The Northern Illinois University softball team completed the sweep of Ohio with a 3-2 victory Sunday over the Bobcats at Mary M. Bell Field.
Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) turned in a stellar pitching performance for Northern Illinois (20-28, 10-8), allowing one run on one hit, a solo home run in the first inning, and striking out three in five innings of work. Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) picked up the save, allowing one run on one hit in two innings of work.
“Jessica came in and did a good job settling in,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe.
“I just wanted Emily to give them a fresh look toward the end there because we were going through the line up for the third time. I wanted to give them something different to keep their power hitters off balance. I’m glad it worked out.”
Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncali) went 2-for-2 with an RBI. The senior first baseman went 8-for-10, including a double and home run, with five RBIs and a run scored in four games this weekend.
“JB continues to be steady,” Sutcliffe said of Barnett’s play this weekend. “She’s going out with a bang in her senior year. She prides herself in her offense and I’m glad to see her doing well down the stretch.”
Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) and Sturm each went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Bobcats (24-25, 7-11) took the early lead with a solo home run in the top of the first. NIU responded with a solo home run in the bottom of the frame by Gremillion. Northern Illinois took the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the third.
With runners at the corners with two outs, Barnett singled to right field to drive in Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) from third. Sturm helped her own cause with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, to score pinch runner Kristyn Barrett (Monticello, Ill./Monticello) from third to make the score 3-1. It would prove to be a big insurance run as the Bobcats scored a run in the top of the sixth.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.