The Northern Illinois University softball team rallied in its last at bat to pull off the come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Central Michigan at Margo Jonker Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Trailing 2-1, heading into the top of the seventh, the Huskie (16-20, 4-4) offense erupted with a three-run inning.
With one on and one out, senior Dani Parrish (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) hit a two-run homer to right field to give NIU a 3-2 lead. Three batters later, with runners at first and second, Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) singled to center to score an insurance run to give the Huskies a 4-2 lead.
“It was great to see the seniors step up today,” said NIU head Lindsay Chouinard. “Carly [Norton] led off the top of the seventh inning and ended up getting on base, working the count and getting hit by a pitch. Then Dani hit the two-run homer to put us back in the game.
“The pitchers did a great job today. Jess Sturm gave up one earned run today and Megan came in and got the save. You have to be happy with the way they performed today.”
Megan Dortch (Reno, Nev./Bishop Manogue) came in in relief for starter Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard), who went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, to pitch bottom of the seventh. Dortch picked up the save, holding Central Michigan (16-16, 3-4) scoreless and securing the victory for Sturm (5-6) and NIU.
The Northern Illinois offense tallied nine hits on the day with Parrish leading the way with a perfect 2-for-2 afternoon with two RBIs and a run scored. Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) was 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Barnett was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
NIU’s victory Sunday was the third straight for the Huskies and wrapped up a 3-1 road trip and leveling their conference record to 4-4.
“This was a big weekend for us,” Chouinard said. “These two games against Central were really important for how we’re going to progress this season. The team did a good job of stepping up to the challenge. We asked that of them and we challenged them to play with more urgency and they found a way to get it done.”
The Huskies return to the diamond Tuesday, April 10, when NIU welcomes DePaul to Mary M. Bell Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. Central Time. 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.