Friday's MAC Softball Results

Updated 4/9/2011
Friday's MAC Softball Results
Northern Illinois 10, Buffalo 9
Northern Illinois 7, Buffalo 0
Western Michigan 8, Kent State 6
Kent State 5, Western Michigan 4
Central Michigan 9, Toledo 1
Central Michigan 8, Toledo 0
Eastern Michigan 1, Bowling Green 1
Eastern Michigan 4, Bowling Green 1

LEWISTON, N.Y. - The Northern Illinois University softball team took its doubleheader with Mid-American Conference East foe Buffalo at Niagara Field Friday afternoon.

Stories Courtesy of MAC Media Relations Offices

Northern Illinois 10, Buffalo 9
Northern Illinois 7, Buffalo 0

The Huskies (15-16, 5-1) posted a 10-9 victory in 13 innings in the opening contest, while tallying a 7-0 shutout in the second.

Game One was a see-saw affair. Northern Illinois opened the scoring, jumping out to a 5-0 lead with two runs in the second and three in the third. However, Buffalo (8-22, 3-3) came back to tie the game at 5-5 with a run in the fourth and fifth inning and three runs in the sixth. Both teams scored two runs in the seventh inning sending the game to extra frames.

NIU took a 9-7 lead in the top of the 10th when Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) doubled to left field to drive in two runs. Buffalo answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to keep the game going. Both teams were unable to score in the next two innings. Alexandra Wulbecker (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates) gave NIU the 10-9 lead when she hit a RBI single to right to drive in Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln).

Pitcher Morgan Bittner (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) pitched a 1-2-3 13th to pick up the win and even her record to 8-8 on the season. She allowed four runs, two earned, in nine innings of work. She pitched the first five innings and final four of the game.

"We did everything we could to not win that game, but we kept fighting," NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said of the first game. "Those are kinds of games you have to win in conference.

"Morgan did a great job for us today, throwing 13 innings and only giving up two earned runs. It was a really gutsy performance from our junior."

The Northern Illinois offense stayed hot in Game Two, pounding out 13 hits for seven runs and the Huskie pitching staff combined for the shutout. Whitney Owens (Pendleton, Ind./Pendleton Heights) started the game, going three innings, while Tofft pitched two innings of hitless softball. Bittner came into the game in the sixth inning to pick up the save.

Adriana Sanchez went 2-for-4 in the game collecting three RBIs in the contest with her bases clearing triple in the top of the seventh. Carly Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest), who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the first game, was 1-for-4 in the second with two runs batted in.

Tofft went 3-for-10 on the day with five runs scored and extended her school-record hitting streak to 21 games with a base hit in the first game and a pair of singles in the second game.

Northern Illinois returns to the diamond Saturday when the Huskies travel to Kent State for a weekend set with the MAC East leader. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central.

Western Michigan 8, Kent State 6
Kent State 5, Western Michigan 4
KENT, Ohio - Kent State moved to 5-1 in Mid-American Conference play Friday, following a doubleheader split against Western Michigan. After an 8-6 loss in game one, Lauren Grimes preserved a 5-4 win in game two with a game-saving catch in the seventh inning as she crashed into the center field fence.

Grimes, Shannon Laughlin and Mary Holt all blasted home runs in the Flashes' victory. Grimes did not let the Broncos lead last long as she tied the game with a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the first. After a walk to Jess Carmichael, Laughlin went the opposite way to give the Flashes a 3-1 lead.

A pair of singles by the Broncos in the third trimmed the lead to 3-2, but KSU had another answer in the bottom of the inning. Abbey Ledford singled to right and Holt lined her sixth homer of the year over the left field fence.

In the fifth, it was Western Michigan's turn to use the longball as Tara Buchanan and Gracie Barstad hit back-to-back two-out homers. The Broncos tallied 10 hits in game two, but left seven runners on, including one in the seventh as Grimes hauled in the final out.

"Our defense was much more solid in the second game," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "Our pitchers are doing a good job, but they're not dominating so we have to play good defense. And we cleaned it up in the second game."

Grimes also got the offense rolling early in game one as she and Alex Marcantonio each doubled to start the bottom of the first. An RBI single by Laughlin and a Bronco error extended the lead to 3-0.

"We usually come out ready to go," Linder said of her team scoring three, first-inning runs in each game. "We've been fortunate that the top of our order has been very strong. And they did a good job of attacking early on."

Western Michigan bounced back with two runs in the second and two in the third. Another double by Grimes in the fourth and a single up the middle from Marcantonio gave KSU the lead back 5-4.

