The Northern Illinois University softball team scored a pair of victories Tuesday, defeating Canisius and Florida Gulf Coast, at the FGCU Softball Complex.
Trailing 3-2 heading into the top of the seventh, the Huskies (9-9) rallied to score a pair of runs to post a 4-3 victory over the host Eagles (14-14). Amanda Sheppard’s (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) one out double scored Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) to tie the game, 3-3 and Stephanie Tofft’s (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln) single drove in the go-ahead run.
Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) opened the scoring when she blasted her third homer of the season, a two-run shot, over the right field fence to give NIU a 2-0 advantage in the top of the third. The lead was short lived as FGCU tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a two-run home run of its own.
Sheppard went 2-for-2 with an RBI to lead the NIU offense, while Gremillion was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Megan Dortch (Reno, Nev./Bishop Manogue) picked up the win, going seven innings, allowing three runs on two hits and nine walks and striking out a career-high 13.
Gremillion led the way for the Huskies in their 12-4 victory over Canisius, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and run scored from the leadoff spot. Tofft and Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) turned in multiple RBI performances as Tofft went 2-for-3 with a game-high three RBIs and two runs scored, while Miller went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Northern Illinois took a 3-0 lead with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Canisius (4-11) responded with a run in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Huskie lead to 3-1. The NIU offense exploded with nine runs in the top of the seventh to take a 12-1 lead.
Kopp led off the top of the seventh with her first career triple. Six more Huskies reached base safely and five runs scored before the Golden Griffins recorded the first out of the inning. Tofft recorded her three RBIs in the nine-run inning, knocking in two with a single up the middle and driving in a third on hit by pitch. Gremillion was 2-for-2 in the inning with an RBI and a run scored.
Jessica Strum (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) improved to 2-1 on the season, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out six in seven innings of work.
“These were two really good team wins,” NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said. “Obviously, Nicole Gremillion did a great job for us in the leadoff spot. Both our pitchers did a good job and our defense played great.”
NIU returns to the diamond today when the Huskies travel to Orlando for a doubleheader. Northern Illinois faces Iona at 12:30 p.m. and Central Florida at 3 p.m.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.