Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communication Departments
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University softball team dropped a tough doubleheader to Central Michigan at Mary M. Bell Field Friday afternoon.
Northern Illinois (11-25, 1-7) suffered a 7-6 defeat to the Chippewas (20-12, 6-2) in the first game before dropping a 7-3 contest in Game Two.
“Both games were tough losses,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We came into today needing to pick up win. We didn’t. Tomorrow, we’ll show how much fight we really have in us. Our offense is doing great. We’re getting some huge hits out of people. We’re doing everything right. We’re just not coming out with a win.”
Trailing 7-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh in Game One, the Huskies battled back scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh and brought the winning run to the plate. A leadoff double by Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and a single by Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) put runners at the corners with no outs for Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City).
Phelan delivered with an RBI single to left field to score Oswald. Phelan and Kopp moved to second and third on a wild pitch and Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) with two outs. Barnett singled to drive in Phelan and Kopp to make the score, 7-4.
Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) doubled down the left field line to score Miller and Ally Hecht (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison), who came in to pinch run for Barnett. Pinch hitter Murielle Vansach (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) came to the plate representing the winning run, but struck looking to end the game.
“This team knows that we’re going to fight to the end,” Sutcliffe said of the Huskies. “We’ve come back in a lot of seventh inning, so we know we can do it. No lead is too much as long as we have an out to be played. This team believes it can win. We were just one hit short in the first game.”
Nine of the 10 runs scored in the second game came via the long ball. With NIU down 1-0 after a first inning run by Central Michigan, Kopp began the home run derby with her team-leading fifth homer of the season over the left field fence to tie the game, 1-1.
Oswald gave NIU a 2-1 lead after belting her second home run of the season to left field. The Chippewas tied the game in the sixth on a solo home run by Katelyn Rentschler to right center field. Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) blasted a leadoff home run in the bottom of the inning to give NIU a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
However, Central Michigan rallied with a five-run seventh. The Chippewas hit three home runs, two two-run homers and a solo shot to pull out the win.
The Huskies return to the field Saturday when NIU plays host to Eastern Michigan Saturday at Mary M. Bell Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University softball team (19-18, 4-6 MAC) was swept by the defending Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Miami RedHawks on Friday afternoon, losing both games of a doubleheader by final scores of 1-0 and 11-5.
Ohio struggled at the plate in the series against the RedHawks (14-22, 8-2 MAC), hitting .235 as a team while leaving 15 runners on base throughout the two games. Chelsea Hortman (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Raven King (Alpine, Utah) each collected multiple hits throughout the series, as Hortman led the team with three while King recorded two.
Game One: Ohio 0, Miami 1
Miami struck first in the opening game of the series, playing smart small ball in the third inning. The RedHawks sacrifice bunted a runner to second base with one out already having been recorded in the inning. This paid off when Jenna Modic hit a double to centerfield, bringing Tiyona Marshall around to score.
The game proved to be a pitchers’ duel deep into the affair, with Miami’s run in the third proving to be the only score through the entirety of the game.
Ohio threatened in the bottom of the sixth, collecting three hits and getting runners on second and third base with two outs. Pinch hitter Lex Cortez (Beaufort, S.C.) hit a sharp liner over the infield, but it was caught by the onrushing centerfielder to end Ohio’s scoring opportunity.
Savannah Jo Dorsey threw a strong outing in the first game, striking out five batters and just allowing six hits. The freshman only walked one batter and allowed one earned run in the contest.
Game 2: Miami 11, Ohio 5
Miami got off to a fast start in the second game of the series, taking an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Kylie McChesney. A few batters later, Kristy Arbour hit a deep shot over the right center field wall with one runner on base, giving the RedHawks an early 3-0 lead.
Hortman broke up Paige Myers’ no-hitter in the bottom of the third inning. The senior was able to get to second through a passed ball, but was ultimately stranded there to end the inning.
