Huskies split doubleheader with MAC leading Bobcats


Tim Dodge

Senior second baseman Sam Mallinder (18) rounds first base Saturday. Mallinder spoke to her experience in being recruited and playing at NIU, her goals for the team and her education. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

By Eddie Miller, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU softball (19-19, 9-7 MAC) hosted the Ohio University Bobcats (24-18, 14-6 MAC) – the No. 1 ranked MAC softball team – splitting wins in the doubleheader. Strong batting helped the Huskies take game one, but poor pitching plagued NIU in game two.


Efficient batting helped NIU outlast Ohio 4-3 in game one. Senior utility player Sam Mallinder recorded two RBIs on two hits, including a home run in the second inning. 

NIU freshman utility player Danielle Stewart and Ohio sophomore pitcher Skipp Miller each pitched a complete game. Stewart gave up six hits and three runs while walking four batters. Miller gave up four runs on eight hits, walked three batters and struck out three. 

Ohio senior infielder Alexis Dawe put the first run on the board in the first inning with a home run to center field to give Ohio a 1-0 lead. 

In the bottom of the second inning, Mallinder rocketed a home run to left-center field, tying the game 1-1. Freshman outfielder Kiley Conner extended NIU’s lead to 2-1 after reaching home plate on a throwing error by Ohio junior infielder Sydney Grein. 

Mallinder notched her second RBI in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI single, scoring senior infielder Kelly Walinski and giving NIU a 3-1 lead. 

Ohio sophomore outfielder Cici Keidel narrowed the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning with an RBI double that scored Grein. 

In the bottom of the fourth inning, junior outfielder Courtney James laid down a sacrifice bunt to send freshman outfielder Ally Rodriguez to home plate, increasing the Huskies’ lead to 4-2. 

Ohio junior infielder Annalia Paoli responded with an RBI single, scoring sophomore infielder Lauren Yuhas and narrowing NIU’s lead to 4-3.

Stewart finished the game without allowing another run, sealing the 4-3 win. 


Inconsistent pitching led to the Huskies dropping game two against Ohio 8-3. Conner and two Bobcats hit home runs in the second game of the doubleheader. 

Senior pitcher Delaney Ostrowski opened on the mound for the Huskies, but was replaced by junior pitcher Claire Norred in the second inning after giving up four runs on five hits. Norred pitched two innings, giving up four runs on two hits and walking three batters. 

Junior pitcher Emily Dato finished the game, taking over for Norred in the fourth inning. Dato did not give up a run in four innings of work. 

Graduate pitcher Kylie Coffelt got the start for the Bobcats. Coffelt gave up three runs on five hits before getting replaced by freshman pitcher Keegan Moore in the fourth inning. Moore closed the game without giving up a run in three innings pitched. 

In the top of the first inning, Ohio sophomore infielder Emma Hoffner gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead with an RBI single that scored junior outfielder Yasmine Logan. Paoli extended Ohio’s lead to 3-0 after homering to left-center, scoring herself and Hoffner. 

Ohio freshman infielder Shelby Westler added on to the Bobcats lead, logging her solo home run to put Ohio up 4-0. 

Conner put NIU’s first run on the board in the bottom of the second inning, hitting a home run to left-center field. Rodriguez narrowed NIU’s deficit to 4-2 with an RBI that scored freshman utility player Cara Cruthers. 

Paoli extended the Bobcats lead in the top of the fourth inning, reaching home plate after Keidel was walked. On the next pitch with the bases loaded, senior infielder Kaci Branch notched an RBI double to score Westler, Keidel and Grein, which sealed the 8-3 victory. 


NIU will host Ohio again at noon Sunday at Mary M. Bell Field. Live stats will be available on SidearmSports and streaming will be available on NIU All-Access.