Stewart’s strikeout parade leads Huskies past Bulls


Tim Dodge

NIU freshman utility player Danielle Stewart (22) reaches for the ball as junior catcher Ellis Erickson (23) passes it to her at home plate during NIU Softball’s home game against Central Michigan University March 31 at Mary M. Bell Field. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

By Zack Rodriguez, Sports Reporter

DeKALB NIU softball (24-24, 13-12 MAC) secured a game three victory over the University at Buffalo (12-35, 6-17 MAC) Sunday at Nan Harvey Field behind freshman pitcher Danielle Stewart’s strong pitching performance.

After winning Games 1 and 3, NIU clinched its third series win of 2023. 

NIU was efficient at the plate, scoring six runs and tallying eight hits without any errors.

Stewart put together a commanding performance, tying a career high nine strikeouts. 

“Dee Dee (Danielle Stewart) was able to just stick to what she’s good at and pitched herself out of some pretty big jams,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe via an NIU Athletic press release. “She had the defense behind her, and we’ve been talking about limiting three bases, and the entire pitching staff was able to do that a lot better this weekend.”

In the top of the first inning, the Huskies scored a run as senior utility player Sam Mallinder hit a ground ball, allowing junior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker to cross home plate.

Shortly after, junior outfielder Courtney James scored to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. The Bulls responded by scoring two runs of their own to even the score at 2-2. 

NIU retook the lead in the top of the second frame when junior outfielder Ellis Erickson blasted her second home run of the season to take the lead back. 

In the moments following Erickson’s home run, senior infielder Kelly Walinski brought Shumaker home with an RBI to make it a two-run lead. 

A dominant performance at the top of the seventh frame clinched game three for the Huskies. Walinski extended NIU’s lead to 6-2 after hitting a home run to score herself and James. 

A strong performance by Stewart and the defense helped NIU cruise to a 6-2 victory. 


NIU will return home for its final home series against Bowling Green State University at 3 p.m. Friday at Mary M. Bell Field. Live stats will be available via Sidearm Sports.