Miami doubled its advantage in the top of the fourth inning, tacking on three more runs when Modic hit a deep shot over the right field wall. This led to a pitching change for the Bobcats, as Dorsey came on to replace Lauren McClary (Pasadena, Texas).
The bottom of the fourth inning was a strong one for the ‘Cats, as King hit a solo shot to put Ohio on the board. Following a Tessa Bailey (Acworth, Ga.) hit and stolen base, DJ Engelman (Mason, Ohio) stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter and blasted a two-run shot over the right field wall to pull the ‘Cats within three runs (6-3).
Miami was able to add five more runs on five hits and one Ohio error in the top of the fifth inning, extending its advantage to 11-3. Ohio added one run in the bottom of the fifth frame via a Caitlin Colvin (Bonney Lake, Wash.) sacrifice fly, bringing pinch runner Erin Lashley (Pickerington, Ohio) around to score and cutting Miami’s lead to seven runs. An RBI single by Kaylin Clarke (North Royalton, Ohio) drove in Ohio’s final run of the day in the bottom of the sixth frame.
Ohio will next be in action on Saturday, April 13 against league-leading Ball State. First pitch between the Bobcats and Cardinals is scheduled for 2 p.m.
AKRON, Ohio – Akron came within two outs of spoiling Ball State's perfect record in Mid-American Conference play but was unable to put the finishing touches on the nightcap, as the Zips dropped a pair of games to the first-place Cardinals, 5-0 and 11-6, Friday at Lee R. Jackson Field.
After coming up with just two hits in the first game, Akron (16-19, 3-7 MAC) played six dominating innings in game two and was just two outs from putting Ball State away for good in the top of the seventh. The Cardinals had a different plan, however, pushing the contest to eight innings and surprising UA with its fourth extra-inning loss this season.
Ball State improved to 26-11 overall and 10-0 in league play, taking the two games in very different fashion.
Game One: Ball State 5, Akron 0
McKenzi Rhodes and Cassie Gleisner managed Akron's only hits in the official home opener, as Nicole Steinbach tossed a complete game gem for Ball State.
The Zips' defense kept the Cardinals quiet until the third inning when BSU came alive with two down. Batting in the three-hole, Ball State left fielder Jenny Gilbert smacked a two-run shot over the wall in left center to take a 2-0 lead over UA. Two batters later center fielder Amanda Carpenter laid out an RBI double to extend Ball State's lead to three.
Alissa Birkhimer drew a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth in an effort to harness some momentum, but her pinch runner Iesha Mountain was caught stealing.
Gleisner ruined Steinbach's no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning with a single through the left side, but would stay stranded on first.
BSU picked up its fourth run in the top of the sixth on a wild pitch from Erin Seiler, and another in the seventh inning on an RBI single up the middle.
Rhodes' base hit came with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and pinch runner Alexa Montesano would make it all the way to third when Erin Pond reached safely on a Ball State error, advancing to second. The Zips could not convert with two outs however and the Cardinals preserved their shutout.
Seiler fell to 10-12 on the season with the loss, but was injured on a hard-hit ball right back to her in the circle in the top of the seventh when she was replaced by MacKenzie Conrad.
Game Two: Ball State 11, Akron 6 (8)
A 43-minute rain delay and four Ball State home runs were what slowed Akron down in game two, though Shawna Hochstetler, Erin Pond and Taryn Allmon each recorded a pair of hits for the Zips in the extra-inning loss.
Lisa Lash made her first start of the season in the circle in just her third appearance this year, the second this week. She threw six solid innings and struck out four before the Cardinals unleashed their big bats.
Akron carried a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the fifth before the game was halted due to rain. Gleisner made an impressive play in the top of the fifth to hold on to the lead, throwing a runner out from left field to squash Ball State's attempt to tie the game.
The Cardinals would eventually even the score in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by catcher Sadie Robertson, before Akron regained a two-run advantage in the bottom half of the inning when Allmon got things rolling with a leadoff single.
