The Northern Illinois University softball team split its first two games of the Coach B Classic hosted by Southern Illinois Sunday Afternoon.
The Huskies (6-6) knocked off Butler, 3-2, in their first game, but dropped the nightcap, 3-2, to St. Louis in eight innings.
Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) led the way for the NIU offense in the first game. The junior second baseman went 2-for-3, including her first home run of the season, with three RBIs and a run scored.
Miller put the Huskies on the board early with an RBI single in the first to drive in Allyson Hecht (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) from second.
After Butler tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third, Miller belted a two-run homer to put NIU up 3-1.
“Shelby Miller definitely came up clutch,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “She got in hit to right field to score the first run and she came in with a runner on and hit the ball over the fence. She single-handedly carried us offensively, which was nice to see because she was in a hitting slump last weekend.”
Butler responded with a run in the bottom of the frame, but pitcher Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and the Huskie defense kept the Bulldogs off the board the rest of the way to seal the victory.
Norton improved to 2-3 on the season, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits, three base on balls while striking out five.
Northern Illinois’ game with St. Louis was a pitcher’s duel through seven innings. After the Billikins took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, NIU responded with a run in the sixth, a sacrifice fly by Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) to score Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins).
Neither team was able to plate a run in the seventh and the game was sent into extra innings. With a runner placed on second to start the eight, St. Louis scored a run on a sacrifice fly and one on a sacrifice bunt. NIU answered with a RBI double by Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City), but that would be all the Huskies could get.
The Huskies conclude play in the Coach B Classic today when Northern Illinois takes on host Southern Illinois. First pitch is set for noon CT. 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.