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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Softball sweeps Valparaiso in doubleheader

Totus Tuus Keely
Sophomore pitcher/utility Danielle Stewart (left) and senior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson (right) jump up for a high five during pre-game on April 12. NIU softball won both games of a doubleheader on Wednesday against Valparaiso University. (Northern Star File Photo)

NIU softball (15-29, 6-14 MAC) crushed Valparaiso University (8-34, 2-15 MVC), outscoring the Beacons 13-2 in a doubleheader sweep Wednesday.

Wednesday’s pair of wins marked the first sweep of any kind for the Huskies this season.

Three Huskie pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts, giving up only one earned run in the process.

“It is nice to see all three parts of our game show up for two games in a row,” said NIU softball head coach Christina Sutcliffe via NIU Athletics. “We have struggled to do that in back-to-back games, so to do that late in the season is good to see and its great preparation going into Bowling Green.”


Sophomore pitcher/utility Danielle Stewart came out hot from the circle, striking out the side in order in the bottom of the first inning. Stewart was pulled after three innings with no hits allowed and six strikeouts.

Senior pitcher Claire Norred entered in relief of Stewart and earned the win after four innings of work, allowing four hits, two runs and striking out five.

Senior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker provided the game’s first run in the third inning, driving in junior middle infielder/outfielder Jenna Turner with a two-out single.

The floodgates opened for NIU’s offense in the fifth frame as three runs came around to score without a Huskie hit. Four straight walks brought in the first run, followed by a hit by pitch and a groundout.

Senior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson added the Huskies’ final run of Game 1 with an RBI single in the top of the seventh.

Valparaiso finally found the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out single and throwing error, but Norred quickly shut the door to seal a 5-2 Huskie victory.


Senior pitcher Emily Dato continued NIU’s dominant day from the circle, pitching a complete game shutout with five strikeouts and six hits allowed.

Shumaker once again provided an early offensive spark for the Huskies, belting a three-run home run in the top of the first – her fifth of the season.

The Huskies tacked on insurance runs in the second, third and fifth innings to bring the score to 6-0 before junior third baseman/first baseman Madison Mathews blasted a capstone two-run home run.

After allowing a single to open the bottom of the sixth, Dato struck out the next batter, setting up a game-ending double play as the Huskies won by mercy rule.


The Huskies continue the road trip with a three-game series against Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, starting at 2 p.m. CT Friday. Live streaming will be available on ESPN+ and live stats will be found on SIDEARM Stats.

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