Softball loses two, wins one game in midweek Ball State series

The Huskies are now 3-8 in conference play


Wes Sanderson

Then-junior pitcher Delaney Ostrowski winds up a pitch during a game against Ball State University Wednesday April 6, 2022

By Jordan Radloff

DeKALB — The NIU softball team faced off against Ball State Tuesday and Wednesday in DeKalb, falling in two games and picking up one win.

Tuesday: Ball State 13, NIU 3

Ball State scored multiple runs in each inning of a five-inning game Tuesday while the Huskies only had one run each in the second, fourth and fifth innings. The final score was 13-3 in favor of visiting Ball State.

Senior outfielder Kara Apato and junior infielder Sam Mallinder each had two hits in the game. NIU’s three scoring opportunities came from a sacrifice fly by designated player Izzy Smith, a walk for senior catcher Katie Keller with the bases loaded and an RBI double hit by sophomore outfielder Courtney James.

Wednesday, game one: Ball State 11, NIU 0

NIU was swept by Ball State in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday. The Cardinals once again scored in all five innings for a final score of 11-0.

Junior pitcher Delaney Ostrowski pitched the entire game for NIU, recording seven strikeouts. The Huskies only had three hits in the game, including a double by James, compared to Ball State’s seven hits with three home runs.

Wednesday, game two: NIU 13, Ball State 9

The Huskies came back for redemption in the final game of the series, winning the second game of the doubleheader Wednesday 13-9.

NIU embarked on a large comeback attempt after Ball State scored eight runs in the second inning. A four-run rally in the bottom of the second inning and a seven-run rally in the fifth inning were key components for the Huskies to gain the lead over the Cardinals.

The Huskies combined for 12 hits in the game, including a three-run inside the park home run from Mallinder. The team also exhibited baserunning skills with four stolen bases. NIU scored on a double steal play, with senior infielder Bianca Barone stealing second and senior outfielder Mackenzie Mahy stealing home.

“We were able to capitalize on some of their mistakes,” head coach Christina Sutcliffe said in an NIU Athletics news release. “Our game is to be aggressive on the bases and sometimes that creates errors but luckily we were on the better side of that.”

Looking ahead

Following the series, NIU softball now holds a 3-8 Mid-American Conference record and are 9-17 overall.

“Our pitchers need to go back to allowing fewer free bases and there are a couple of things we need to sharpen up defensively,” Sutcliffe said. “Our hitters were very disciplined throughout this three-game series and we were happy with what we saw but we need to turn that into more wins.”

Alongside the NIU baseball team, the Huskie softball athletes will travel to Mount Pleasant, Michigan this weekend to face Central Michigan University, who is ranked No. 1 in the MAC in both softball and baseball.

Softball will play their first game of a doubleheader at noon Saturday, with the final game of the series taking place on Sunday.