The Northern Illinois softball won a pair of games Friday to advance to the final day of the MAC Tournament on Saturday in Akron, Ohio.
The Huskies started the day with a 3-0 win against No. 1 seed Central Michigan, then scored 12 runs in the final two innings for a 15-9 win against Western Michigan.
The Huskies will play Kent State on Saturday, with the winner facing Ohio in the championship, needing to beat them twice for the title. The Bobcats beat the Huskies, 1-0, earlier in the tourney, sending NIU into the consolation bracket.
Kali Kossakowski hit a grand slam to tie the game at 8 in the sixth against Western Michigan. Alaynie Woollard homered to start the frame, which the Huskies entered trailing by five.
Jenny Van Geertry hit a double in the seventh that scored two, giving the Huskies a 10-8 lead.
In the first game of the day, the Huskies knocked out top-seed Central Michigan with a 3-0 victory.
Keegan Hayes picked up the win, throwing five scoreless innings, and Tara Thacker came in for the save, pitching two perfect innings. Offensively, Kayti Grable went 2 for 3 with an RBI and Dominique Greeno and Van Geertry each went 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI.
“Keegan and Tara threw a phenomenal game,” NIU coach Christina Sutcliffe said. “To be able to shut out that team, with their type of players, they were doing something right. Our pitching has done enough all week to help us win.”
Central Michigan’s Rachael Knapp, who was the MAC Pitcher of the Year, only lasted four innings, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks.