April 11, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team welcomes Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan to Mary M. Bell Field for a weekend of Mid-American Conference softball action.
The Huskies (11-23, 1-5) begin the weekend with a doubleheader against CMU (18-12, 4-2) on Friday. First pitch for Game One is set for 1 p.m. with the second game to follow shortly after. Eastern Michigan (10-21-1, 1-5) comes to town for games on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m.
"Obviously this is a huge weekend for our team," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "We are just trying to take one game at a time, one out at a time. We are continuing to grow, learn and battle every game.
"Our offense is hitting its stride and we need to continue to be consistent in the other two areas of our game. Minimizing the big inning is our main focus right now defensively."
NIU is looking to get back in the win column after dropping its last six-straight games. Northern Illinois lost a heartbreaker 5-4 in extra innings to Miami Sunday. NIU pounded out eights on the afternoon with Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) leading the way going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. However, the Huskie defense committed three errors in the game.
Central Michigan is second in the MAC West and enters Friday's doubleheader winners of six of its last seven games. Macy Merchant leads the Chippewas offense and is third in the league batting .413 with 43 hits in 104 at bats. CMU has a solid pitching staff as well with Kara Dornbos and Morgan Yuncker boast a 1.88 and 1.89 earned run average respectively to rank two and three in the MAC in ERA.
The Eagles have lost their last six games heading into their doubleheader with Western Michigan Friday. Eastern Michigan and the Huskies are tied for fifth in the MAC West and this weekend's games could separate the two teams. Amanda Herron boasts a team-best .352 batting average, while pitcher Lindsay Rich leads the EMU staff with a 3.91 ERA and 4-4 record.
It is Cancer Awareness Weekend at Mary M. Bell Field Friday-Sunday. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and the best-dressed fan in pink will win a prize. Representatives from Relay for Life will be on hand Saturday and Sunday selling t-shirts and handing out flyers. In addition, fans can earn prizes all weekend by participating in Huskie softball trivia and bingo.