A three-run double by Katie Lamich proved to be the difference as the Northern Illinois University softball team earned a 6-5 series-opening win over Toledo on Friday at Mary M. Bell Field.
With the score tied at 3 and the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Lamich poked a shot to the left-center field gap to clear the bases and give NIU (19-20, 6-6 Mid-American Conference) a 6-3 advantage.
“That was huge for us,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We were getting runners in scoring position a fair amount; we just couldn’t get the hit even with one out. For her to come through was big. I think all our runs might have come with two outs. So big clutch hitting with two outs.”
The Rockets (15-21, 4-5) responded with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but Alex Frenz, who came in to pitch in relief for starter Mackenzie Bryan in the top of the third, was able to limit the damage, stranding the tying and go-ahead runs at third and second.
NIU falls at WMU: Northern Illinois dropped the series-opening game against the Broncos, 9-4.
“It was a tough loss today,” said head coach Mike Kunigonis. “We loaded the bases in the eighth and the ninth but couldn’t find a way to scratch a run.”
NIU (10-23, 6-4 MAC) opened the scoring in the second inning as Jake Dunham led off with his third home run of the season, putting the Huskies ahead, 1-0.
Kaneland blanked at Normal: The Knights fell to Normal West, 10-0.
Thomas Shaw and Nick Ortegel had the only hits of the game for Kaneland (9-7).
Knights roll in tourney: Kaneland opened its home tournament with a 12-0 win against St. Charles North.
Emilee Erickson pitched six innings for the win, with Grace Algrim pitching the seventh. Erickson struck out 10 and gave up two hits.
Hailey Roach and Donatela Sommesi homered for the Knights (9-2). Hailey Roach, Rose Roach and Cassidy Motyka had two hits each, while Danyelle Borysiewicz drove in three.
The Knights play two more games Saturday, including one against DeKalb at noon. The Barbs fell to the Knights, 2-1, on Thursday.