Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communication Departments
DEKALB, Ill. – A four-run sixth proved to the difference Northern Illinois University softball team rallied for a 6-3 victory over Eastern Michigan at Mary M. Bell Field Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Huskies (12-25, 2-7) scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to snap an eight-game losing streak.
“We’re the best sixth and seventh inning team I’ve seen in a really long time,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “I wish we could get started better in the first and second inning to take a little pressure of ourselves, but we have fought all year and have showed we’re going to fight all year.”
With the bases loaded and two outs, Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) gave NIU a 4-3 lead driving in a pair with a single. Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) extended the Huskie advantage to three when she drove in two on a single.
Sophomore Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest), who came in to pitch for Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) in the top of the fifth, held the Eagles (10-24-1, 1-7) in the top of the seventh to give NIU the victory.
Norton allowed a hit, a walk and struck out a batter in two and two-thirds innings to pick up the win and improve to 5-15 on the season. Sturm went four-and-a-third innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on seven hits.
“Jess pitched better than the scoreboard showed,” Sutcliffe said. “We had some defensive mishaps that got her in trouble. We’re in a situation where we have two good pitchers and we needed to mix it up. I brought Emily in to change things up and it worked.”
Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest), Oswald and Miller led the Huskie offense with each going 1-for-2 with two RBIs, while Oswald also scored two runs.
The Huskies return to action Sunday when NIU closes out its series with the Eagles Sunday. First pitch is set for at 1 p.m. and fans can follow all the action live, via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University softball team's herculean seventh-inning comeback effort fell just short on Saturday afternoon, as the Bobcats fell to the Mid-American Conference leading Ball State Cardinals by a final score of 9-7 at the Ohio Softball Field. The Bobcats hit four home runs, including two in the seventh inning, but couldn't quite get past the visitors on a sunny day in Athens.
With the win, Ball State improves to 27-11 and 11-0 in the MAC. Ohio is now 19-19 on the year with a 4-7 mark in league play.
Despite losing to the Cardinals, the Bobcats did outhit the visitors on Saturday by a 10-9 margin. Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.) and Adrienne Gebele (Annapolis, Md.) each recorded two hits on the afternoon while Kaylin Clarke (North Royalton, Ohio), Chelsea Hortman (Cincinnati, Ohio), Raven King (Alpine, Utah), Dakota Pyles (Galloway, Ohio), DJ Engelman (Mason, Ohio), and Alyssa Wolfe (Junction City, Ohio) each added one hit to Ohio's offensive efforts.
Lauren McClary (Pasadena, Texas) encountered a spot of trouble in the first inning, allowing one hit and walking four Cardinal batters. Ball State was able to score two runs in the first frame to leap out to an early lead. McClary settled down well in the second inning, recording three quick outs to set the Cardinals down in order.
Ohio's bats came alive in the bottom of the second inning. Gebele launched a solo shot to right center, one which cleared the netting behind the wall. This was her ninth home run of the season and halved Ball State's lead, 2-1. A walk by King and a single by Pyles put the `Cats in a good spot to add one more run. They were able to do just that when Wolfe hit a rope over the infield to bring King around to score and tie the game at two runs apiece.
The Cardinals collected a clutch, two-out hit of their own in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded, Selena Reyna blasted a double to left center, clearing the bases to give Ball State a 5-2 advantage.
Sadie Robertson added a two-out double in the top of the fifth inning, adding one more run to the Cardinals' cause. Ball State then added three more runs to take its largest lead of the game (9-2) when Jenny Gilbert hit a three-run shot to right field.
Ohio was able to pull back three runs in the bottom of the sixth frame. With Sloan Walker (Cypress, Texas) on first base, King recorded a hit to put two runners on. DJ Engelman (Mason, Ohio) then came up with one out, pinch hitting for Amanda Dalton. Engelman hit a rocket shot to left field, a round-tripper which brought in three runs to make it 9-5. The home run was the third of her season and career.
Clarke led off the bottom of the seventh inning on a positive note, hitting a solo shot over the left field wall to pull the `Cats within three runs at 9-6. One out later, Hortman hit a solo home run to make it a 9-7 ballgame. With one out in the seventh, Gebele singled to shortstop and Caitlin Colvin (Bonney Lake, Wash.) stepped up as the tying run. Her sharp hit to the left side of the infield was fielded well, however, ending the game with a 6-4-3 double play.
