MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Western Illinois (4-9) softball won a wild back-and-forth game against Northern Illinois (5-9), 10-9 and fell to host Memphis (10-8), 6-1 on day two of the Blues City Classic on Saturday (Feb. 29).
Western Illinois 10, Northern Illinois 9
Katie Keller kicked off the scoring with a 2-out solo homer to right-center in the top of the first inning. Savannah Rodriguez responded with a long ball of her own, a 2-run shot to dead centerfield to put Western on top after one complete frame.
After the Huskies got a run back in the top half of the second, Alyssa Ealy singled up the middle in the bottom half to bring Tori Boysen home for a 3-2 Leatherneck edge. Rodriguez delivered again in the bottom of the third with double to the gap in right-center. The next batter Boysen dropped a single down the left field line and Rodriguez scored on a throwing error as Western Illinois led 5-2 but the inning was not over. Daytona Dooley capped off the three-run third on a single to center.
Western's comfortable 6-2 lead did not last long. Northern Illinois plated four unearned runs in the top of the fourth highlighted by a 3-run homer to left by Anne Allen to even the score at six runs apiece.
Ashley Minyard placed a double to left-center with one down in the bottom of the fourth inning to regain the lead and the Leathernecks added two more runs for a 9-6 cushion.
Once again the advantage was short-lived after NIU responded with three more runs of their own punctuated on heads-up base running. The contest was tied 9-9 until the bottom of the sixth when Dooley laced a double to left to bring in the go-ahead run.
Maddy Anderson (2-3) slammed the door in the top of the seventh to earn the victory over 2.2 innings of work and a pair of strikeouts. Abby Carlin got a no-decision in a starting role surrendering four earned runs with one punch-out.
Ealy raised her average with a 3-for-5 showing at the plate and the freshman Dooley impressed going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Rodriguez recorded a team-high three RBI before heading to the circle in the team's second game of the day.
Memphis 6, Western Illinois 1
Rodriguez nearly worked out a jam in the bottom of the second inning, but allowed a 2-run homer to Alyssa Dean. Another 2-run jack by the Tigers' Kendall Lee doubled the deficit at 4-0 after four frames.
Ealy kept up her hot streak at the plate with a single up the gut to score Meghan Henson and get Western on the behind 4-1 in the top of the fifth.
The third home run of the game for Memphis came off Brady Rowland's bat in the bottom of the fifth as the Tigers moved ahead 6-1.
Rodriguez (0-2) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Western Illinois will wrap up the Blues City Classic at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday (March 1) against North Alabama.