Playing its final home game of the season wasn’t the only incentive that propelled the NIU softball team Friday.
North Star Conference foe Wisconsin-Green Bay provided the opposition and the Huskies knew NSC foes Illinois-Chicago and DePaul were right around the corner.
So, as they have done all season long, the Huskies stepped up their game for a much-obliged doubleheader sweep over the Phoenix.
The 25-20-2, 8-2 Huskies used a six-run sixth inning as insurance to take an 8-1 lead.
The inning was highlighted by two RBI’s from Denise Bloy and one each from Kristin Vandenhouten, Lori Reimer, and Dawn Worden.
Vandenhouten (10-5) went the distance for the tenth time this season en route to her fourth triumph in a row.
In the second game against the Phoenix, Kim Compton (9-6) pitched six innings to pick up the win and Tracy Meade came on in the seventh to seal the victory and her first save of the season.
Ree Zenner and Dawn Worden each singled home runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to break open what had been a 2-2 tie. NIU hung on for the 4-2 win.
“This was a big sweep for us because it was the last time on our field,” NIU head coach Dee Abrahamson said. “We wanted to go out on a good note.”
The Huskies game at UIC on Saturday was cancelled due to the poor weather which left NIU to play DePaul on Sunday.
In the first game, the Blue Demons scored the only run they would need in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead and added two more in the sixth to win 3-0. Tracy Meade (5-8) took the loss.
In game two, NIU took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning when Nikki VanHooreweghe hit a ground-rule double enabling two runs to score.
NIU would add two more runs in the top of the seventh. Compton scored on a wild pitch and Reimer singled home a run. Vandenhouten was the winning pitcher and improved to 11-5.
NIU, which has gone 8-1-2 in their last 11 games, will play again Tuesday at Western Illinois.