Softball gets outscored by 16 runs in doubleheader, NIU takes series win
Central Michigan softball hosted Northern Illinois April 20 for an afternoon doubleheader.
The Chippewas entered the series in third place in the Mid-American Conference while the Huskies were eighth in the MAC. Both teams were looking to win to help secure a spot in the MAC Championships.
The Chippewas (18-23-1, 8-6-1 MAC) let the opportunity slip.
The Huskies outscored CMU by 16 runs over the two games, taking the first contest 13-6 and the second 9-0.
Sophomore Samantha Howell was the starting pitcher as the Chippewas looked to get their second win of the series.
Northern Illinois’ offense would prove to be too much for the Chippewas. The Huskies would win the first game 13-6 led by outstanding freshman Katie Keller, who leads the MAC with a .431 batting average.
The big difference in the game was errors. CMU had seven fielding errors throughout the game including two in a six run third inning for the Huskies that CMU was never able to overcome. That put the Huskies up 7-1 after three innings.
CMU would put two runs up in each of the next two innings to bring the close the gap, but NIU still lead 8-5 after five innings.
The Huskies scored three in the sixth and that would put the game out of reach for CMU.
Rachel Vieira had a good day at the plate, scoring three runs and batting 3-for-4 including a triple.
Howell took the loss and dropped to 5-7 on the season. She pitched 2 2/3 innings for CMU but allowed seven runs. NIU starter Alex Frenz earned the win, pitching 4 1/3 innings allowing five runs on six hits.
Head coach Margo Jonker was not pleased with her team’s performance on defense in game one.
“We weren’t sharp defensively,” Jonker said “ It’s the worst game defensively we’ve probably had this year.”
Freshman Kaitlyn Bean started game two for CMU and Mackenzie Bryan started for NIU.
The Huskies would strike first with a solo shot to center field by designated player Kira Mickelson to take a 1-0 lead.
NIU loaded the bases in the third inning and were able to get seven runs off of Bean. Jonker made a pitching change at that point, bringing in Samantha Howell. Howell was able to end the inning without allowing any more runs.
The Chippewas got a two out double from Allison Curtis, but were unable to capitalize on it.The Huskies led 8-0 after three innings.
The mercy rule came into effect after the fifth inning.The game ended and NIU defeated CMU 9-0.
After game two of the day, Jonker was critical of how all facets of her team for the day.
“It was a disappointing performance,” Jonker said “Game one our defense fell apart, we hit fairly well in game one. Game two we didn’t hit very well in and our pitching didn’t do the job.
"Overall all parts of our game at one point in time throughout the day were not up to normal for us.”
The loss of this series against NIU will drop the Chippewas to fifth in the MAC standings.
CMU will battle Ball State for postseason seeding when the Cardinals visit Margo Jonker Stadium April 26-27 for a three game series. Ball State is currently just a half game behind CMU.