Gleisner moved Allmon over to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Hochstetler reached safely on a fielder's choice. She would advance and Allmon scored on the ensuing throwing error by the Ball State first baseman. Kellie Roudabush followed up with a single up the middle that was enough to score Hochstetler from second.
Leading 6-4 and three outs away from victory, it would be Gilbert again who hurt Akron with her magic bat. Her two-run home run with one out in the top of the seventh tied the game again at six and eventually forced an eighth inning.
A bases-loaded fielder's choice and Gilbert grand slam in the eighth gave Ball State the five-run cushion that stuck, allowing it to stay unbeaten in conference play this season. Game one winner Steinbach returned to pitch for the Cardinals in the sixth after Akron took its 6-4 lead, allowing only one hit and retiring the Zips in order in their last two at-bats. She would be credited with both victories on the day to move to 11-7.
Akron continues MAC play against Miami (Ohio) tomorrow at Lee R. Jackson Field. The RedHawks enter the contest 14-22 and 5-3 in the MAC after sweeping Ohio on Friday. Saturday's first pitch is slated for 2 p.m.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University softball team earned a split with the University at Buffalo Friday afternoon, falling by a score 2-0 in game one before earning a 2-1 win in game two. The split pushes the Falcons’ overall record to 21-13, with a record of 5-5 in conference play.
Freshman Marisa Shook carried the offensive load for the Falcons in game one, going 2-for-3 with a double. Senior Hannah Fulk also earned an extra-base hit, going 1-for-2 with a double. Sophomore Jamie Kertes (7-8) was credited with the loss despite giving up just one hit in a complete-game effort. Kertes also recorded six strikeouts.
After a scoreless game through the first three frames, Buffalo finally broke the scoring drought with two runs on one hit and two Bowling Green errors in the top of the fourth. A pitcher’s duel carried the 2-0 contest into the final frame, as neither team was able to cross home plate again. Despite Kertes’ stellar pitching performance, Buffalo took game one with a 2-0 shutout victory.
The Falcons responded in game two, earning a split with the Bulls with a 2-1 win.
Junior Katie Yoho stole the show for Bowling Green in game two, going 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. Senior Paige Berger also had multiple hits, going 2-for-2 with a run scored and a double. Sophomore Paris Imholz gave up five hits and one earned run in the start, pitching the first 3.2 innings. Kertes (8-8) pitched the final 3.2 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two in the win.
Bowling Green scored the only two runs it would need in the bottom of the third, crossing home plate twice on two hits. Berger started the frame with a double to right field, before Yoho belted her team-best sixth homer of the season to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead.
Buffalo responded in the top of the fourth, scoring one run on three hits to cut into the Falcons' 2-1 lead. With two runners on and two outs, Kertes entered the ball game and got out of the jam, recording a strikeout for the final out of Buffalo’s scoring frame.
Kertes continued to dominate the Bull hitters for the final 3.0 innings, securing the 2-1 game-two win for the Falcons.
The Falcons are back in action on Saturday, April 13, when they take on the Kent State Golden Flashes in single game. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
TOLEDO, Ohio - For the third time in a week, senior Morgan Smith's seventh-inning heroics led Toledo (10-24, 3-7 MAC) to a come-from-behind victory at Scott Park. Smith roped a double over the head of the center fielder with two outs, plating the tying and winning runs and lifting UT past Kent State (17-14, 7-3 MAC) for a conference doubleheader split on Friday, 9-8. The Mid-American Conference East Division leaders took the opening game from the Rockets, 8-4.
Junior Lani Ernst homered in each game while going 3-for-6 with a team-high five RBI to pace the Midnight Blue & Gold at the plate. Ernst received help on her first deep fly of the day when the ball bounced off the left fielder's glove and over the fence. Senior Courtney McCarthy also went 3-for-7 on the day with two RBI.
