NIU softball: Huskies split doubleheader against Loyola

By Chris Loggins

Softball went 1-1 Wednesday in a doubleheader against the Loyola Ramblers. Expectations of rain briefly threatened completion of the doubleheader, but the games were played in their entirety.

The Huskies (19-15) took the first game against the Ramblers (12-22), 3-1, before a nine-inning second game led to Loyola taking it, 6-5.

“Our offense is still kind of rolling,” said head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We did a good job of scoring a lot of runs and helping our pitchers.”

Game 1

How it happened

The Huskies held the lead for most of the game, which was a pitcher’s duel throughout.

Freshman Keegan Hayes pitched a complete game, giving up only one run in her time. Two RBI-singles in the third inning gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead before they scored another run in the fourth on a third RBI-single. They held the lead throughout the rest of the game.

In the circle

Hayes pitched a complete game for NIU, giving up six hits and one run along with five strikeouts for her 10th win of the season. Madison Hope took the circle for the Ramblers, giving up five hits and three runs along with three strikeouts in six innings of action. It was her 10th loss of the season.

At the plate

Outfielder Caitlyn Warren went 1-1 with one RBI, one run and one walk for the Huskies. Jessica Balzano went 3-3 with the lone run batted in for the Ramblers.

Game 2

What happened

Loyola took a 2-0 lead early with a two-run second inning. The Ramblers held the lead until the fifth inning, when the Huskies put four runs on the board to take a 4-2 lead.

In the seventh inning, Loyola tied the game up at 4-4 after two hits and two costly errors by NIU. The game went into extra innings and remained tied until the Ramblers took the lead in the top of the ninth on two hits and two errors by the Huskies.

In the circle

Freshman Tara Thacker took the circle for the Huskies, pitching six innings and giving up three runs along with two strikeouts. Senior Jessica Sturm pitched the last three innings for NIU, giving up three runs, none of which were earned. Hope earned the win for the Ramblers, giving up only one run in her seventh win of the season.

At the plate

Shortstop Kali Kossakowski and infielder Bryanna Phelan went 3-5 with one run batted in and one run scored for NIU. Catcher Tarran Shaffer went 3-4 with one RBI for the Ramblers.

Up next

The Huskies play a two-game series against the Western Michigan Broncos beginning 1 p.m. Saturday in Kalamazoo, Mich. People should expect “Huskie ball,” Sutcliffe said. “We need to get some long balls going. Count this win.”