The Huskies, who open the tournament with Wright State at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 3, will see familiar faces fellow in-state rivals Southern Illinois Edwardsville (March 3, 2 p.m.), Western Illinois (March 4, 9 a.m.) and Southern Illinois (March 4, 1 p.m.).
“The competition will be good,” NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said. “We’re going to have to bring our best and play our best ball to be successful.”
Northern Illinois (3-5), who has been off for 12 days, has spent the last two weeks working several different areas and even had the opportunity to practice outside.
“We did a lot of small fine tuning things over the last couple weeks,” Chouinard said. “We actually got outside Wednesday, which was really nice to be able to hit and defend the ball outside on the dirt. We just really got back to what we’ve been focused on from the beginning.”
The offense has been the strength of the Huskies through the first two weeks of the season, sporting a team batting average of .307 and an on base percentage of .382. Four players are hitting above .350 and three boast an on-base percentage of over .500.
Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln) has led the offensive surge. Tofft is batting .481 this season, with a .533 on base percentage and an impressive .778 slugging percentage. In eight games this season, Tofft has racked up 13 hits, two home runs and eight runs batted in, all team highs.
Sophomore Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) has also started off on fire, racking up a .462 batting average with an on base percentage of .500 and a slugging percentage of .654.
Fans can follow all the action of NIU’s four games this weekend live via Gametracker.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.