Courtesy of MAC Athletic Communication Departments
DEKALB, Ill. - Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Northern Illinois University softball team scored a pair of runs but was unable to complete the comeback as the Huskies fell to UIC, 5-4, at Mary M. Bell Field Wednesday.
"We made a couple of defensive miscues that they capitalized on," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "When push comes to shove, we're going to fight tile the end. That's kind of been our theme this year."
With two outs, two runs in and Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) on second, Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) lined a single over the third baseman's head and into left field. Barnett was waved home, but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect throw by Courtney Heeley to give the victory to the Flames (19-20).
"In hindsight, I probably should've held her up," Sutcliffe said. "We still had to get another hit at that point. I'm risking that throw coming into her, or sliding into the catcher. It had to be a perfect play. She's got to throw through the runner and still make a tag. They were able to execute."
The Huskies' (17-27) first three batters reached to load the bases with no outs. Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale) hit a sacrifice fly out to left field, scoring Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City,/Elkins) from third and moving the runners up a base. Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) then flied out to drive in Allyson Hecht (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) from third and pull NIU to within a run. However, Barnett was unable to advance from second.
UIC opened a 2-0 lead with a run in the first and a run in the third. An RBI groundout by Barnett scored Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest), who led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on an errant throw by the centerfielder. The Flames opened a 5-1 lead with a three-run fifth.
Barnett led the way for the Huskie offense going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Sheppard and Miller also turned in multi-hit games with each going 2-for-4.
The Huskies return to the field Friday when NIU welcomes Akron to Mary M. Bell Field for a doubleheader. First pitch for Game One is set for at 1 p.m. and fans can follow all the action live, via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Kent State softball team battled rain and lightning this Wednesday (April 24), but managed to salvage one game of its scheduled non-conference doubleheader against Penn State on Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park. Unfortunately, the Golden Flashes weren't able to make the most of that opportunity as their comeback bid fell short in a 2-1 loss to the Nittany Lions.
The two clubs were scheduled to play a twin bill, but consistent rain and a lightning delay before the sixth inning of the opener erased the possibility of a nightcap. Thanks to the delay, the opener took three hours, 41 minutes to complete.
"We had opportunities with runners in scoring position, but we just didn't get the timely hits," Kent State head coach Karen Linder said. "I thought this was a game we could've and should've won. It just goes back to us having to be solid in all four phases of the game to be successful."
The Golden Flashes trailed, 1-0, with two outs in the top of the fifth when junior designated player Jessacca Gironda (Akron, Ohio) reached on an infield single. Gironda stole second and scored the tying run on an RBI single by freshman shortstop Lauren Kesterson (Everett, Wash.).
Penn State went ahead, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth when it plated an unearned run.
Kent State nearly pulled even in the top of the seventh inning when senior first baseman Lauren Balodis (North Royalton, Ohio) led off with a sharp single to left field. Freshman Chloe Kesterson (Everett, Wash.) pinch ran and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman third baseman Michele Duffy (Phillipsburg, N.J.). That was as close as the Flashes would get, though, as the Nittany Lions held on for the 2-1 decision.
Sophomore right-hander Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) pitched well despite the loss, allowing just two hits with nine strikeouts over six innings.
Kent State is now 21-17-1 overall and return to league action at 2 p.m. Saturday (April 27) and 1 p.m. Sunday (April 28) for a key two-game series with Buffalo (13-26, 5-9) at the Diamond at Dix. Penn State improves to 12-30 overall.
AKRON, Ohio – Akron battled the elements and summoned a comeback that fell just short in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Zips dropped a 4-3 decision to visiting Dayton Wednesday afternoon at Lee R. Jackson Field.
Game two of the originally scheduled doubleheader was cancelled due to the cold and soggy weather conditions, after the first game was delayed 90 minutes in starting.
Akron (18-23) took the UD pitching staff for seven hits from six different Zips, half of which came in the last two innings. All four of the Dayton (20-20) runs came off the longball, in the form of a solo shot in the fifth and a three-run blast in the seventh.
Despite the two home runs, UA's ace Erin Seiler (12-16) threw a solid seven innings in the circle, recording double-digit strikeouts for the second consecutive contest with 10.
It took some time for either team to jumpstart their offense as the game remained scoreless through four complete innings. Taryn Allmon extended her hitting streak to seven games with a two-out single to center in the bottom of the fourth, but was caught attempting to steal second.
Flyers' third baseman Dana Trotta put Dayton on the board first in the fifth, delivering her solo home run with one away. UD would get runners on first and second on a pair of Akron defensive miscues, but Seiler worked her way out of the jam forcing a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.
Akron went on to tie the game at one in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out RBI single up the middle off the bat of Jessica Schneider, which scored Kellie Roudabush who had reached on a dropped third strike.
With runners on the corners and only one out, Dayton catcher Krista Gustafson stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh and cleared the bases with one swing, giving the Flyers a 4-1 advantage and the Zips one last chance to come back.
McKenzi Rhodes started things off with a line drive that was too much for the second baseman to handle, and she advanced to second on the throw in from shallow right field. Erin Pond came in to run for Rhodes, moved over to third on a passed ball and scored on a pinch-hit ground out from Jessica Reiman.
Shawna Hochstetler drew a walk to bring up the tying run in Roudabush. The Zips' second baseman pulled an opposite field double that was enough to score Hochstetler and bring Akron within one.
After a UD's second pitching change of the game, Alissa Birkhimer took aim with two outs and smoked one to the shortstop, but Dayton was able to put it away and spoil Akron's rally.
The Zips take to the road this weekend for their final road swing of the regular season, resuming Mid-American Conference play at Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. Akron will face the Huskies in a doubleheader Friday beginning at 2 p.m. ET, followed by single games at WMU on Saturday (2 p.m. ET) and Sunday (1 p.m. ET).