The Huskies (11-16, 1-3) rallied in the first game, but came up short, 10-9, before falling 9-0 in five innings to Toledo in the nightcap.
The big inning proved to be the nemesis for NIU as the Rockets (11-19, 3-1) tallied four innings of four-plus runs scored in 11 total innings on the day. In game one, Toledo put up a four spot in the bottom of the second and six in the bottom of the fifth, while in the second contest, a four-run second and four-run fourth by the Rockets proved to be too much to overcome.
“Two innings in the first game beat us, a four-run inning and six-run inning,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We went into the second game with the goal of not allowing the big inning. Obviously that didn’t work.”
The day started out promising for the Huskies as NIU took a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the first game. Despite being down 4-1 after the second, the Huskies chipped away at the Toledo lead with two runs in the third, a run in the fourth and another in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Back-to-back one-out homers by Celeste Fidge and Sammy Emery began Toledo offensive outburst. A two-run single by Jessica Lemieux and a two-run double by Leigh Nebendahl gave the Rockets a 10-5 lead.
However, NIU, which was the away team for all four games at its home park this weekend, would not go away quietly, mounting a rally in the top of the seventh. The Huskies capitalized on a pair of Rockets errors to score four runs. Unfortunately for NIU, that wouldn’t be enough as Toledo came away with the win.
Freshmen Kayti Grable (Santee, Calif./Santana) led the way for the NIU offense going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) also contributed to the Huskie cause going 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Game two was all Toledo as the Rockets scored nine runs on 12 hits, while holding the Huskie offense to one hit, a Sturm single to left center field.
The Huskies return to action Wednesday when NIU takes on North Dakota at Mary M. Bell Field. First pitch is scheduled 2 p.m. For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.