May 3, 2007
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team heads to Ohio for its final road trip of the 2007 season when the Huskies travel to Bowling Green State to face the Falcons in a doubleheader Friday and then head to Toledo where it will take on the Rockets in a two game weekend set starting Saturday.
"You want to be playing good ball going into the conference tournament," NIU head coach Donna Martin said. "This weekend can go a long way in propelling us into meeting one of our goals, going to the conference tournament and winning it."
As it stands right now, the Huskies (20-23, 9-9) are right there along with Akron and Ohio for the final two bids into the 2007 MAC Softball Tournament. All three teams are at .500 in the MAC. The top three teams in each division advance to the tournament automatically, followed by the next two best teams in either division. As always, pitching is going to be a big factor in the Huskies success.
"Our pitching staff has settled down and pitched some pretty good games for us in the last week or so," Martin said. "They're pretty consistent and pretty solid for us. They need to keep us in it."
Taryn Hagemann and Kate Greenough have combined for a 2.83 earned run average in the Huskies last 10 games. Greenough, a freshman out of Portland, Ore., is the reigning MAC West Pitcher of the Week. She is 4-1 in her last seven appearances with a 2.88 ERA, while Hagemann has a 2.78 ERA and is holding opponents to a .221 batting average.
If the pitching is asked to keep the Huskies in the games, the offense is going to need to produce runs to win the games. In the last 10 games, Krista McPherson, Randi Kreiter, Bailey Ouellette and Michelle Nendza have all been hitting .300 or better. Ouellette has been the Huskies' leading run producer, driving in nine runs the last 10 games, followed by Kreiter with six and Nendza with five. Nendza leads the Huskies in RBIs with 27, while Kreiter is right behind her with 26.
McPherson continues to be the catalyst of the offense. As the Huskies' leadoff hitter it's her job to get on base. She leads the Huskies in runs scored with 28 and has an on base percentage of .405. In the last 10 games she has an on base percentage of .436, with 11 hits, two doubles, four walks and three RBIs.
First pitch of the first game Friday against the Falcons is set for 1 p.m. CDT. The Huskies Saturday game with Toledo is a 1 p.m. CDT start and Sunday's series finale will begin at 12 p.m. CDT. All four games will be available on GameTracker on niuhuskies.com.