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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Softball strikes out in Kalamazoo doubleheader

Tim Dodge
Senior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker is tagged out on a stolen base attempt on March 30 at Mary M. Bell Field. NIU softball was swept in a road doubleheader on Tuesday against Western Michigan University. (Northern Star File Photo)

NIU softball (12-27, 5-12 MAC) was held to one run in a doubleheader sweep by Western Michigan University (22-17, 11-5 MAC) on Tuesday.

The Huskies recorded just 7 hits and were outscored 4-1, losing the season series against the Broncos.


A pitcher’s duel was in full swing in Game 1 as each team recorded just one hit through the top of the sixth.

WMU senior pitcher/infielder Rissa Bajusz – the MAC’s leader in ERA and strikeouts – mowed down the Huskies in a complete game shutout. Bajusz struck out 13 batters, tying the single-game high in the MAC this season, which she set on March 1 at Monmouth University.

“We knew that their pitching was going to be good going into it,” said NIU softball head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “I mean, the kid (Bajusz) was leading the MAC in ERA. I just think we weren’t disciplined in picking the right pitch to swing at. She kept us off-balance with her changeup, for sure.”

In the game’s final frame, Bajusz gave herself the win with a walkoff two-run home run to left field to break the scoreless tie and give the Broncos the 2-0 Game 1 victory.

Sophomore pitcher/utility Danielle Stewart started and finished in the pitcher’s circle for the Huskies, allowing just two baserunners before the critical seventh inning.


Offense came earlier in the second contest of the day. In the second inning, Bronco sophomore catcher Gabbie Evans launched a two-run home run, which proved to be the game-winner.

Senior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson responded in the following frame, giving the Huskies their first run of the day with a solo home run in the top of the third – her seventh blast of the season.

The Huskies had two runners in scoring position in the top of the fifth with one out before back-to-back groundouts by Erickson and junior middle infielder/outfielder Jenna Turner halted the scoring opportunity.

NIU put the leadoff hitter on base in the top of the seventh as freshman middle infielder/outfielder Alana Powell singled to center field. A strikeout caught stealing and a flyout promptly ended the inning and secured the 2-1 Broncos’ win and season series sweep.


The Huskies return to action for the first game of a home doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday to face the University at Buffalo at Mary M. Bell Field. Live streaming will be available on NIU All-Access and live stats will be found on SIDEARM Stats.

“You can’t win 10 games at one time,” Sutcliffe said. “We just need to figure out how to win one game and then go to the next. Going into this weekend, we gotta make sure we’re looking at Saturday from the first inning, and that’s all we’re worried about until the next inning.”

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