Ohio will next be in action on Sunday afternoon against Ball State. First pitch between the Bobcats and Cardinals is set for 1 p.m.
TOLEDO, Ohio - Toledo fell 1-0 to Buffalo in a pitcher's dual at Scott Park on Saturday afternoon. UT freshman Marla Gooding allowed just one hit and struck out three batters in her best start of the year, but the Bulls scored the game's only run in frigid, blustery conditions on a Toledo error in the third inning.
The Rockets dropped to 10-25 overall and 3-8 in league play, while Buffalo improved to 12-23 and 5-6 in the conference. The series and 2013 home finale at Scott Park will be played tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.
Buffalo's Tori Speckman (7 IP, 3 H, 5 K, 1 BB) found her groove early on and didn't allow a UT runner to reach base until the fifth inning.
Besides giving up a double to the second batter in the third, Gooding was unhittable and didn't allow another Bull to reach second base. The righty has not allowed an earned run in three of her previous four starts in the circle.
The lone run came after the double when Tori Pettine hit a sharp grounder to second base and an errant throw to first allowed the runner to score. The only other Buffalo hitter to reach safely came on a lead-off walk in the sixth, but she was quickly erased while trying to steal second base.
Toledo's best chance to score came in the fifth when sophomore Leigh Nebendahl made it around to third base. She had reached on a fielder's choice following a single by freshman Jess Lemieux, but was left stranded after a strikeout to end the threat.
Senior Courtney McCarthy recorded her seventh double with two outs in the next frame, but her pinch-runner was left aboard.
Nebendahl notched the third UT hit in their final at-bat, allowing Friday's seventh-inning hero Morgan Smith come to plate as the winning run, but Smith popped up and a strikeout ended the game.
AKRON, Ohio – Alissa Birkhimer launched her first career grand slam and Akron scored all of its runs with two outs as the Zips cruised to an 8-1 victory over visiting Miami (Ohio) Saturday afternoon at Lee R. Jackson Field.
The senior had a flawless day at the plate for the Zips, going a perfect 2-for-2 with a double on top of her home run, adding pair of walks and two runs scored. The longball was her third of the season and the 28th of her career.
With the win, Akron improves to 17-19 and 4-7 in the MAC. Miami, which entered the contest alone at the top of the East Division standings, falls to 14-23 and 8-3 in the conference.
Erin Seiler picked up the complete game victory for Akron, returning to the circle after leaving yesterday's doubleheader when she was hit with a line drive, to move to 11-12 on the season. She struck out two and scattered four hits without a walk. The MAC leader in innings pitched, Seiler has only walked a remarkable seven batters in 56 and two-thirds innings of conference play. Prior to Saturday's game she was ranked 12th in the nation in walks allowed per seven innings, averaging 1.01.
The RedHawks' only run of the day came early in the first inning on an RBI double to right center field from first baseman Hailey Reed. Jessica Schneider quickly supplied Akron's answer in the bottom of the first, driving in Kellie Roudabush who reached on an infield single.
UA's offense turned up the heat with two away in the second frame and never looked back. Erin Pond reached safely on one of Miami's three errors, advancing to second on McKenzi Rhodes' sacrifice bunt.
Cassie Gleisner worked a two-out walk, and Shawna Hochstetler dug in and ripped a line drive just over the shortstop's head and into left field to score Pond.
Roudabush was then hit by a pitch to load the bases to bring up Birkhimer. The Zips' first baseman took the first pitch she saw and smashed it into the face of the scoreboard in right field to bring everyone home and give Akron a 6-1 lead. That would be the end of the day for Miami starter Paige Myers (6-12), who was tagged with the loss.
The Zips took RedHawk reliever Megan Mattera for four more hits and added two runs over the last four frames, as Schneider picked up her second RBI of the day and Taryn Allmon joined in with an RBI single of her own.
Akron's defense allowed just three Miami base runners after the first inning.
The two teams will conclude the series tomorrow with a single game beginning at 1 p.m. at Lee R. Jackson Field.