Naegele sets new home run record


Senior catcher Emily Naegele looks at the first base coach between pitches.

By Christopher Loggins

Softball senior catcher Emily Naegele was named MAC West Player of the Week on Monday for the fourth time this season after a weekend in which she helped the Huskies go 1-1 against Kent State University.

Naegele hit four home runs last week, hitting for a .400 batting average and a 1.600 slugging percentage. Her hot hitting led to her being walked intentionally three times in the series finale against Kent State on Sunday.

The senior reached base nine times over the week for a .600 on-base percentage, driving in three runs in three games for nine RBIs. Her honor comes after a week in which junior first baseman Kayti Grable and freshman pitcher Alex Frenz won MAC West Player of the Week and MAC West Pitcher of the Week, respectively.

Naegele continued her stellar play following the announcement of the award, blasting her 16th home run of the season Tuesday in a double header against Ball State University — a new NIU single-season record. She achieved the feat in just 35 games, putting her on pace to challenge the mid-20 range of home runs by season’s end.

The previous single-season record was held by Grable, who set the record with 15 last season. Naegele and Grable are now tied for the career all-time lead for home runs with the Huskies at 28 apiece, both accomplishing the feat in less than four years.

The Huskies swept Ball State University in the double header Tuesday, winning the first game 10-0 and the second 5-4. Frenz won both games for NIU on the day, allowing just one run and three hits in nine innings of work.

“She was about two inches away from a perfect game,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe, according to an NIU Athletics news release. “Anytime you have that performance off a pitcher, that’s a great job. [Ball State] did an awesome job in the second game of putting the ball in play. They did a really good job of making adjustments. We were just able to hold on.”

NIU remains the top team in the MAC, three games ahead of Miami University, the next top team in the conference. It is also well ahead of Western Michigan University, the second best team in the West, who has a record of 14-17. NIU has the second-best conference record behind Miami at 6-2.

The Huskies will be back in the field this weekend as they take on the University of Akron in a three-game series. Game one will begin at 2 p.m. Friday in Akron, Ohio.