Softball team swept by archrival Redbirds

By Jeff Kirik

Illinois State showed the NIU softball team two ways to defeat Wednesday as the nationally-ranked Redbirds swept a doubleheader from the Huskies.

In the first game, the Huskies jumped out to a two-run, first-inning lead only to have ISU come back and post a 4-2 victory. In the second game the opposite occurred. NIU fell behind 2-0 after three innings but could not rally to avoid a 2-1 Redbird win.

The Redbirds, who entered the action ranked 15th in the nation, moved their record to 19-7 on the season, 3-1 against NIU. The Huskies fell to 8-11 and have now lost six of their last seven games.

NIU scored the first runs of the afternoon when it tallied two runs on three hits in the first inning of the opener. Heidi Hutchinson and Amy Veld each drove in a run before the Huskies made an out, but Redbird ace Lori Vogel stopped the flurry and held NIU to two hits for the remainder of the game.

Meanwhile, Huskie pitcher Beth Schrader shut down ISU, facing only nine hitters in the first three innings. NIU Coach Dee Abrahamson said she was encouraged by how her team executed in the twin bill.

“I liked the game,” she said. “I just didn’t like the outcome. Out of all the innings we pitched, we really only had one inning where our pitching didn’t hold up.”

That inning came in the fourth frame of the first game when the Redbirds crossed the plate four times. The key hit came when Vogel hit a two-run double wth two outs to give ISU the lead. That was all the offense Vogel needed as she held on for the win and increased her record to 13-6.

“Their pitcher, Vogel, is a very good hitter, but we thought we could get her out. We were playing her to pull but she hit it into right center,” Abrahamson said.

In the second game, the Huskies were the victims of a one-hitter by Vogel and teammate Lori Wendt.

Shari Edwards started the contest on the mound for NIU and fell behind 2-0 after three innings. However, the Huskies showed signs of life in the fourth when they put together a run on a hit batsman, a walk, a single and a steal of home by Jill Justin.

NIU still had runners on second and third with nobody out, but Vogel, who relieved Wendt in the inning, quickly extinguished the Huskie spark.

“I thought we were in the game all along,” Abrahamson said. “Even though we had only one hit, we had some scoring opportunities.”