Softball swept by Central Michigan in doubleheader


Mingda Wu

NIU softball huddles up before the first game of a doubleheader against Central Michigan University on Sunday. The Huskies were swept by the Chippewas by scores of 5-3 and 13-2. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

By Joseph Segreti, Senior Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU softball’s slow offensive showing caused it to drop both games of Sunday’s series finale doubleheader against the Central Michigan University Chippewas. 


NIU suffered a close extra innings loss in the first game of their Sunday doubleheader, falling by a score of 5-3 in nine innings. 

Central Michigan’s starting pitcher for the game, junior pitcher Grace Lehto, pitched the full nine innings for the Chippewas. Lehto earned the win while also tallying 10 strikeouts and only allowing three runs on nine hits. 

Junior pitcher Claire Norred started for NIU, tallying 3.2 innings pitched while giving up two runs on five hits while striking out three batters. 

Norred worked out of an early jam in the first inning, as the first two hitters of the game reached base. An acrobatic catch by senior infielder Kelly Walinski got the first out and a throw to senior utility player Sam Mallinder ended the first-inning threat. 

NIU’s offense got off to a slow start in the contest, as the Huskies didn’t pick up their first hit until the fourth inning. 

The Huskies tied the game at two on a double by Mallinder in the fourth inning. The score stayed locked at two until the ninth inning. 

NIU had an opportunity to walk off the Chippewas in the bottom of the seventh inning with two runners on second and third with only one out. After junior outfielder Courtney James struck out, junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. The Huskies’ rally ended without a run being scored after senior infielder Izzy Shafer struck out to send the game to extra innings. 

Junior pitcher Emily Dato worked three innings of relief, giving up two runs on three hits while surrendering four walks. Freshman utility player Danielle Stewart suffered the loss after she came into the ninth inning and allowed two inherited runners to score. 

NIU scored one run in the ninth inning on an RBI (run batted in) double by James. The Huskies tried to make a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning, but left two runners stranded to end the game. 


The Huskies’ second game of their doubleheader was cut short due to the run rule, as they fell to Central Michigan by a score of 13-2. 

NIU’s starting pitcher, freshman pitcher Lily Cassell, lasted only 2.1 innings before being pulled from the game. She allowed six earned runs, seven total, and eight hits with two strikeouts. 

Norred and freshman outfielder Kiley Conner pitched in relief of Cassel. Norred only totaled 0.2 innings and gave up four runs. Connor lasted two innings, giving up two runs on four hits. 

CMU’s big inning came in the fourth as it tacked on six runs to its already sizable 7-1 lead, ballooning their lead to 13-1.

NIU’s first run of the game came on a solo home run in the second inning by Mallinder, which at the time made the score 4-1. The Huskies tacked on their only other run in the fifth inning off a sacrifice fly by senior infielder Izzy Smith, scoring James.


NIU’s next contest is at 2 p.m. Friday in Kent, Ohio against the Kent State University Golden Flashes at the Diamond at Dix. Live stats will be available via SIDEARM Sports.