Softball splits doubleheader at Iowa State


Joshua Lazenby | Northern Star F

Nicole Gremillion runs to third base May 5 last season against Bowling Green University in DeKalb. Gremillion has started all 20 games in left field for the Huskies this season.

By Frank Gogola

Softball split its Sunday doubleheader against Iowa State in two high-scoring games.

The Huskies (10-12) defeated the Iowa State Cyclones (17-11), 15-6, in five innings, in the first game of the doubleheader Sunday at the Cyclone Sports Complex in Ames, Iowa. They then dropped the second game, 6-5, in extra innings.

Game One

The Huskies jumped on the Cyclones early, sending 10 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning. Freshman first baseman Kayti Grable put the Huskies up 2-0 with a two-run home run to left center field.

The Huskies scored four more runs — all unearned — in the first after senior third baseman Ashley Kopp reached on an error with two outs.

Junior pitcher Jessica Sturm drove in a run with a single to center field. With the bases loaded two batters later, junior right fielder Bryanna Phelan drove two runs with a double down the left field line, chasing Iowa State pitcher Katie Johnson.

Freshman second baseman Kali Kossakowski added the sixth run of the first inning when she scored on a wild pitch.

“[Scoring six runs in the first inning] was huge because we set the tone early, knocking their starting pitcher out,” said head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “Being able to knock her out early in the game makes all the difference in the world.”

The Cyclones got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single.

The Huskies took a 10-2 lead with back-to-back, one-out, two-run singles from Kopp and Sturm in the top of the second inning.

The Cyclones cut the deficit with a three-run home run in the bottom of the second, but the Huskies stretched the lead back to eight with a two-run single from sophomore catcher Emily Naegele and a sacrifice fly RBI from Kopp in the top of the third inning.

Iowa State posted a run on an RBI single in the bottom of the third, but NIU answered when Kossakowski crossed the plate on an error in the top of the fourth, putting the Huskies up 14-6.

The Huskies added a 15th run on a Sturm RBI double in the top of the fifth.

“I think they did a good job of being patient, waiting on pitches,” Sutcliffe said. “They had enough confidence to know they were going to score every inning.”

Game Two

The Cyclones took their first lead of the day on an RBI single following a triple in the bottom of the first. Sturm tied the game for NIU, 1-1, with a solo home run to center field in the top of the second innings.

The Huskies took a 2-1 lead on a Naegele RBI double to right center field in the top of the third. The Cyclones tied the game, 2-2, on an RBI fielder’s choice in the bottom of the fourth.

NIU reclaimed the lead on a Naegele RBI single to center field in the top of the fifth. Iowa State answered back with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning and then took a 5-3 lead on a two-run home run to center field.

Shelby Miller tied the game, 5-5, on a two-run home run down the left field line in the top of the seventh, and the Huskies forced extra innings.

After a scoreless top of the eighth by NIU, Iowa State’s Aly Cappaert hit a walk-off home run to right center field.

“It may have seemed more low scoring because the first game was high scoring, but I would say 6-5 is pretty high scoring,” Sutcliffe said. “It was a long day, and it was just a matter of how many runs you can put on board.”