The Northern Illinois University softball team suffered a 6-2 setback to Buffalo on Senior Day at Mary M. Bell Field Sunday.
A four-run second inning by Buffalo (25-20, 9-5) jumped proved to be too much to overcome for NIU (20-27, 8-10) as the Huskies dropped the series to the Bulls. For the second-straight day, Buffalo pitcher Tori Speckman kept the Huskie offense at bay, holding NIU to two runs on four hits and five base on balls.
“We just got outhit,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “Yesterday, our defense didn’t help us, but bottom line is we didn’t hit yesterday either. We cleaned things up a little better defensively. I think we had better at bats today, so we did better, just not good enough.”
Senior Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) led the way for the Huskie offense going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Emily Naegele (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) each went 1-for-2 to account for the other two hits.
After getting out of the top of the first unscathed, NIU had a strong scoring opportunity in the bottom of the inning. Gremillion reached on an error by the Buffalo pitcher, Naegele was hit by a pitch with one out and Rebecca Rupard walked with two outs to load the bases for Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South). However, Oswald struck out and the inning was over.
The Bulls made the Huskies pay in the top of the second, plating four runs to take a 4-0 lead. NIU came back with a run in the bottom of the second on a RBI triple by Gremillion to score Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard), who led off the inning with a base on balls.
After Buffalo added two more runs in the top of the seventh, NIU mounted a rally. Sturm led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. After back-to-back Huskie strikeouts, Gremillion hit her second triple, this time to center field, to score Sturm. After Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) walked, Kayti Grable (Santee, Calif./Santana) popped out to end the inning.
The Huskies return to the diamond Tuesday, April 29, when NIU travels to Chicago to take on the Flames of UIC in a single game. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.