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Bronco Softball Splits with Northern Illinois

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KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Western Michigan bounced back from a 6-5 loss in game one to take game two, 7-2, of today's softball doubleheader against Northern Illinois. WMU junior pitcher Anissa Sanchez recorded the win in game two, throwing a complete seven innings and striking out two.

Junior left fielder Aspen Williams ended the day 4-for-6 at the plate with three runs scored. Sophomore shortstop Brooke Wyman went 3-for-6 with a home run, a double and five RBIs. Abby Stoner also homered for the Broncos and collected two hits and two RBIs.

WMU and NIU will return to Fran Ebert Field tomorrow for decisive game three of the series, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. It will be the Broncos' annual StriKeout Cancer game and donations will be collected for the Bronson Children's Hospital. Fans are encouraged to wear purple to Saturday's game to support the cancer awareness initiative.

GAME 1

Neither starting pitcher made it very far in game one, as WMU's Jordan Kurth was lifted without recording an out in the first inning and NIU's Alex Frenz lasted only an inning and a third.

Kurth struggled to find her control, hitting a pair of batters, walking a third and allowing two singles. Junior reliever Holly VanTilburg gave up a two-run single with the bases loaded before she could get WMU out of the frame. Ivy Schaaf hit a leadoff double for the Broncos in the bottom of the first and and went on to score, but NIU led after one inning, 4-1.

WMU pushed two more runs across in the bottom of the second to cut the deficit to 4-3. Williams and Stoner hit back-to-back singles and scored on an RBI double by Wyman.

Northern Illinois answered with a run in the third and fourth innings to extend its lead to 6-3. Stoner hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth for the Broncos to cut the Huskies' lead back down to one. WMU couldn't find the tying run in the bottom of the seventh however, as NIU reliever Tara Thacker retired the side in order to earn the save.

WMU had seven hits in the contest, while Northern Illinois recorded 11. Neither team committed an error. Keegan Hayes earned the win for NIU, replacing Frenz and throwing 4.4 innings.

GAME 2

Sanchez improved her record to 5-5 with her fourth complete game of the season. She allowed just five hits and stranded six on base.

WMU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third and added two more in the fifth before putting the game away with three runs in the six. Both of NIU's runs were of off solo home runs as Kayti Grable went deep in the fourth and Jenny VanGeerty homered in the seventh.

Western Michigan pounded out 12 hits in the contest. Wyman, Williams and Kelsea Cichocki each went 2-for-3 with two runs scored while Mackenzie Swinehart was 2-for-4 with one run.

Wyman drove in three runs, hitting an RBI single in the second and a solo home run in the fifth. She also picked up a bases-loaded walk in the sixth. Marlee Wilson had a hit and drove in two for WMU. She went deep to center field for a sac fly in the second and had an RBI single in the sixth. Cichocki also had an RBI single in the sixth.

With the doubleheader split, Western Michigan's record moves to 16-22 overall and 4-10 in the Mid-American Conference. Northern Illinois will enter Saturday's contest with a 20-16 overall record and an 8-6 mark in league play.

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