Softball takes two of three over Central Michigan

Khobi Price

DeKALB — The softball team used an offensive explosion to win the season series 2-1 against Central Michigan Friday and Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. 
The Huskies, with a 24-22 overall and 9-8 Mid-American Conference record, scored 25 runs on 39 hits in their three games against the Chippewas. 
Senior infielder Sam Schmidt hit 7-10 with six RBIs in the three contests, including her fifth home run of the season. Senior infielder Abby Howlett went 7-9 at the plate with six RBIs and two runs. 
Sophomore pitcher Mackenzie Bryan picked up her 13th win of the season with a five-inning shutout in the final game of the series.
Friday – Central Michigan 7, NIU 6
The Chippewas opened the scoring for the series with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. NIU responded in the top of the second when Howlett hit an RBI double to center field, bringing in sophomore catcher Kira Mickelson. 
Central Michigan added three more runs in the bottom of the second to go up 5-1. Schmidt hit a solo homer in the top of the third to reduce the Huskies’ deficit to 5-2.
Junior infielder Anne Allen scored off a first-year outfielder Katie Keller RBI double in the fifth before Mickelson brought Keller home with a RBI triple to reduce the Chippewas’ advantage to 5-4.

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Central Michigan added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up 7-4. The Huskies scored twice in the top of the seventh, but they weren’t able to score any more, losing 7-6 in the first game of the series.
Saturday game one – NIU 13, Central Michigan 6
NIU scored early and often in the second game of the series to grab its first win over the Chippewas. 
The Huskies scored their first run of the game in the top of the second when first-year outfielder Kara Apato brought in Mickelson with an RBI single.
NIU used a six-run third inning to go up 7-1. 
Four different NIU players recorded a hit in the third inning, and the Huskies took advantage of Central Michigan’s two errors in the inning to have their largest scoring inning of the game. 
Seven different players tallied a hit in the game, and six recorded at least one RBI in NIU’s 13-6 victory.
“Our offense was tough to beat [Saturday],” NIU coach Christina Sutcliffe said to NIU Athletics. “We did a good job of driving the gaps and capitalizing on some mistakes. All three aspects of our team stepped up when we needed to come out with two wins.”
Saturday game two – NIU 9, Central Michigan 0
The Huskies’ offensive explosion carried into the rubber match of the series.
Mickelson hit a solo home run in the top of the second to give NIU a 1-0 lead. 
The Huskies opened the third inning with six consecutive hits, leading to an eight-hit, seven-run third inning, putting NIU up 8-0. 
Bryan only allowed two hits and one walk en route to a shutout victory in five innings.