The Northern Illinois University softball team split its Sunday doubleheader with Iowa State at the Cyclone Sports Complex.
NIU (10-12) posted a 15-6 victory in five innings in Game One before falling 6-5 in extra innings in the nightcap.
With the first pitch temperatures below freezing at 24 degrees, the Huskie bats were white hot. NIU tallied six runs in the first, four in the second and three in third before notching a run in fourth and another in the fifth. The Huskies pounded out 14 hits and took advantage of four Cyclone errors in the first contest.
“I think we’re definitely in a rhythm and we’re doing a good job at picking really good pitches,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We were really patient today at the plate and swung at some quality pitches.”
Mid-American Conference Player of the Week Kayti Grable (Santee, Calif./Santana) began the NIU barrage with a one-out two-run homer to left center. Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) singled to center to score Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa).
A Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) double down the left field line to plate a pair of runs and make the score 5-0 Huskies. Kali Kossakowski’s (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) scored on a wild pitch to give NIU a 6-0 advantage and close out the scoring in the top of the first.
After Iowa State (17-10) responded with two runs in the bottom of the first, the Huskies plated four more runs in the top of the second. Back-to-back two-run singles by Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) and Sturm extended NIU’s lead to 10-2.
The Cyclones came back with three runs in the bottom of the frame to make the score 10-5. However, NIU got those runs back with a three spot in the top of the third. Emily Naegele (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) drove in a pair on a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kopp to give the Huskies a 13-5 lead.
A walk-off home run by Aly Cappaert spoiled a Huskie rally in the second game of the doubleheader. After the Cyclones took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth with a three-spot, NIU’s Miller tied the game with a two-run blast down the left field line.
Miller was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a base on balls in Game Two for the Huskies, while Naegele was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s in the second game.
“Shelby continued where she left off last weekend,” Sutcliffe said. “She hit the ball really well and is flowing with confidence. She did a really good job.”
NIU returns to the diamond Wednesday, March 26, when the Huskies play host to Northwestern at The Ballpark at Rosemont. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.