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Softball defeats UT-Martin, 7-5

February 12, 2012

NIU Huskies softballThe Northern Illinois University softball team split its two games on the second day at the 2012 Lion Softball Classic hosted by Southeastern Louisiana Saturday.

After suffering a 10-2 loss to Troy in the first game of the day, the Huskies (3-1) came back to post a 7-5 victory over Tennessee-Martin in Game Two.

Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) led the way for the Huskies in the victory over the Skyhawks. The sophomore went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.

“Shelby did a great job from the plate in the second game,” NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said. “She hit her first home run of the season.”

After falling behind 1-0 through the first two innings, freshman Emily Woller (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper) belted a two-out, two-run homer, her first career home run, to put the Huskies up 2-1. However, UT-Martin tied the game at 2-2 with a run in the third. Miller broke the tie with a lead-off homer in the fourth, but again, the Skyhawks tied the contest with a run in the top of the fifth.

Northern responded with a three-run fifth inning to take a 6-3 advantage. Pitcher Megan Dortch (Reno, Nev./Bishop Manogue) and the NIU defense held UT-Martin scoreless in the top of the sixth and the Huskies extended their lead to 7-3 on a Skyhawk error in the bottom of the frame.

“We’ve been fighting. It’s been really nice to see,” she said of the team’s resiliency in the first four games of the season. “We’ve been coming from behind and showing our character.”

UT-Martin cut the deficit to two with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh, but that would be as close as they would get.

The Huskie offense pounded out 12 hits against the Skyhawks with Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln) going a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Woller was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. The top of the order was particularly effective with the first three batters accounting for seven hits and three runs scored.

Dortch picked up the victory, allowing five runs, two earned on six hits and one base on balls. The freshman also struck out 11 batters. That’s the most strike outs by a Huskie pitcher since Morgan Bittern sat down 10 versus Colorado State, Mar. 5, 2011.

Carly Norton

Carly Norton

In the first game of the day, a seven-run second inning by Troy proved too much to overcome. After falling behind 9-0 in the fifth inning, NIU put up two runs on the board courtesy of a Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) homer and a RBI double by senior Carly Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest).

Northern Illinois concludes play at the Lion Softball Classic today against host Southeastern Louisiana. First pitch is set for 9 a.m. For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit