Softball sweeps Bowling Green


Junior Nicole Gremillion runs to third base on May 5 to help the team win 4-5 against Bowling Green University.

By Jacob Onak

After a Toledo sweep on Friday, softball was able to get the sweep Sunday against Bowling Green with a close 5-4 victory.

Head coach Christina Sutcliffe thought it was good to have such a close game as the Huskies will go into the MAC tournament as a four seed on Wednesday.

“I think the ability to come back and stay in tight games like this [is important],” Sutcliffe said. “I’m kind of glad this game was tight, put a little pressure on [us] so that we can play under it. The coaching staff knew we had clinched four…during the game I think about second inning, but I want them to be able to play under pressure because from here on out every game is going to be that way and they have to figure that out.”

The Falcons (26-22, 9-13 MAC) were able to get the first run on the board against pitcher Jessica Sturm with a triple from first basemen Paige Berger, who scored after a defensive error.

In the bottom of the first, the Huskies (24-29, 14-8 MAC) loaded the bases with just one out, but after seeing a lot of pitches second basemen Shelby Miller struck out, and Sturm followed with a strikeout of her own.

The Huskies were able to capitalize in the third starting with a single by center fielder Bryanna Phelan and another single by left fielder Nicole Gremillion. Miller singled to drive in Phelan and a big double by Sturm drove in two more. The Huskies ended the inning up 3-1.

Sturm ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth as Falcons catcher Erika Stratton hit a leadoff triple and left fielder Marisa Shook was hit by a pitch. Emily Norton came in to relieve Sturm, striking out her first batter but hitting Shelby Fink to load the bases. With the bases loaded the Falcons’ Adrienne Dick fouled out and Norton came up with a big strikeout to end the inning with NIU still up 3-1.

The Falcons couldn’t be denied in the top of the fifth as they scored three runs of their own to take the 4-3 lead. Hannah Fulk had a leadoff double and was then driven in by a home run from Berger. A single to left field from center fielder Katie Yoho, who then stole second, put runners in scoring position. Chloe Giordano drove Yoho in on a double, and the Falcons ended the inning ahead.

In the bottom of the fifth NIU took one back as Gremillion singled but reached second on a throwing error. Miller then doubled, scoring Gremillion and tying up the game 4-4.

In the bottom of the sixth NIU took the lead. With two outs Phelan singled, and that was followed by a single from Amanda Sheppard, putting runners on first and third. With an intentional walk on Gremillion the bases were loaded for senior first basemen Jennifer Barnett. Barnett came up big as she singled down the left field line to score Phelan. Pinch runner Kristyn Barrett was tagged out rounding third to end the inning.

Shannon Salsburg, Bowling Green head coach, figured the geam would come down to one big play.

“Yeah, you know, tip my cap to Northern,” Salsburg said. “They are a solid team. I thought every time we fought back they put us back and went back on top. I think it was gonna come down to who got the last big hit and they did, so kudos to them. Now we both get to go to the MAC Tournament and see what happens.”

In the seventh things were set up for Norton to be the hero and grab the victory for her team. The Huskies ace didn’t disappoint, as the Falcons’ first batter grounded out and the second fouled out. Norton caught Shook swinging to end the inning and the game.

Sheppard said winning out the weekend is big for the Huskies as they get set for post-season play.

“It’s really important just taking the momentum from this weekend and taking it into the tournament,” Sheppard said. “We would have been happy winning the weekend 3-1, but going away with the sweep is something special, and that’s definitely something to drive our momentum into the tournament.”