The NIU softball team split its doubleheader with Bowling Green at Meserve Field Friday afternoon.
The Huskies (19-30, 7-11) rallied from a two run deficit in Game One, to post a 4-3 victory over Bowling Green (32-17, 12-4) to win their first game in six tries.
Senior Dani Parrish (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield), who has stepped up in conference play led the way for Northern Illinois with a 3-for-4, three RBI performance in the opening game. Batting leadoff for NIU, Parrish singled to open the game. Two batters later, she gave NIU a 1-0 lead when Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) drove Parrish in from second on a one out single.
After the Mid-American Conference East leading Falcons took a 3-1 lead with a run in the first and two in the third, NIU tied the game in the top of the fifth. Once again, it was Parrish coming through with the big hit. With runners at first and second with one out, Parrish ripped a triple to left center field to clear the bases and tie the game, 3-3.
With two out and Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) at first, Parrish came through one last time with a double, to score Sheppard all the way from first to give NIU a 4-3 lead. Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) held Bowling Green in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.
“Dani had a great day,” NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said. “In the first game, coming up big for us two times, and hitting in all the runs that she didn’t score herself. Obviously, did a great job from the get-go. The bottom of the line up did a good job setting the table for her and she drove them in.”
Sturm, who came in to relieve starter Megan Dortch (Reno, Nev./Bishop Manoque) in the first, improved to 8-11 after allowing two runs on five hits.
NIU dropped the second game, 15-2. After the Huskies tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the second, the Falcons responded with seven runs in the bottom of the second to take an 8-1 advantage. With the score 8-2 in the bottom of the third, Bowling Green posted another seven-spot to take a 13-run advantage.
The Huskies return to the diamond Saturday when NIU travels to Toledo to open a key series with MAC Tournament implications.
NIU leads the Rockets by a game for the eighth and final spot in the 2012 MAC Softball Tournament. First pitch for Saturday’s game is set for 1 p.m. with the series finale to start at noon Sunday.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.