Softball opens MAC tournament with a win

Amanda Sheppard pounds game-winning hit for Huskies

Amanda Sheppard

Amanda Sheppard

The Northern Illinois University softball team opened play in the 2013 Mid-American Conference Softball Tournament with a 2-1 victory over No. 5 seed Miami at Firestone Stadium Wednesday evening.

“We showed a lot of patience throughout that game,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We’ve been a comeback team all year. Being able to score in the sixth and seventh inning has been our thing. We truly believe if we have an out left, we have a chance of winning.”

With the score tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the seventh with two on and no outs, Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) singled to right center to drive in Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) from second and give the Huskies (25-29) the victory.

Oswald began the inning with a single up the middle to begin the inning and Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) kept the inning going when she reached on an error by the RedHawk third baseman Remy Edwards and moved Oswald into scoring position for Sheppard.

Northern Illinois gained momentum from the top of the seventh inning. After a leadoff single by Shanyn McIntyre, Megan Mattera struck out looking on a 3-2 count. McIntyre, who thought it was ball four, strayed too far off the base and Oswald picked her off at first base.

Shelby Miller and Coach Christina Sutcliffe

Shelby Miller and Coach Christina Sutcliffe

After Miami (20-33) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) tied the game with a solo blast over the left centerfield fence.

It was Miller’s fifth homer of the season. She finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.

Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) went the distance, allowing one run scattering seven hits and struck out four.

“Emily did an awesome job of keeping them off balance,” Sutcliffe said. “She threw the right pitch when it counted. That’s been her theme of late. When we need a big pitch out of her, she’s done a good job of coming through.”

The Huskies will face No. 1 seed Ball State in Game 7 of the 2013 MAC Softball Tournament in Akron, Ohio. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. CT and fans can follow all the action live at the 2013 MAC Softball Tournament Central.

For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

Print Friendly