Huskies sweep Miami, win fourth straight game

By Eddie Miller, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU softball (13-12, 4-1 MAC) improved to second in the Mid-American Conference standings after sweeping Miami University (14-11, 2-3 MAC) in a doubleheader. The Huskies finished the series undefeated and sparked a four-game win streak along the way. 


A RBI single (runs batted in) and a solo home run helped senior infielder Kelly Walinski lead NIU to a 7-6 win over Miami. The second game of the three-game series came down to the wire with freshman utility player Danielle Stewart closing the game pitching for NIU. 

Junior pitcher Claire Norred started the game for the Huskies and gave up three runs on six hits before being replaced by freshman pitcher Lily Cassell in the bottom of the fifth inning. Cassell gave up two runs on three hits and walked two batters in two innings, leading to Stewart finishing the game for the Huskies. 

Graduate pitcher Brianna Pratt pitched a complete game for the RedHawks. Pratt ended the game with five strikeouts and two batters walked, while giving up seven runs on seven hits.  

Junior outfielder Courtney James scored NIU’s first run in the top of the second inning on an error from Miami graduate catcher Riley Coyne. NIU went up 2-0 after Freshman outfielder Kiley Conner scored on a sacrifice fly ball from junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker. On the next pitch junior outfielder Ellis Erickson scored an unearned run after freshman outfielder Fiona Crane was grounded out. A RBI single from Walinski gave NIU the 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning. 

Miami narrowed the deficit to 4-2 with an RBI from Coyne that brought sophomore infielder Maggie Murphy and junior infielder Karli Spaid home. 

After two scoreless innings from both teams, Miami sophomore infielder Chloe Parks tripled to right center and scored off an RBI single from sophomore outfielder Jenna Golembiewski to narrow NIU’s deficit to 4-3. 

NIU did not score in the top of the fifth inning which led to an RBI single from Coyne which evened the game 4-4. 

The Huskies regained the lead in the top of the sixth inning when Erickson cranked a double to left center to plate two runs. NIU ended the top of the sixth inning with a 6-4 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Golembiewski scored a run on a passed ball to help the RedHawks cut NIU’s lead to 6-5. NIU extended the lead to 7-5 with Walinski rocketing a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning – NIU’s eighth home run this season – sealing the win for the Huskies. 


Three total hits burned the RedHawks in a 7-2 loss to the Huskies in the final game of the series. Seven RBIs from NIU and seven strikeouts for Stewart helped the Huskies finish the weekend with a sweep of the RedHawks.

Stewart pitched her second complete game of the series with an ERA (earned run average) of 1.00 giving up two runs on 107 pitches. Stewart’s two earned runs were both to Golembiewski, the first run coming off a James error in the fifth inning and a solo home run in the seventh inning. 

Miami depended on two pitchers throughout the game with sophomore pitcher Laurelai Depew starting and junior pitcher Taylor Turner stepping to the mound in the fourth inning. In three innings pitched, Depew gave up seven runs and walked two batters. Turner pitched the last four innings and allowed one hit with no runs and one walk.

Freshman utility player Cara Cruthers got the Huskies’ offense started with an RBI single that scored Crane. On the next pitch, senior utility player Sam Mallinder recorded another RBI single to give NIU an early 2-0 lead. The Huskies did not allow a run in the bottom of the first inning. 

In the top of the second inning, Stewart singled to score Conner. With two outs in the inning, Walinski struck an RBI single to send Shumaker home for a 4-0 Huskie lead. 

After three straight strikeouts from Stewart in the bottom of the second inning, NIU pulled away with a 7-0 lead after the third inning. Conner scored off of a throwing error to first base by Spaid and followed by Stewart scoring on a sacrifice groundout from Shumaker. Conner finished the third inning with an RBI single that allowed James to score. 

The Huskies will face Ball State University next in a three-game series. The first matchup is at noon on Tuesday in Muncie, Indiana and live stats will be available on SidearmSports.