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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Huskies hammer Ball State with home-run frenzy

Softball splits home doubleheader with Ball State
Totus Tuus Keely
Junior middle infielder/outfielder Avery Carnahan hits an RBI single in the third inning of Game 2 on Tuesday. Carnahan drove in three runs on Tuesday as NIU softball split a doubleheader with Ball State University. (Totus Tuus Keely | Northern Star)

DeKALB – The NIU softball team totaled five home runs Tuesday as the Huskies split their home doubleheader against Ball State University at Mary M. Bell Field.

The Huskies (18-31, 9-16 MAC) began the action with a dominant 9-2 victory before falling to the Cardinals (23-26, 10-12 MAC) 11-7.

“Our bats were hot today and we got off to a great offensive start. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to dig ourselves out of a hole in the second game,” said NIU softball head coach Christina Sutcliffe via NIU Athletics. “I’m proud of the fight and effort the team put in today to come back in the second game.”

Junior middle infielder/outfielder Avery Carnahan, junior third baseman/first baseman Madison Mathews and senior infielder Caitlyn Shumaker each finished with three or more RBIs on the day. 

Mathews and Shumaker combined for five hits, including three home runs, to lead NIU’s winning effort. Freshman middle infielder/outfielder Alana Powell also contributed a two-run homer in the win. Senior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson later slammed a 2-RBI dinger in the second game as NIU’s lone homer of the game.

Sophomore pitcher/utility Danielle “Dee Dee” Stewart logged her 10th win of the season from the circle. Stewart recorded four strikeouts and permitted four hits, two runs and five walks before exiting the contest after the sixth inning.

In the second game, NIU’s bullpen trio of sophomore pitcher Lily Cassell, senior pitcher Claire Norred and senior pitcher Emily Dato struggled to slow down Ball State’s hit-happy offense. The three right-handers surrendered a combined 14 hits, two walks and 11 runs to the Cardinals.

NIU opened the first game with four home runs in the first three innings to take a 5-0 lead. Ball State answered with two runs in the top of the fourth before NIU tacked on three more scores in the bottom half.

The Huskies opened Game 2 in the opposite fashion. After two scoreless innings from both sides, Ball State erupted with seven runs in the third inning. NIU quickly responded with a Carnahan RBI but remained the chaser throughout. The Huskies managed to tack on four runs in the fourth and two in the seventh to finish with an 11-7 defeat.

Tuesday’s split moves NIU to a 9-16 record in conference play, 2.5 games back from the sixth and final seed that will advance to the MAC tournament.

The Huskies will close the regular season at home as they host Miami University – No. 25 in the nation. The series begins with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mary M. Bell Field. Streams for each game in the series can be viewed on NIU All-Access. Live statistics will be presented by SIDEARM Sports.

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