The Northern Illinois University softball team split its doubleheader Friday at the Jayhawk Invitational defeating Jackson State and falling to host Kansas.
The Huskie (8-10) offense pounded out 14 hits in their 8-4 win over Jackson State in the first game of the Jayhawk Invitational. However, NIU’s bats were silenced in Game Two as the Huskies fell 10-0 to the host Jayhawks.
Kayti Grable (Santee, Calif./Santana) and Kansas native Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) led the way for the Huskie offense. Grable went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Miller went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
“Kayti had a really good game. She kind of set the tone with all the extra base hits,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “Shelby and Ashley came up with some clutch RBIs as well. We started off a bit slow but got things going and were able to score in multiple innings.”
Pitcher Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) went five innings allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits, while striking out four. Rebecca Rupard (Normal, Ill./Normal West) came in to pitch the last two innings of relief.
“Jess is still trying to work back in her groove after some time off,” Sutcliffe said. “It’s to be expected that she gets hit a little bit, but she was able to settle in and make a pitch when it mattered.”
Sophomore Emily Naegele (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) opened the day’s scoring when she drove in Grable, who reached on a one-out double to give NIU a 1-0 lead in the first inning. NIU tacked on another run in the top of the fourth when Miller scored on a Kali Kossakowski (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) sacrifice fly.
After Jackson State cut the deficit in half, with a run in the bottom of the fourth, the Huskies blew the game wide open with a six-run fifth. With two on and one out, Miller doubled to left to clear the bases and give NIU a 4-1 advantage.
Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) homered to center field and Jordyn Bowen (Libertyville, Ill./Grayslake) singled to drive in a pair and make the score 7-1 Huskies. Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) had an RBI single, driving in Bowen and capping the scoring for NIU.
The second game was all Kansas. The Jayhawks scored three in the second, two in the third and five runs in the bottom of the fourth. NIU tallied two hits in the contest with Gremillion and Miller accounting for the Huskie base hits.
The Huskies return to the diamond today for another doubleheader. NIU faces Jackson State at 1 p.m. before facing Nebraska at 3:30 p.m. Both times are Central. Fans can follow all the action live at kuathletics.com.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.