CMU softball rebounds on day two to win season series versus NIU

MARIE UNDERWOOD: CMU softball players celebrate after beating Kent State Tuesday, March 28 at Margo Jonker Stadium. CMU won both games in their doubleheader with scores of 3-0 and 10-2.

After falling in the first game of the series on Saturday, 6-5, Central Michigan softball went into day two looking to bounce back.

The Chippewas did just that in their double header matchup versus Northern Illinois on Sunday where they defeated the Huskies in extra innings in game two, 5-3 and in the third produced 13 runs on 16 hits to win 13-2 in five to secure the series win. 

CMU moves to 14-17 overall and 4-4 in Mid-American Conference play. 

Tolmie registered a hit in every game of the series, going 6-for-13 (.462) at the plate while producing five RBIs. 

Game 1

Following a four-run inning in the top of the second that gave the Chippewas the lead, CMU seemed in control to start off the series. However, after an explosive fifth inning, Northern Illinois scored five runs and the Chippewas couldn’t respond as they fell 6-5 in game one of the series. 

The Chippewas struck first in the top of the second during a two-out rally which started on an RBI single from redshirt senior Samantha Mills to score junior Lucy Cronin giving CMU the 1-0 advantage. Junior Abbey Tolmie hit two more in for CMU on a double to extend the lead to three. On the next at bat, junior Michaleigh Vallimont added one more run to the Chippewas tally with an RBI single scoring Tolmie.

Following the burst from CMU, the Huskies shot right back in the bottom of the inning after freshman Danielle Stewart led off with a solo home run to cut the deficit, 4-1. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, NIU cut the deficit to one following a 2-RBI double. The Huskies continued their momentum following back-to-back base hits that scored two more to give them their first lead of the game, 5-4. NIU added one more run on a fielder's choice play to go up 6-4. 

The Chippewas knocked in a run in the top of the sixth when Tolmie hit an RBI single to put CMU within one of the Huskies. However, the Chippewas remained scoreless in the seventh inning to drop the first game of the series. 

Bean received the loss in the circle, allowing five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and five walks. Lehto came in for relief in the fifth and allowed one run on four hits with two strikeouts. 

On the offensive side, Tolmie went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs and one run scored. 

Game 2

After sending the game into extra innings, senior Maddie Springer delivered in the top of the ninth for the Chippewas with a 2-RBI double to lead them to a 5-3 win in game two versus NIU to open the Sunday double-header.

Following a double from Mills to put two runners in scoring position in the top of the third, Tolmie singled to score senior Emily Bracamonte. On the next play, the Chippewas scored one more run following a first and third situation that scored Mills to give CMU a 2-0 lead. 

The Huskies responded in the bottom of the fourth with a 2-RBI double from senior Sam Mallinder to tie the game at two. 

In the bottom of the seventh with the game tied, NIU loaded the bases with two outs, threatening to defeat the Chippewas. However, Lehto delivered with a strikeout to send the game into extra innings.

Following a scoreless eighth inning, the Chippewas started off the top of the ninth with a leadoff double from senior pinch hitter Peighton Root. A few at bats later, Springer doubled to left center to score two runs for the Chippewas and give them the 4-2 lead. CMU wasn’t done yet as Springer scored one more run on a passed ball to go into the bottom of the ninth with a 5-2 lead. 

With one final chance for the Huskies in the bottom of the ninth, junior Courtney James hit an RBI double to cut the deficit to two. However, the comeback effort was cut short as the Chippewas defeated NIU in extra innings. 

Lehto got the win to move to 5-8 on the season. In nine innings pitched, she gave up three runs on nine hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk. 

Tolmie was productive at the plate again in game two, going 3-for-5 with one RBI. Springer also produced on the offensive side, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. 

Game 3 

CMU came out firing in the final game of the series with every member of the starting nine registering a hit to defeat the Huskies 13-2. 

In the win, the Chippewas had five players earn a multi-hit game.  

With two outs in the top of the first inning, the Chippewas came up with back-to-back base hits followed by an RBI single from Cronin to put CMU up 1-0.

The Chippewas continued the momentum in the second inning when Vallimont hit a three-run home run to tally her fourth of the year and push the lead to 4-0. 

The Huskies responded in the bottom of the second with a home run of their own to cut the deficit to three, 4-1. 

However, CMU was unphased as it added another run to its tally in the top of the third following an RBI single from redshirt junior Skylar Coberley scoring sophomore Allyssa Hollo. On the next at-bat, the Chippewas struck again with a base hit from Bracamonte that scored another for CMU. Before the end of the inning, Coberley scored on a throwing error by NIU to push the lead to 7-1. 

After three-straight base hits to load the bases, Cronin was hit by a pitch to get the free base, scoring Vallimont to make it 8-1 in the top of the fourth. The Chippewas secured another run off of a walk to Coberley to score Hollo. On the next at-bat with bases still loaded, Bracamonte hit a SAC fly to push CMU’s run total to double-digits. Mills continued the runs as she doubled to add two more to the score. Following the double from Mills, Tolmie got her first hit of the game, with an RBI single to secure the sixth run of the inning and put CMU up 13-1. 

The Huskies added one run in the bottom of the fifth however it wasn’t enough as the Chippewas put up a stop to win in five innings, 13-2. 

Bean (5-6) got the win in the circle, holding NIU to four hits on two runs with four strikeouts and one walk.

At the plate, Vallimont led the way going 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs for the Chippewas. Coberley went 2-for-2 at the plate, producing three runs while batting in two. Mills also went 2-for-2 at the plate with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs. 

After the trip on the road, the Chippewas will return to Margo Jonker Stadium on Friday as they begin their season series against Ohio starting at 3 p.m.