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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Stewart pushes NIU softball over Toledo

Totus Tuus Keely
Sophomore pitcher/utility Danielle Stewart (22) starts her pitching windup at Mary M. Bell Field on Friday. Stewart earned the win, pitching a complete game and recording a home run and a triple at the plate as NIU softball defeated the University of Toledo 8-3. (Totus Tuus Keely | Northern Star)

DeKALB – A multifaceted performance from sophomore pitcher/utility Danielle Stewart propelled NIU softball (11-24, 4-9 MAC) to an 8-3 win over the University of Toledo (18-15, 9-4 MAC) on Friday.

Following a grand slam in a 5-3 win Wednesday, Stewart opened the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning – her fourth home run of the season.

“She’s been pretty locked in offensively and just barreling off a lot of balls,” said NIU softball head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “She had the grand slam earlier this week, and now she followed up with a great game today.”

Stewart added a triple in the third inning, finishing her day at the plate 2-for-3 with two runs.

After driving in the first run of the day, Stewart saw some struggles in the pitcher’s circle, surrendering two solo home runs to bring the score to 2-1 in favor of the Rockets.

“Usually, if I’m having success hitting and then I get off the field, I have to calm myself down because I have too much excitement,” Stewart said. “I prefer to be calm when I’m in the circle because too much adrenaline gets me too amped up.”

The Frankfort, Illinois, native quickly calmed down in the circle, pitching a complete game and allowing just three runs on five hits.


Immediately after Toledo’s twin home runs in the top of the third, the Huskies struck back with five runs in the bottom half of the inning. 

Senior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker initiated the third-frame scoring party, belting a three-run home run to left field to claim a 4-2 lead for NIU.

“I was looking for something inside that I could drive, and that’s just the outcome that happened,” Shumaker said. “I wasn’t looking for a home run. I was just looking for a pitch to drive.”

Junior middle infielder/outfielder Avery Carnahan continued the offensive trend, driving a two-run double into center field to extend the lead to four runs at the end of the third inning.

The final insurance runs came in the fourth inning on the Huskies’ third home run of the day as junior third baseman/first baseman Madison Mathews sent one over the right field wall.


A clean defensive outing helped prevent a comeback, as the Huskies did not record a single error in the field.

“That’s two games in a row with no errors,” Sutcliffe said. “That was kind of our nemesis in the first game against Bradley (University). We’ve mixed up the defense a little bit, and it seems to be working right now. So, we’ll ride it until we need to mix it up again.”

NIU leads the MAC in fielding errors with 55.


The Huskies continue the series with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mary M. Bell Field. Live streaming will be available at NIU All-Access and live stats will be found on SIDEARM Stats.

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