April 26, 2012
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team ends its season where it began, on the road, when the Huskies embark on a season ending seven-game road trip Friday.
The Huskies (18-29, 6-10 MAC) begin their trip with a doubleheader against Bowling Green on Friday with first pitch set for 12 p.m. Central Time before traveling to Toledo for a weekend series with the Rockets.
The Falcons own the best record in the league with an 11-3 mark Mid-American Conference play and a 31-16 record overall. Toledo (12-30, 5-9) trails the Huskies by a game for the final spot in the MAC Tournament heading into this weekend's action with one more weekend of MAC play to go.
With six of their last seven games against MAC foes, Dani Parrish (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) and Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) look to continue their outstanding conference play. Both have posted over a .500 on-base percentage against MAC opponents (.526 and .512, respectively).
Parrish has hit .438 in conference play with almost half of her hits (43) and RBIs (23) coming against MAC opponents. Parrish is also slugging .604 in conference play, while Barnett has batted .432 against MAC competition with two-thirds of her RBIs (21) coming in conference play.
"In conference play, Dani and Jen have carried us," said NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard. "That's important for the upperclassmen to step up. We need them to do those things in order for us to be successful."
Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) and Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln) lead the way for the Huskies, ranking among the top of multiple MAC hitting categories.
Gremillion has posted a .398 average, leading the Huskies in hits (64), runs (44), doubles (9), triples (4), and stolen bases (14). Her production has led her to the top five in the league in each of those categories. Toftt has posted a .391 average and has racked up and on-base percentage of .448, a team best.
"Nicole's done a really good job of sticking to her game plan," Chouinard said. They [Gremillion and Tofft] both have multiple skills from the left side of the plate and are really fast. That works to their advantage."