Strong pitching performances propel Huskies in doubleheader sweep


Tim Dodge

NIU junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker (3) points to communicate with a coach before an inning on March 31. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

By Eddie Miller, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU softball (17-17, 8-6 MAC) snapped its three-game losing streak and swept Kent State University (9-23, 4-6 MAC) in a doubleheader. Strong pitching helped the Huskies pull out the win in both games. 


Five strikeouts from freshman utility player Danielle Stewart helped the Huskies defeat Kent State 5-2 in game one. Stewart opened the game by not allowing a run until a pair of home runs by junior catcher Emily Lippe and sophomore utility player Delaney Robeson in the sixth inning.  

Stewart gave up six hits, two runs and walked one batter before being replaced by junior pitcher Claire Norred in the sixth inning. 

Freshman pitcher Macy Irelan pitched a complete game for Kent State. Irelan ended with five strikeouts, giving up five runs and 11 hits. 

Senior utility player Sam Mallinder put NIU on the board in the second inning with an RBI (run batted in) triple. On the next pitch, Mallinder scored on a throwing error from Kent State redshirt senior infielder Alexandria Whitmore, extending NIU’s lead to 2-0. 

NIU went up 3-0 after the second inning thanks to an RBI single by freshman catcher Trinity Jones Estrada, which allowed freshman outfielder Kiley Conner to score. 

In the top of the fifth inning, junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker capitalized on a throwing error by Golden Flashes senior infielder Julia Mazanec. On the following pitch, junior outfielder Courtney James put NIU up 5-0 off an RBI single from senior infielder Kelly Walinski. 

Lippe put the Golden Flashes on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning, rocketing her home run to left center field. On the next pitch, Robeson cracked her home run down the left field line to narrow the Huskies’ lead to 5-2.

Norred closed the game, not allowing a run to seal the Huskies’ victory. 


Strong pitching supported a rough game at the plate, helping NIU beat Kent State 2-1 despite just four hits as a team. Norred started on the mound and pitched the whole game for the Huskies, finishing the game giving up one run on eight hits. 

Redshirt senior pitcher Anilese Kelly got the start for the Golden Flashes. Kelly went on to pitch a full game, giving up two runs on eight hits and four batters walked. 

Mazanec put Kent State on the board in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI single to score freshman infielder Reagan Schultz. 

In the top of the fourth inning, Walinski reached home off a throwing error by Whitmore. Conner capitalized on the Kent State error, rocketing an RBI double to bring in Stewart and seal the 2-1 win for the Huskies.


The Huskies take on Valparaiso University at home at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Mary M. Bell Field. Live stats will be available on SideArm Sports.