The Northern Illinois University softball team suffered a 5-0 loss to Illinois State in the Huskies’ home opener at Mary M. Bell Field Tuesday.
The Northern Illinois (12-14) offense pounded out eight hits, but lacked the timely hit, as it stranded eight runners.
After falling behind 1-0 on a leadoff homer by Jhavon Hamilton in the first inning, freshman Megan Dortch (Reno, Nev./Bishop Manogue) loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batter. Dortch pitched out of the jam to leave the bases loaded.
“Inability to execute in all facets, we just weren’t there today,” NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said.
NIU had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases after two outs. Unfortunately, Carly Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) grounded out to the pitcher and ended the threat.
The Huskies had another chance to tie the game in the bottom of the second with runners at first and third with two outs. Again, a groundout to the pitcher, this time off the bat of Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln), ended the inning.
Illinois State (19-13) would add a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to put the game out of reach. While the Redbirds did score five runs on the day, they also struggled with the timely hit, stranding 12 runners.
The play of the game came in the top of the third.
With a run in and the bases loaded, ISU’s Lindsey Greene hit into a triple play. First baseman Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) made an incredible leading grab to record the first out. She then fired it to Norton, who tagged the runner trying to score from third, then threw to the shortstop to get the runner staying from second base.
“The triple play was great,” Chouinard said. “It’s nice to see upperclassmen step up and make big plays and pick up their young pitchers. It should have been a great momentum shifter for us, but it wasn’t.”
NIU returns to the diamond and the road Wednesday, March 28, when the Huskies travel to Chicago to face Loyola in a doubleheader. First pitch for Game One is set for 3 p.m. Fans can follow all the action live, via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.