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NIU softball: Naegele breaks single-season HR record with walk-off homer

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 2:46 p.m. CDT
(NIU photo services)
Emily Naegele steps out of the batters box Tuesday against Ball State. Nacelle hit her 15th home run of the season, a school record, to give the Huskies a walkoff win in Game 2 of the doubleheader sweep.

Northern Illinois catcher Emily Naegele went into the record book in style.

Naegele broke the Huskies’ single-season home run record with a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-4 victory over Ball State in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Mary M. Bell Field.

It was the second game-ending home run of the day for the Huskies, who improved to 25-10 overall and 6-2 in Mid-American Conference West Division.

In Game 1, NIU sophomore Haley Wroten hit a pinch-hit, game-ending grand slam in the bottom of the sixth to give the Huskies their 10-0 win. It was the second home run of the season for the sophomore.

Freshman pitcher Alex Frenz continued her strong season with a dominating performance in Game 1 against the Cardinals. She threw a one-hitter with no walks and eight strikeouts.

The Huskies gave her plenty of run support early, scoring four in the first inning and two in the fourth before capping it with Wroten’s grand slam in the sixth.

Katie Lamich went 3 for 4 with two runs and Jessica Rio added two hits and two runs in the win.

In Game 2, the Huskies jumped out to four runs in the first inning behind a three-run double by Alaynie Woollard, who finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs.

Naegele also added an RBI single in the first inning.

Ball State (17-20 overall, 3-5 in MAC West) crept back and eventually tied the score at 4 in the top of the seventh inning. However, Naegele led off the bottom half of the inning with a homer to left centerfield, which gives her 16 on the season. Teammate Kayti Grable broke the record last season with 15 home runs in the season.

Frenz got the win in the second game by pitching three innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits. She improved to 12-3 in the circle this season.

The Huskies will play at Akron (18-16-1 overall, 2-3-1 in MAC East) in a three-game series this weekend, starting at 2 p.m. Friday. Akron’s series finale against Central Michigan was called after the fifth inning because of snow when the score was tied at 4.

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