May 1, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team concludes its regular season on the road when it travels to Akron and Ohio this weekend.
"We just want to close the door on us getting into the tournament," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "We just have to continue to take it one pitch at a time and not look at it like we have to win all four games to get into the tournament. We need to be able to play relaxed, but in the same sense play under the pressure of the MAC Tournament this weekend."
The Huskies (21-27, 8-10) will face Akron (24-13, 9-5) in a doubleheader on Friday starting at 12 p.m., before traveling to Ohio (26-22, 10-6) Saturday for single games Saturday and Sunday. First pitch for Saturday's game is 4:30, while Sunday's series finale starts at 12 p.m. All times listed are Central. NIU's series with the Bobcats will be available live via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com, while live stats for the Akron series will be available at gozips.com.
This is a key weekend for the Huskies as they are looking to secure its place in the 2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament. Currently, NIU holds the eighth and final spot with Bowling Green and Western Michigan right behind them. The Falcons have a pair of games with Toledo remaining, while the Broncos, NIU's travel partner, will face Ohio and Akron this weekend as well.
NIU enters the final weekend of the regular season with momentum after a 12-4 come-from-behind victory over in-state rival UIC. The Huskie offense came alive as it pounded out 15 hits and capitalized on three Flame errors.
"I think being able to comeback in the game gives us a lot of confidence heading into this weekend," Sutcliffe said. "There was a point in the game, they didn't know if they thought they could. Being able to take the lead and keep the lead was big for us."
Senior Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) led the way for NIU in the victory going 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. She enters this weekend's action with 147 runs scored in her career, just one behind Jill Justin's mark of 148 set from 1986-89.
Fellow senior Shelby Miller
(Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) has 104 career RBIs which ranks fourth all-time in the NIU records. Two more RBIs this weekend could place her third all-time by herself. She is also third on the school's all-time home run list with 21, trailing Justin who has 24.