WACO, Texas – The Northern Illinois University softball team defeated Sam Houston State, 5-3, in the tournament finale at the 12th annual Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas Sunday morning.
A day after tallying one hit in two games, the Huskie (3-2) bats came alive against Sam Houston State. Northern Illinois pounded out nine hits on the afternoon and three Huskies tallied multi-hit games.
“This weekend was a huge step forward for the program,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “Opening the season 3-2 against the competition we faced is a great start.”
Erika Oswald led the way for the Huskies going 2-for-3 from the plate with two RBIs and a run scored. Shelby Miller went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a base on balls, while Jennifer Barnett went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Northern Illinois took the early with two runs in the top of the second. With runners on second and third with one out, Oswald doubled down the left field line to drive in pinch runner Murielle Vansach and Miller.
After the Bearkats responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, NIU retook the lead with two runs in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and one out Amanda Sheppard delivered and RBI single to left field to drive in Oswald. A Nicole Gremillion groundout drove in the second run of the game to give NIU a 4-2 advantage.
With the score 4-3 in the seventh, NIU added an insurance run when Gremillion scored on a Barnett single. Jessica Sturm, who came in to pitch in relief for Emily Norton in the sixth inning, pitched a scoreless seventh and sealed the win for NIU.
Norton earned the victory, allowing three runs on six hits in five innings of work, while Sturm picked up the save. Barnett and Sturm were both named to the All-Tournament Team for their performances over the weekend.
“Jessica came in today and really shut them down to earn the save,” Sutcliffe said. “JB [Barnett] had a big RBI today and played solid defense all weekend.”
The Huskies return to the diamond Feb 22 when the Huskies travel to Boca Raton, Fla. to compete in the FAU “Strike-Out Cancer” Tournament. NIU opens the tournament against North Florida with first pitch set for 8 a.m. CT.