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Broncos Take Down NIU, 5-3

Courtesy: Mat Kanan, director of athletic media relations
Release: 05/05/2012
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Doubles by Gracie Barstad, Tara Buchanan and Courtney Rousseau spark WMU Softball's two-run victory over Northern Illinois.

Western Michigan hit three doubles in a game for the third time this season and first since March 18 against Norfolk State.  The Broncos came up with a victory in those two games and did so as well today.

Barstad hit her sixth double of the season with Buchanan on first and one out to put runners in scoring position for Rousseau's ninth double-bagger of the season, scoring Buchanan and Barstad and giving WMU an early 2-0 lead.

WMU's next two-run inning, the bottom of the fifth was a little more unorthodox.  Christina Pigozzi led off with her second infield single of the day.  Buchanan followed by reaching on an error on her sacrifice bunt.  With Jenny Rohn pinch running for Buchanan, Barstad laid down a sac bunt to put runners on second and third with two outs.

Rousseau was intentionally walked to set the table for Elisha Handshoe.  She grounded the ball back to the pitcher, Jessica Strum.  Strum's throw home was high and Pigozzi slid in before the catcher could touch home plate.  On the play, Handshoe ran to second as Rousseau went back to the same bag.  Having to get back to first NIU's catcher threw to first but Handshoe beat the throw, allowing Rousseau to advance to second and Rohn to score.

Northern Illinois plated two runs in the sixth on Emily Woller's single to right center field, bringing the Huskies with a run at 4-3 but the Broncos tacked on an insurance run in the home half of the inning.

Rousseau held the team lead in doubles for less than three innings as Buchanan took a 3-2 pitch down the right field line for her ninth of the season, scoring Meredith Whitney who singled to left field earlier in the inning.

Whitney earned her 16th win of the season with a nine-strikeout performance, bringing her to within on victory of tying her career high.  She now also has 198 punch outs this season, needing two more to become only the third pitcher in program history to reach 200 in one year.

Western Michigan closes out the regular season and celebrates its senior class on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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