Bats heat up, softball team wins 3-of-4

By Roger Moreano

The weather may not have been as warm as predicted this weekend, but the NIU softball team more than made up for it with its hot bats.

NIU suddenly exploded at the plate this weekend, scoring 23 runs during its Saturday doubleheader split with Akron and sweep over Cleveland State Sunday.

In game one on Saturday against Akron, the Huskies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in a first inning that was highlighted by a theft of home plate by Dawn Worden.

NIU added three more runs in their half of the fourth inning to take a 6-0 lead and sealed the victory by adding two more runs in the sixth inning to win 8-0.

NIU registered 10 hits in the game including two apiece from winning pitcher Kristin Vandenhouten (who struck out one and allowed three hits), Mary Borem, and Stacy Paller.

NIU head coach Dee Abrahamson was pleased by her team’s aggressive play in the opener.

“We had some pretty good rips and hit the ball well,” Abrahamson said. “Our aggressive base running took them out of the game early.”

In game two against the Zips, NIU’s bats were suddenly quieted to only four hits and Akron took advantage of some opportunities to post a 4-1 win. Kim Compton took the loss.

“Give Akron a lot credit,” Abrahamson said. “They came right back and took advantage of walks and of the free bases that we gave them.”

On Sunday, the Huskies once again turned on the offensive firepower against a Cleveland State team that was undermanned, especially in the pitching department.

NIU benefited from seven walks and six hits to post a 10-0 win. Compton picked up the win, along with seven strikeouts, and the game was called after the fifth inning due to the lopsided score.

The game was highlighted by a nine-run second inning in which 14 Huskies batted. Ree Zenner scored twice in the inning and NIU had hits by Amy Sharlau, Denise Bloy, Lori Reimer and Dawn Worden in the inning.

Reimer and Bloy had two hits in the game, while Paller walked all three times up.

In game two, Cleveland State kept the game close with fine defensive play, but the Huskies were able to peck away at an early 1-0 lead by the Vikings to take a 2-1 lead after four innings.

NIU would add two more runs in the fifth inning and eventually prevail 4-2. Tracy Meade got the win for the Huskies.

“Almost all of our people played today,” Abrahamson said. “(These games) were a valuable experience for our players.”