Ohio welcomed conference foe Northern Illinois to Ohio Softball Field on Friday for the first two games of the two school’s season series. Ohio cruised to 11-3 win in the first game, but Northern Illinois tied the series up with a 5-4 win in Game Two.
Although NIU took a 2-0 lead early in the game, Ohio took over in its first half at the plate. In the bottom of the first inning, with the bases loaded, Alex Day hit a single to bring home Allie Englant.
NIU could feel its early lead fading.
It would disappear on Ohio’s next at bat.
With the bases still loaded, center fielder Mackenzie Brunswick hit a grand slam that sailed out the park and got stuck on the roof of a nearby building. Ohio’s bats were hot, and they stayed that way for the rest of the game.
In the second inning, Ohio extended its lead to five after Morgan Geno sent the ball over the building that Day’s homer got stuck on. Right handed pitcher Madi McCrady kept the Huskies runless while Ohio approached run rule territory.
After two more RBIs from Brunswick and a home run from Charlee Pond, Ohio had the eight-run lead it needed to end the game early. McCrady finished the game with her ninth strikeout.
Unlike the first game, Ohio struck first in Game Two. In the second inning, Brunswick, with the bases loaded, hit a changeup that sailed towards the left field wall. The ball hit the top of the wall, and Brunswick was tagged out as she was sliding into third base. Brunswick was out, but Ohio took a 3-0 lead.
Ohio extended its lead in the third inning after Alvarez’s sacrifice fly allowed Englant. Ohio, again, was on its way to another quick win.
But Northern Illinois stormed back.
The Huskies trimmed Ohio’s lead in the in fifth inning with a two-run homer from Jenny Van Geertry. NIU took the lead in the following inning. With the count full and the bases loaded, Sam Schmidt hit a home run to give the Huskies a one-run lead.
Who stood out?
Senior MacKenzie Brunswick hadn’t been in the batter’s box since Feb. 10. On Friday she was the Bobcat’s best weapon at the plate. She finished the day with nine RBIs.
Ohio (23-11, 4-1 Mid-American Conference) will return back to OSF on Saturday for its third and final matchup with Northern Illinois (15-16, 2-2 MAC ). First pitch is slated for 11 a.m..