The Broncos took advantage of two infield errors in the fifth, scoring four unearned runs. Barstad hit the first of three singles in the inning that broke the Flashes' backs.

"Pitching and defense really cost us that inning," Linder said. "We didn't put it all together in that first game."

An RBI double by Jess Blanton in the seventh brought the tying run to the plate, but Bronco pitcher Kayla Houston retired the final two batters.

Freshman pitcher Lauren McNeil went the distance in game one, before Danielle Abernathy tossed all of game two. Abernathy improved to 8-4 on the year.

The Golden Flashes (15-18) continue conference play Saturday, hosting Northern Illinois at 2 p.m.

Central Michigan 9, Toledo 1
Central Michigan 8, Toledo 0
MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan scored a combined 17 runs while stealing 12 bases over two games to sweep Toledo at Margo Jonker Stadium on Friday.

The Chippewas (18-12, 3-3 MAC) put together another solid day at the plate, defeating the Rockets (5-26, 1-5 MAC), 9-1 in game one and 8-0 in game two.

CMU has now outscored its opponents 38-1 in its first four games at Margo Jonker Stadium and will wrap up a six-game homestand tomorrow with a doubleheader versus Bowling Green.

Dornbos Dominant, Gives Up One Hit in 9-1 Win
Sophomore Macy Merchant tied a single-game record with four stolen bases, scoring three runs and Kara Dornbos tossed her 10th complete-game of the season in one-hit fashion to lead the Chippewas to a 9-1 five-inning win in game one.

Merchant got the offense rolling in the bottom of the first, reaching base on a bunt single and stealing second. The sophomore scored three batters later, as the Chippewas perfected a double-steal attempt, with Merchant heading home and sister Brittini Merchant taking second.

With two outs in the inning, CMU tacked on two more on back-to-back RBI doubles by Kari Seddon and Molly Coldren for a 3-0 lead.

The Chippewas added on two more in the bottom half of the second as Macy Merchant drove in Brittney Horan on a infield single and later came around to score as she stole second, advanced to third on a Summer Knoop fielder's choice and scored on a wild pitch.

Knoop put the run-rule in effect for the Maroon and Gold in the bottom of the third, driving in Horan and Brogan Darwin with a two-RBI single before Merchant stole home, her fourth steal of the game, for a 8-0 lead.

Toledo got its only hit of the game in the top of the fourth on a hard liner down the third base line and scored an unearned run as Courtney McCarthy scored from second on an error by Molly Coldren. CMU would respond with a run in the bottom half of the inning however, for the decisive 9-1 score.

Dornbos (7-5) struck out two in the top of the fifth and induced a fly out to centerfield to close the game striking out four of the last five Rocket batters. The sophomore struck out five over five inning while giving up just the one hit and one run (unearned).

Macy Merchant finished the game 2-for-2 with the four stolen bases and three runs, while sister Brittini went 2-for-3 with two runs and Knoop drove in two.

Five-Run First Inning Enough for CMU to Earn Sweep
Three Toledo errors in the first inning allowed the Chippewas to bat around, scoring five runs, as CMU earned the sweep with an 8-0 win.

Macy Merchant reached on an error to start the inning, stole second, and scored on a Knoop single. Another error by Toledo allowed Brittini Merchant to reach, scoring Knoop before Amanda Patrick drove in Merchant on a single. Pinch-runner Jamey Braxton scored on a passed ball before Horan was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, plating Coldren. Klosterman also scored on a passed ball, the fifth CMU run of the inning, after reaching on the Rockets third error earlier in the inning.

That was all starter Kari Seddon would need, as she earned all four of her strikeouts in the first three frames, getting one each in the first and second and two in the third.

Single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings put the mercy rule in effect for CMU, as Danielle Cabrera stole home in the third, Patrick homered to centerfield in the fourth and Horan scored on an RBI single by Brittini Merchant to end the game.

Seddon (6-6) tossed all five innings, giving up just two hits while striking out four and allowing one walk.

Brittini Merchant and Patrick each finished with two hits and a RBI for the Chippewas and Horan went 2-for-2 with an RBI and run scored from the nine hole.

Eastern Michigan 1, Bowling Green 1
Eastern Michigan 4, Bowling Green 1
YPSILANTI, Mich. ( - Despite rainy field conditions and cool temperatures, the Eastern Michigan University softball team endured mother nature to take two games in their doubleheader sweep over Mid-American Conference opponent Bowling Green this afternoon, April 8, at Varsity Field in Ypsilanti, Mich.

