Huskies cough up late lead in loss to Kent State

By Zachary Bertram, Senior Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU softball (15-17, 6-6 MAC) dropped its third consecutive game Friday, falling to the Kent State University Golden Flashes (9-21, 4-4 MAC) by a final score of 9-4. After the Huskies held a 4-3 lead entering the fifth inning, the Golden Flashes scored the final six runs of the game to complete the comeback victory. 

“We didn’t execute our game today,” said NIU softball head coach Christina Sutcliffe via NIU Athletics. “We just need to come out tomorrow, like the team we know we can be, and bounce back.”

NIU senior infielder Kelly Walinski had a strong day at the plate – going 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs (runs batted in). Kent State freshman infielder Reagan Schultz led the way for the Golden Flashes – going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored.

Kent State redshirt senior pitcher Anilese Kelly pitched a complete game for the Golden Flashes. Kelly allowed four earned runs on five hits to earn the win. NIU freshman pitcher Lily Cassell suffered the loss – allowing three earned runs on four hits in just one inning of work. 

NIU started the scoring early with one run in the top of the first inning. Walinski notched an RBI single to score junior outfielder Courtney James and give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. 

Kent State junior catcher Emily Lippe hit a two-run home run and sophomore utility player Delaney Robeson hit a solo home run to take a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning.

The Huskies answered right away with three runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning. Walinski hit a solo home run to cut the lead to 3-2. After an RBI single from freshman outfielder Kiley Conner tied the score at 3-3, NIU took the lead on an RBI single from freshman utility player Cara Cruthers at 4-3. 

Kent State jumped back in front with a four run bottom of the fifth inning. Highlighted by a go-ahead two-RBI single from Schultz to give the Golden Flashes a 6-4 lead, Kent State added one more run to take a 7-4 lead into the sixth inning. 

The Golden Flashes added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning from a two-RBI single from senior utility player Morgan Bowers to take a 9-4 lead into the final inning. 

In the top of the seventh inning, Kelly retired the Huskies in order and secured the 9-4 win for Kent State. 


The Huskies’ next game will be against Kent State University at noon Saturday at BW Softball Field in Berea, Ohio. Live stats will be available via SideArm Stats.