Softball drops three games at SIU Tournament



The NIU softball team lost two games to EIU and a game to SIUE this past weekend at the SIU Tournament

By Jordan Radloff

DeKALB — The NIU softball team lost all three games at the Southern Illinois University Tournament on Sunday and Monday, marking their first weekend of the season without a win. The Huskies faced off against Eastern Illinois University both days and ended the tournament with a game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Katie Keller named MAC player of the week again

Senior infielder Katie Keller was named the Mid-American Conference softball player of the week for the second week in a row following her performance at the Austin Peay Tournament last weekend. This weekend, Keller had two singles, two stolen bases and a double at the SIU Tournament.

Game one: EIU 5, NIU 4

The first game of the tournament on Sunday was the closest battle for NIU. The Huskies earned an early two-run lead in the second inning and were up 4-1 over the Panthers at the end of the fifth inning. Multiple scoring opportunities for NIU came from four EIU fielding errors. NIU’s chance at a win fell apart as EIU scored two pairs of unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh innings. 

Senior designated hitter Bianca Barone led the team with two hits, but NIU only had one run-batted-in attributed to senior outfielder Amberley Rodriguez.

Game two: EIU 3, NIU 1

The Huskies fell once again in a rematch against the Panthers Monday. The only run of the game for NIU was scored in the first inning when freshman infielder Avery Carnahan singled to bring in Keller. NIU was unable to build their momentum, allowing EIU to score three very shortly after, followed by scoreless innings for both sides in the remainder of the game.

Keller and junior infielder Kelly Walinski both had two hits each for the Huskies.

Game three: SIUE 2, NIU 1

The second game of the day Monday was another low scoring game resulting in a loss for NIU. Both of the Cougars’ runs came from two solo home runs hit by SIUE sophomore infielder Grace Lueke in the third and the seventh inning.

NIU’s only run came from a base hit by graduate student infielder Maddie Mackey to bring Rodriguez in to score in the fifth inning.

Thoughts from Coach Sutcliffe

On getting hits in key moments:

“We just need to have better approaches at bat, and focus on the game within the game,” head softball coach Christina Sutcliffe said in an NIU Athletics news release. “It’s the little plays that don’t show up on the box score that we’re not executing right now.”

On facing Bowling Green next week:

“We’re always going to find room to improve and that’s our mentality going in,” Sutcliffe said. “Bowling Green is going to be tough, we know they’re pitcher-dominant so we’ll need to have a plan of attack against that and just sharpen up around the edges a little bit.”

Looking ahead

NIU now has a 6-9 overall record for their season. The Huskies will travel to Bowling Green, Ohio, Friday to take on the Bowling Green State University Falcons in their first Mid-American Conference series of the season.