Four Rockets collected two hits in the second game alone, including senior Lindsey Tobias (2-for-4; two RBI), freshman Marla Gooding (2-for-4; two RBI), sophomore Allissa Turkovich (2-for-3) and McCarthy (2-for-4).
Smith (2-for-7; two RBI) collected a hit in each game. Freshman Jess Lemieux added an RBI single in game two.
Sophomore left-hander Alli Beery (7.0 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 2 BB) was handed her first win in the circle since March 6 after Smith's double, while Gooding (2.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) suffered the defeat in game one.
Each team tallied 11 hits in the nightcap, while Kent State outhit Toledo 10-5 in the opener.
Erinn Wright's 10-game hit streak was snapped after the junior left game one with an injury.
UT dug itself a hole with a season-high six errors in the first game, but was fortunate enough to overcome four defensive miscues in the next game.
After a pair of UT first-inning runs, the third frame ended up being the difference in the early contest as the Golden Flashes lit up the board with seven runs (three unearned) on six hits and four UT errors.
Ernst's two-run shot in the fifth brought the Rockets within three runs at 7-4, but Kent State tacked on another run and held on for the victory.
The second game proved to be a see-saw affair as Kent State jumped out to an early 4-0 advantage in the second. But UT answered with two runs in each of the second, third and fourth innings to grab a 6-5 lead.
The visitors seemed poised for the series sweep when they reclaimed the lead with two more in the fifth and one in the final inning. However, UT's team slogan "FIGHT" was brought to life when the Rockets battled back for its third walk-off win this season - all within the past week.
With two outs in the final at-bat, Gooding kept the inning alive to set up Smith's gamewinner with a grounder up the middle to plate Ernst and move Tobias to third, while cutting the deficit to two.
Smith's double was her third clutch hit in the seventh inning over the previous week. She clinched a 4-3 win over Ohio last Friday with a two-out single and tied Sunday's eventual win over Akron in the seventh with a two-out, two-run homer.
Toledo will close out the home portion of its schedule with two weekend matchups against Buffalo (11-23, 4-6 MAC). Saturday's contest is set for 2:00 p.m. and is Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Sunday's game will begin at 1:00 p.m. as UT honors its five seniors prior to the season finale at Scott Park.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Broncos swept their first Mid-American Conference of the 2013 season on the strength of a 5-for-6 performance by Melissa Palmer and Loren Nagy's first career grand slam.
The opening game of the series was a back and forth affair with the Broncos plating the eventual winning run on the baord in the fifth when Makenzie Shepeck singled through the left side to score Jenny Rohn. Shepeck picked up her second win of the season in the circle with 4.0 innings of work with five strikeouts in game two.
Nagy collected the first of her seven RBIs on the day with a base hit through the left side, scoring Palmer would led off the inning with an infield single on a 2-2 offering. Caity Pixley drove in the second run of the inning on a single down the left field line. Diana Patterson scored on the play after reaching on a walk.
Eastern Michigan scored a run in the top of the seventh to pull within a run of tying the game, and put the go ahead run on base but the final out was a grounder back to Becca Shemberger to end it, giving the sophomore her seventh win of the season on the strength of nine strikeouts.
Nagy's bases loaded home run came in the home half of the fourth in a game where Western Michigan led by just a run. Shepeck kicked things off with a walk. Palmer followed with another infield single. Patterson also walked to load the bases. Nagy, with two outs in the inning, faced a 3-2 count before pulling a pitch over the left field wall.
Palmer's 5-for-6 day came on a 2-for-3 performance in game one followed by a perfect 3-for-3 performance in game two. Nagy was 2-for-4 in game two. Pixley also had a multi-hit game with a 2-for-4 performance in the series opener.
The Broncos host Central Michigan in a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 1 p.m., due to possible poor weather on Saturday. Follow along with live stats and a live chat via www.wmubroncos.com as well as get in-game updates through Twitter on @WMUSoftball.