May 6, 2010
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team looks to carry the momentum built over a sweep of defending Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Miami into the final road trip of the season when the Huskies travel to Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan this weekend.
NIU (22-30, 10-8) has the opportunity to top last season's conference win total of 12, its most wins since 2003, when the Huskies face the Chippewas in a doubleheader Friday and take on the Eagles Saturday and Sunday. First pitch for Friday's Game One is set for 12 p.m. with the second game to follow, while Saturday's game is slated for 1 p.m. and Sunday's start time is scheduled for 12 p.m. All starts listed are Central.
The Huskie bats heated up during their four-game home stand last weekend, scoring 20 runs while pounding out 45 hits. In NIU's doubleheader with Ball State, the offense produced 13 runs on 26 hits and scored seven runs on 19 hits in its two games against the RedHawks. Northern Illinois set a couple school records in Game One with Ball State.
With home runs from Zoe Sinner (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) and Andrea Colosimo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) in the first game with the Cardinals, Northern Illinois broke the school's all-time record for home runs in a season. NIU hit six home runs in the four games and have 32 on the year. Sinner's blast, her 10th of the season, ties her for the school's single season record.
Northern Illinois showed tremendous resiliency over the weekend, coming from behind in all four games, forcing extra innings in three of the four contests. Sunday's victory, the 10th conference win of the season, gave NIU back-to-back double digit MAC wins for the first time since accomplishing the feat in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
"We're looking to see a little bit more consistency," NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said of the team's final road trip of season. "We want to play like we did last weekend and enter the MAC Tournament on a high note."
NIU can overtake Central Michigan (25-16, 11-7) which sits in second place in the MAC West standings a game ahead of the Huskies. The Chippewas stumble into Friday's game losers of three straight, including a weekend sweep by Kent State. Eastern Michigan (17-28, 6-12) enters its final four games winners of four of its last six and fighting for its MAC Tournament survival. The Eagles face Western Michigan in a doubleheader Friday afternoon before playing host to NIU Saturday and Sunday.
"Obviously Central's having a great year and Eastern has some great wins," Chouinard said. "Both of them are playing real well so we'll have to bring our `A' game."