Softball extends winning streak to four


The Huskies throw out a runner at first base in their 9-1 home win Friday against Buffalo. NIU has won four consecutive games.  

By Khobi Price

DeKALB — The softball team completed its three-game sweep of the University of Buffalo Bulls Saturday with a 7-5 victory in an offensive dual at Mary M. Bell Field.

The Huskies (13-20, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) tallied double digit hits and scored seven or more runs for their fourth consecutive game. The win marked the team’s first conference sweep of the season.

“They’re doing a nice job of swinging the bats,” said Head Coach Christina Sutcliffe. “They’re kind of being patient but aggressive at the same time.”

Junior shortstop Sam Schmidt recorded the first hit of the game with a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the first inning. The hit marked Schmidt’s first home run of the season. Schmidt hit a single in the sixth inning to record her second hit of the contest, her sixth consecutive game with at least two hits.

“Not trying to hit home runs or anything like that, but just put the ball in play,” Schmidt said. “That’s what I was trying to do today.”

The Bulls took their first lead of the contest when they scored three runs in the top of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. NIU responded in the bottom of the third inning when junior outfielder Jenny Van Geertry smacked a home run to center field to reduce the deficit to one run.

Buffalo extended its lead to two runs with an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning. The Huskies regained the lead with three runs in the bottom of fourth, their largest scoring inning of the game.

Sophomore infielder Anne Allen scored off an RBI double from junior outfielder Katie Lamich. Van Geertry tallied her second RBI of the game with a triple following Lamich’s at bat. Van Geertry scored off an error from the Bulls to give the Huskies a 5-4 advantage.

{{tncms-inline account=”Tom_Burton__” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Not sure about pitching to <a href="">@jennyvan24_10</a> with runners in scoring position…she'll probably knock them in. <a href="">@NIUSoftball</a> takes a 5-4 lead.</p>— Tom Burton (@Tom_Burton__) <a href="">March 31, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”980159763291037696″ type=”twitter”}}

The Bulls scored a run for the third consecutive inning off an RBI single in the top fifth to tie the contest at 5-5.

NIU retaliated in the bottom of the fifth inning when senior catcher Bekah Harnish scored off an Allen RBI double. Lamich hit an RBI single to bring Allen home and give the Huskies a 7-5 lead.

NIU did not allow a run for the remainder of the contest. Junior pitcher Alex Frenz recorded the win after she came in relief for senior pitcher Tara Thacker with one out in the top of the third inning. Frenz only allowed two runs through 3.2 innings pitched.

“I really like relief, I really enjoy it,” Frenz said. “It’s kind of relaxing. It’s my first year of pitching relief, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far.”

NIU will return to action against the Ball State University Cardinals 12 p.m. Tuesday in Muncie, Indiana.

“We’re really confident right now,” Schmidt said. “We’re on a four-game win streak, and I think we’re really going to use that moving forward.”