The Eagles (17-7) edged the Falcons in game one, 1-0, and took the second contest, 4-1, to improve to 4-2 in conference play. BGSU drops to 4-19 on the season with an 0-6 mark in the MAC.

Jenna Ignowski (Niles, Mich.-Niles) earned the win in game one for the Eagles to improve to 10-3 on the season. This week's MAC West Pitcher of the Week continued to dominate in the circle, fanning 12 BGSU hitters to tie her career-high mark. Her previous 12-strikeout game was last accomplished on February 25th in the Green and White's extra-inning, 5-4 loss to Albany.

The righty hurler allowed just three hits in her complete game effort as she picked up her fifth shutout of the season.

Bowling Green's Zeta Lines (3-5) threw 6.0 innings in the loss, allowing six hits without walking a single EMU batter.

Sarah Gerber (North Canton, Ohio-Hoover) paced the Eagles offensively in a 2-for-3 outing at the plate and knocked in the Green and Whites lone run in the third inning.
As a team, the Eagles' lineup did not register a single strikeout in the contest.

Ignowski opened up the game with a walk, but would later redeem herself in that same frame after forcing Rachel Proehl to pop one up to the shortstop and retired Paige Berger and Erika Stratton on back-to-back strikeouts to retire the side.

EMU struggled to capitalize with runners on base in the early innings and would wait until the third to tally their lone run of the ball game.

Jessica Richards (Canton, Ohio-Jackson) led off the bottom of the third with a double to right center field. A textbook sacrifice bunt of the bat of Lauren Delapaz (Plymouth, Mich.-Canton) moved Richards to second base. Gerber then connected on a clutch two out, RBI single up the middle to plate the Green and White's lone score in the ballgame.

The Falcons made some noise in the fourth inning with runners at first and second off back-to-back singles, but Ignowski squashed the threat with her sixth strike out of the day to close out the inning.

Entering the top of the seventh, EMU clung to a slim 1-0 lead as the bottom of BGSU's line up was due up at the plate, but Ignowski would strike out the side and help push the Eagles past BGSU in game one, 1-0.

The Green and White did a better job of converting with runners in scoring position in game two, leaving just three on base compared to six in game one.

On the mound, Lauren Wells (Lowell, Ind.-Lowell) (5-1) went 6.0 innings, striking out eight in her fifth victory in the circle, while Ignowski appeared for one inning of relief to pick up her second save on the year.

BGSU's Melissa Bott was issued the loss and drops to 1-8 on the season.

Sophomore Courtney Nicholson (Navarre, Ohio-Canton Central Catholic) led the Eagles offense, connecting on a double and a triple in a 2-for-3 effort at the dish. McKenna Russ (North Canton, Ohio-Hoover) also chipped in with two hits. This week's MAC West Player of the Week knocked in one run and hit her sixth double on the season against the Falcons.

Much like teammate Ignowski the first game, Wells came out firing in the night cap, fanning two of her three batters faced in the top of the first.

The Eagles offense remained scoreless through four, but a two-hit fifth inning plated one for the Green and White after Nicholson drove a one-out triple to right field and an RBI single to left field from Kaylee Tolliver's (Amanda, Ohio-Clearcreek).

BGSU had an answer in the sixth, however, thanks to some smart base running with runners on the corners. Proehl went with the steal attempt from first to draw a throw down from Gerber, allowing teammate Hannah Fulk to sneak in and score from third base.

EMU retaliated with a three-run sixth inning on four hits. Richards singled through the left side and advanced to second on her ninth stolen base of the season. Delapaz drew the free pass to put runners at first and second for Stacie Skodinski (South Bend, Ind.-Washington). The senior singled down the left field line to wave Richards around for the go-ahead run and move Delapaz to third base.

With runners at the corners, Skodinski stoled second to draw the throw down and give Delapaz the opportunity to score from third base, increasing the Eagles lead to two.

Russ would complete the Green and Whites scoring drive with an RBI single to left center field. Skodinski scored on the play to give the Eagles a 4-1 lead that would never be surrendered, as Ignowski checked into the contest and pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the save.

The Eagles continue their progress through MAC play tomorrow when they host the Toledo Rockets. Originally slated for a Saturday-Sunday series, the games will now both be played in a doubleheader format tomorrow, April 10, as a result of looming weather conditions predicted for Sunday afternoon. First pitch of game one is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.