Huskies open USF tournament with back-to-back wins

By Ethan Gonzales and Zachary Bertram


DeKALB – The Huskies’ softball team (4-7) opened up play in the University of South Florida tournament with a 1-0 statement win over the previously undefeated South Carolina Upstate University Spartans (15-1). NIU freshman utility player Danielle Stewart silenced the Spartan bats with a complete game shutout in the pitcher’s circle.

Friday’s game was a pitcher’s duel as the two teams combined for eight hits, two of which went for extra bases. 

Stewart was dominant on the mound for NIU, securing her second win of the season. She pitched her second consecutive complete game, giving up just three hits and three walks in seven innings. Stewart’s performance included retiring nine consecutive batters. 

SCU freshman pitcher Maddie Drerup also pitched a complete game, giving up one earned run and striking out seven batters in seven innings. 

The game winning hit came off the bat of junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker – a two out single in the third inning to score senior infielder Kelly Walinski from third base. 

The Spartans’ best chance to score came in the fourth inning, when senior catcher Peyton Darnell hit a one out double. Senior outfielder Carolina Jacquay pinch ran for Darnell, advancing to third base on a groundout. After senior outfielder Summer Johnson drew a walk, Jacquay attempted to steal home, but was thrown out to end the inning. 

Senior utility player Sam Mallinder and Walinski did most of the damage for the Huskies, each recording two hits. Mallinder had the Huskies’ only extra base hit of the game – a double in the top of the seventh inning. 


Multiple two-hit performances from NIU helped the Huskies wallop the University of Rhode Island 12-0 in their second game of a doubleheader in the South Florida Tournament.

Walinski started the scoring for the Huskies in the second inning from an RBI (run batted in) single up the middle, followed by freshman outfielder Ally Rodriguez reaching on a fielding error from a Rhode Island pitcher. Junior center fielder Courtney James and Walinski, who were in scoring position, both came home as a result of the error.

The Huskies scored in every inning except the third inning until the game was called due to the mercy rule in the fifth inning. Rodriguez led NIU with one hit and three RBIs, while junior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson, freshman utility player Rylie Hartman and Walinski all recorded two RBIs each.

Erickson and freshman utility player Cara Cruthers both doubled in the fourth inning to bring in runs. Rodriguez doubled in the fifth inning to bring home her third RBI.

NIU tallied 12 hits as a team against Rhode Island. Four Huskies recorded two hits each, including a perfect 2-for-2 day from Walinski.

Freshman utility player Emma Giese pitched just one inning for the Huskies and gave up two hits and no earned runs before she was relieved by junior pitcher Claire Norred. Norred gave up two hits, one walk, two strikeouts and no earned runs in four innings of work.