beaverton, Ore./Beaverton). Gooding is batting .500 in MAC play and .286 during the season, while Ouellette is hitting .409 against conference foes and .259 for the season. Ouellette has driven in a career-high 17 runs and is one home run away from tying her career-high of five.
Western Michigan (12-14, 6-2) comes to DeKalb winners of three of their last four having split their two games with Toledo last weekend. The Broncos have two talented pitchers in Meredith Whitney and Meghan Thomas. Whitney leads the staff with a 9-6 record and a 2.27 earned run average, while Thomas has a 3-5 record with a 2.71 ERA.
"Western's a good team," Chouinard said. "They're 6-2 in the league as well and have played the same teams we've played. It will be a good challenge for us."
Fans arriving early to Saturday's game will receive candy-filled eggs as they enter the game, and some lucky fans will receive autographed memorabilia from the team. Admission to all softball games is free for all fans.
NIU wraps up its series with Western Michigan Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans can follow all the action live via GameTracker at www.niuhuskies.com.
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