LP: LaChiana (12-12)
DATE: Northern Illinois now 20-22 overall / Illinois State now
NEXT HUSKIE ACTION: Friday / Apr. 29 / NIU vs. Central Michigan
University (DH) / DeKalb, IL / 2:00 p.m. (CDT)
Softball allows eight runs in fourth inning, falls on road at Illinois
NORMAL, IL ---Sometimes, one inning can make all the difference
in the world. Especially when a team scores eight runs in that inning.
Northern Illinois University found itself on the wrong side of that
scenario Wednesday (Apr. 27) as instate foe Illinois State University
scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth to blow open a one-run
game and move onto an 11-2 victory in non-conference softball action.
NIU sees its losing streak extend to three games with the loss and
falls to 20-22 on the season. Illinois State bounces back from an
0-3 weekend at Missouri Valley Conference rival Wichita State to
improve to 26-17 for the year.
Things did not look that bleak at all at the start of the day as
the Huskies came out swinging with two runs in the top of the first
inning. Sixth-year senior Shelby Bernard (Cedar Falls, IA
/ Cedar Falls)---back in the lineup for the first time since suffering
a concussion back on Mar. 15---started the rally with a one-out
double to right field. Elyse Jamrozy (Brookfield, IL / Riverside-Brookfield)
singled to put runners at the corners and Kelly Drozd (Lockport,
IL / Lockport) got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Toni Del
Toro (Las Vegas, NV / Durango) cleaned up, lacing a single into
left field to score Bernard and Jamrozy, putting the Huskies up
Illinois State bounced right back with two runs in the bottom of
the first, however, and took the lead for good in the bottom of
the second on a two-out Kate Stake RBI double. NIU tried to put
a rally together in the top of the third, putting runners on second
and third with one out, but ISU starter Stacy Birk struck out Del
Toro before inducing a pop-up to get out of the jam unscathed.
That's when things got rolling as the Redbirds sent 12 batters to
the plate on their way to eight runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Huskie starter Lindsey LaChiana (Oak Lawn, IL / Richards)
saw just two of those batters after surrendering a one-out homerun
to ISU right-fielder Jackie Williams. Kathy Dearborn (Geneseo,
IL / Darnall) came on in relief but surrendered seven runs on four
hits without recording an out. Taryn Hagemann (Rochelle,
IL / Rochelle) came in for Dearborn and finally worked out of the
jam getting a ground-ball double play off the bat of Tricia Gaither.
The damage was done, however, and when NIU went down one-two-three
in the top of the fifth, the eight-run mercy rule went into effect.
LaChiana (12-12) took the loss after allowing three earned runs
on five hits in three-and-a-third innings. Each of the top six hitters
in the Huskie batting order had exactly one hit including Drozd
who went 1-for-1 and got hit by a pitch. Del Toro finished the day
1-for-2 with both Huskie runs batted in.
Northern Illinois ventures back into Mid-American Conference territory
by welcoming West Division leader Central Michigan University to
town for a three-game set this weekend. The two squads hook up for
a 2 p.m. (CDT) doubleheader Friday (Apr. 29) before playing the
series rubber game at 1 p.m. (CDT) Saturday (Apr. 30).