CMU softball splits doubleheader, wins series against NIU
Central Michigan softball split a Sunday doubleheader with Northern Illinois, rallying to win the second game 12-4 after suffering a 7-3 defeat in game one. The Chippewas (16-16, 7-3) earned the series win and are now in third place in the Mid-American Conference.
CMU's defense couldn't get the big stop in game one, which led to NIU rallying to win the first game.
The Chippewas opened the scoring in the second inning, with three doubles in a row from Skylar Coberley, Caitlyn Britton and Kelsey Alexander giving them an early 2-0 lead.
A defensive miscommunication led to NIU's first runs of the game in the third inning. A bunt by Sam Mallinder rolled towards the left side, and the Chippewas waited for it to roll foul. That didn't happen however, and Kara Apato raced home. Bianca Barone drove in two more runs to give the Huskies their first lead.
Shannon Stein answered right back with a solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the third. The Huskies put the game away in the top of the fifth with four runs, breaking the 3-3 tie and reaching the final margin.
Kaitlyn Bean started in the circle for the Chippewas, pitching four innings and allowing five runs. Caitlyn Britton pitched in relief, allowing two runs on four hits.
A nine-run sixth inning told the story of the series finale, as CMU rallied from a one-run deficit to claim the series win via the eight-run rule in the sixth inning.
It wasn't easy, however, as the Huskies would set the tone and take the early lead in the first with an RBI single from Katie Keller.
While NIU starter Emily Dato was keeping CMU's bats in check, her teammates were running it up on offense. Three runs in the fourth inning made it 4-0 Huskies going to the fifth.
The Chippewas got going in the fifth inning, starting with a leadoff single from pinch-hitting sophomore Tessa Nuss. It was the first hit of the season for Nuss, a Binghamton transfer who had just two at-bats all season prior to Sunday.
After Abbie Tolmie reached via error, Stein sent a moonshot over the wall to cut the deficit to a single run.
After CMU starter Grace Lehto pitched a scoreless sixth, the Chippewas put the Huskies away. After quickly loading the bases, Michaleigh Vallimont drove in two with a single to give CMU its first lead. Britton and Faith Callahan both walked in runs before Emily Bracamonte and Mills drove in runs.
The margin was in question, as the Chippewas were celebrating a victory via eight-run rule while the Huskies were arguing the final score. Though the score ultimately decided to be 11-4, Tolmie wasted no time slapping a triple to left to score Mills and end the game.
"I just told Abbey I can't think of a better time to get her first of the game," Salmon said.
NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe was ejected during the sixth inning rally.
The Chippewas travel to Ann Arbor to take on the University of Michigan on Tuesday April 12 beginning at 4 p.m.