Softball splits doubleheader in final day of Saint Louis tournament

By Zachary Bertram, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU softball (9-10) wrapped up play in the Saint Louis tournament Sunday with an 8-7 win over Bradley University (7-14) and a 4-1 loss to Saint Louis University (6-14). NIU finished the tournament with a 3-1 record. 


Led by a fifth inning game-tying grand slam from junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker, the Huskies made a late-game comeback to defeat Bradley 8-7. Despite not leading until the fifth inning, being out-hit 10-9 and committing six errors, NIU extended its win streak to four. 

Freshman pitcher Danielle Stewart got the start for the Huskies, while sophomore pitcher Abbott Badgley started in the pitcher’s circle for the Braves. Freshman pitcher Lily Cassell picked up her first win of the season for NIU, while Badgley suffered the loss for Bradley. 

Bradley freshman infielder Ashley Breeding began the scoring in the top of the second with an RBI (runs batted in) single to score freshman utility player Kierston McCoy. NIU responded in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a throwing error from Badgley which allowed freshman outfielder Brianna Pechman to score, tying the game at 1-1.

The Braves regained the lead in the third inning with a two RBI single from freshman utility player Austin Comstock, giving Bradley a 3-1 advantage. Comstock later came around to score on a throwing error, helping Bradley take a 4-1 lead. The Braves took a 5-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning after an RBI double from sophomore outfielder Angela Cirone. 

The Huskies answered with a seven run bottom of the fifth inning. NIU loaded the bases for Shumaker, who launched a game-tying grand slam off Badgley to even the score at 5-5. Senior pitcher Delaney Ostrowski doubled to score senior utility player Sam Mallinder, giving the Huskies their first lead of the game at 6-5. Sophomore utility player Madison Matthews continued the rally for NIU with a pinch-hit RBI single to score Ostrowski, putting the Huskies up two. A fielding error from Bradley graduate utility player Grace French capped off the scoring in the inning for NIU, giving the Huskies an 8-5 advantage. 

Bradley came back with two runs in the top of the seventh inning. A fielding error from senior shortstop Kelly Walinski allowed French to score and cut the deficit to 8-6. Junior catcher Jordy van der Werf singled to score Badgley, making it an 8-7 ballgame. With the tying run on second base and the go-ahead run at the plate, junior pitcher Claire Norred earned the save by striking out the final two batters, sealing the 8-7 win for the Huskies. 


NIU saw its four-game win streak come to an end in game two with a 4-1 loss to Saint Louis. Graduate pitcher Chloe Wendling was dominant, pitching a complete game for the Billikens and giving up just one earned run.

Wendling gave up eight hits, struck out six batters and issued just one walk. Norred started and suffered the loss for NIU, giving up four earned runs on four hits in five innings pitched. 

Despite out-hitting the Billikens 8-4, the Huskies went just 2-for-12 with runners on and 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Saint Louis got the scoring started in the bottom of the third with an RBI single from sophomore utility player Jane Kaniecki to score graduate outfielder Gabbie Kowalik and take a 1-0 lead. 

Junior outfielder Courtney James tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth with an RBI double to score sophomore right fielder Kacie Quick.

The Billikens responded with three runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Kaniecki notched her second RBI – a groundout to score junior infielder Jocelyn Abbott – to give Saint Louis a 2-1 lead. Graduate catcher Kelsey Etling followed with a two RBI single to score Kowalik and freshman infielder Chloe Rhine to extend the Billiken lead to 4-1.

Wendling retired six of the last eight batters she faced over the last two innings, sealing the 4-1 win for Saint Louis. 

The Huskies will stay in Missouri for their next game against Lindenwood University at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Live stats will be available via SideArmStats.