Dortch sees turning point for softball after weekend performance

By James Cantagallo

NIU Softball went on the road this weekend and won three games versus MAC foes Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

The Huskies (16–20, 4–4 MAC) split their series with the Eagles (15–21, 4–4 MAC) Friday. NIU’s offense was shutdown by the Eagles in game one when they lost 2 0.

The Huskies recovered in game two when they took down Eastern Michigan 4–0. The Huskies were led by freshmen pitcher Megan Dortch who gave up two hits in the complete game shutout, while striking out six.

“We did a great job coming back after we lost the first one,” said NIU coach Lindsay Chouinard. “As a staff, we challenged them to step up their game and they did a good job of doing that.”

NIU then swept its two game series versus Central Michigan (16–16, 3–4 MAC) Saturday and Sunday.

The Huskies won game one 5–1 and once again Dortch was intrical in the victory. Dortch went six-and-one-third innings giving up one run on five hits.

NIU’s offense, which recorded 11 hits in game one versus the Chippewas, was led by Jennifer Barnett, who went 3-fo- 4 with two runs batted in.

The Huskies then won a thriller Sunday. The Chippewas held a 2– lead heading into the seventh, but the Huskies rallied to win the game 4–2.

In the top of the seventh, NIU seniors Carly Norton and Dani Parrish led the Huskies to victory. Norton worked the count and was able to get on base when she was hit by a pitch. Then, with one out, Parrish hit a go-ahead two-run home run to put the Huskies on top.

“That is incredible to see seniors step up like that and to see them come through in a moment when we really needed them,” Chouinard said.

With the three wins over the weekend, NIU is back to .500 in MAC play.

“I think this is a turning point for us,” Dortch said. “We got three-straight wins after the loss to Eastern, and I think this is going to give us great momentum for the rest of the season.”