Softball takes two of final three games at Liberty tournament


Marco Sotelo Avila

Junior Emily Dato pitches during the Huskie’s first game against Bradley University softball in Sept. 2022. This game was a double header, and the team’s fifth game of the fall season. (Marco Sotelo Avila | Northern Star)

By Eddie Miller and Joseph Segreti

Feb. 25

DeKALB – A season-high 13 hits helped NIU softball (2-7) snap its six-game losing streak and split a doubleheader against Elon University (5-8).  


The Huskies won game one by a final score of 7-4, snapping a six-game losing streak. With a home run from freshman utility player Rylie Hartman and an RBI from utility player Danielle Stewart, the Huskies came back from a four-run deficit. 

Elon started strong, jumping out to a 4-0 lead over the Huskies. Sophomore outfielder Kacie Quick put NIU on the board with an RBI (runs batted in) in the second inning. In the third inning, junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker recorded another RBI for the Huskies, narrowing the deficit to two. 

After a scoreless fourth inning, Hartman rocketed her solo home run in the fifth inning. RBIs from senior utility player Sam Mallinder and junior outfielder Courtney James got the Huskies back even in the fifth.

The Huskies sealed the win with an RBI triple from Stewart on her first at bat. This gave the Huskies the 7-4 win after not giving up a run since the second inning and finishing the game with no errors.


Poor pitching led NIU to drop game two after blowing a seven-run lead. Shumaker and Stewart logged two RBIs apiece, but Elon was able to come back, winning 8-7.

The Huskies got off to a quick start. A home run from Stewart and RBIs from Shumaker and Rodriguez helped the Huskies get to a seven-run lead in the fourth inning. 

NIU had seven players record a hit, totaling a season-high 13 hits on the game.. 

Despite the effort, Elon flipped the script on the Huskies halfway through the game. Elon found momentum with a home run in the fourth inning from senior catcher Carley Davis. After a scoreless fifth inning, the Phoenix plated six runs in the sixth and seventh inning combined. 

A single to left-center field by sophomore utility player Allee Seering sealed the 8-7 win for the Phoenix. 

Feb. 26

Strong pitching helped NIU softball close out their weekend series with a 6-1 win against Princeton University (2-3). 

Stewart dazzled in the game, pitching the full seven innings while only allowing one run. Stewart earned the victory, her first at the collegiate level, while also picking up seven strikeouts. Stewart also impressed at the plate, going 1-for-4 with a solo home run in the third inning. 

Stewart held Princeton scoreless until the fifth inning, when Princeton senior Serena Starks doubled and scored junior Cate Bade. This was the only run surrendered in the game against the Huskies. 

Senior Delaney Ostrowski had a big day at the plate for the Huskies, going 3-for-4 and driving in one run. Ostrowski had two extra-base hits, a solo home run in the seventh inning and also picked up a double in the third. 

James led the Huskies with two RBIs (runs batted in) in Sunday’s game. James’ two-run single in the second inning opened the scoring for NIU, and the Huskies didn’t look back. She was also able to reach base in every plate appearance, grabbing two walks in the game. 

Junior Caitlyn Shumaker also drove in a run in the contest, drawing a bases loaded walk in the sixth inning which forced home senior Kelly Wallinski and scored the fifth run of the ballgame. 

“Today speaks volumes for this team – a bounce-back win where all three parts of the game performed well,” NIU softball head coach Christina Sutcliffe said. “Danielle Stewart did an excellent job of keeping their hitters off balance and collecting her first collegiate win in the circle.”

The Huskies’ next game will be a doubleheader against the University of South Carolina – Upstate and the University of Rhode Island at 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday in Tampa, Florida at the USF Softball Stadium.