The Northern Illinois University softball team suffered a pair of losses on the first day of the Mustang Classic Friday at Bob Jenssen Field.
The Huskies (6-9) dropped the tournament opener, 8-3, to Nevada and fell to host Cal Poly, 6-3, in the nightcap. In both games, Northern Illinois had an early lead, but was unable to hold on.
After falling behind, 1-0, after the top of the first to the Wolfpack, NIU scored a pair in the bottom of the inning. A Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncali) single to left center drove in Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) and Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins).
Unfortunately for Northern Illinois, Nevada responded with seven unanswered runs to take an 8-2 lead. An RBI single by Miller in the bottom of the sixth, but that would be all the offense NIU could muster.
NIU got off to a great start in the second game of the day, jumping out to a 3-0 first inning lead.
With the bases loaded and one out, Barnett reached on a fielder’s choice to drive in Gremillion from third, but erased Phelan who was forced on the play. With two on and two outs, Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) doubled to left center to clear the bases and give NIU a 3-0 lead.
However, Cal Poly would not go away.
The Mustangs put pressure on the defense and capitalized on some Huskie errors, scoring two runs on two hits and an error in the fourth and four runs on two hits and an error in the bottom of the sixth.
“We need to be a little crisper on defense,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We’ve got to figure out a way to make a play when we need to to stay out of the big inning defensively.”
The Huskies return to the diamond today when NIU takes on Rutgers and Sacramento State in Day Two of the Mustang Classic hosted by Cal Poly. First pitch for the Rutgers’ game is set for 11 a.m., while the Huskies face Sacramento State at 9 p.m. Both times are Central Time.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.