Broncos with Dramatic Seventh Inning Comeback at NIU
DeKALB, Ill. - The Western Michigan softball team scored three runs in the top of the seventh to complete its comeback and defeat Northern Illinois, 7-6, on Saturday afternoon.
It was only the third time this season that WMU has won a game when trailing after six innings and its fifth win in a game decided by one run.
The rally began when Colleen Lynch was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh. Jenny Rohn reached on an error to put runners on first and second with no one out. Caty Pixley, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, collected her third base hit of the day to load the bases.
The first out of the inning was also productive as Marleen Rodriguez grounded out to first base but the speedy Lynch was able to score, leaving runners on second and third with one out. Melissa Palmer reached on a fielder's choice as the NIU defense elected to get Rohn out at home for the second out.
With only one out to work with and still trailing by a run, Christina Pigozzi collected her second hit of the day (2-for-4), and only RBI, singling to center field to tie the game. Sabrina Gamboa was responsible for the winning RBI as she reached on the second Huskies error of the inning to plate Palmer.
NIU wasn't done though as the lead off hitter led off the home half of the seventh with a single to right center field and proceeded to steal second and then reach third on a wild pitch with no one out. That's when Becca Shemberger went to work. She got the next two batters to strike out swinging. After a two out walk to put runner on the corners, Shemberger ended it by getting the final batter to look at strike three. Shemberger struck out a total of seven Huskies in 5.0 innings of work, en route to her fifth win in the circle this season.
WMU came from four runs down in today's win but held the early 1-0 lead after the top of the first. Lynch was hit by a pitch, driving home Pigozzi who earned a one-out walk earlier in the inning. The Broncos scored their second run of the day to tie game at two runs apiece in the third when Loren Nagy singled down the left field line to score Gamboa.
Gamboa hit her team-leading eighth double of the season on Saturday. Also going for extra bases with doubles against NIU were Pixley (3) and Rodriguez (5).
The Broncos earned a split of the season series with Northern Illinois and will travel to No. 13/14 Michigan for their fourth game this season against a ranked opponent. WMU defeated the Wolverines, 2-1, last season when UofM was ranked No. 20 in the nation. Game time in Ann Arbor is 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2.