Another strong day by the offense and a solid performance by the Northern Illinois University pitching staff combined to give NIU a 5-1 win over Central Michigan at Margo Jonker Stadium in MAC softball action Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies (15-20, 3-4) pounded out 11 hits, with Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) leading the way going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Once again, Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) set the table from the leadoff spot. Gremillion went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Dortch picked up the win to level her record at 11-11, going six-and-a-third innings allowing one run on five hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.
“I spent a lot of time talking to Megan and Jess about where they’re at,” said NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard.
“They’re freshman and they have their freshmen moments. It’s nice to see them come together and work they way they’re supposed to. From the pitching standpoint, they’re definitely doing what I’ve asked them to do. One earned run against a good Central Michigan offense, that’s what we need to be doing to win a championship.”
Northern Illinois jumped on top early with a three-run third inning. With the bases loaded and two out, Barnett, who came in to pinch hit, singled to centerfield to drive in a pair and give NIU a 2-0 advantage. Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forrest) drove in the third fun of the inning on a single up the middle.
“JB’s done a great job out of the five spot,” Chouinard said of Barnett’s performance at the plate. “She and Sheppard both did a good job of stepping up and hitting in runs, yesterday and today.”
The Huskies scored another run in the fourth on an RBI single by Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln) and an insurance in the seventh courtesy of an Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) RBI single to right field.
NIU wraps up its series with Central Michigan Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for noon Central Time.