----Amanda Smith

By Mike Anderson, NKU Sports Information

FLORENCE, Ala. - The Northern Kentucky University softball team opened the season Friday by picking up a non-conference sweep over Arkansas Tech. NKU posted a 6-0 shutout in game one, and held on for a 5-3 victory in game two.

One could almost say that the Norse stole the games, as they swiped 13 bases in the doubleheader, including nine in game one. Shatona Campbell stole three bases in the contest, Becky Napier and Cara Parker each had two, while Rose Broderick and Katybeth Coode each stole one.

Napier, NKU's lone senior, drove in the only run the Norse needed in the top of the first inning, sending a double into the right-center gap to bring Parker around to score.

The Norse remained silent until the sixth inning, when an errant throw on Broderick's grounder allowed Amanda Smith and Campbell to score. Amber Gregory picked up her first RBI as a Norse in a pinch-hitting role when she took a Dana Aldrich pitch to left field to drive in Broderick. Napier stole home to seal the win in the seventh.

NKU scattered its eight hits among eight different players. Smith (1-0) gave up just two hits in the shutout, struck out three and retired her last 11 batters across her seven innings of work. Aldrich (0-1) took the loss for the Golden Suns, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in six innings.

In game two, things got started on a strong note offensively for NKU. After Broderick singled up the middle and Parker picked up her first double of the season to put two runners in scoring position, Amanda Smith slapped her 10th career double to drive in two runs. Jenny Weis followed with her first career triple to drive in two more and give the Norse a 4-0 lead at the end of one inning.

Molly Schweigert answered with an RBI triple in the top of the second to cut the NKU lead to three. Arkansas Tech threatened again in the third with runners at the corners and two out, but Weis was able to catch the Golden Suns on the double steal, nailing Kristen Chapman on her way to second to end the inning with no damage.

Sydney Doyle got into the base-stealing spirit for NKU as well, stealing home in the third to bring the lead back to four. ATU picked up runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but it wasn't enough as Candace White pitched a scoreless seventh to hold on to the victory.

Parker, Weis, and Smith each had 2-for-3 games at the plate, and White (1-0) pitched a complete game to pick up the win, scattering nine hits and two earned runs while picking up two strikeouts. Emily Horne (0-1) picked up 10 strikeouts, but she surrendered seven hits and five earned runs to take the loss.
Northern Kentucky is 2-0, while Arkansas Tech is 0-2.

The Norse conclude the weekend on Saturday with a doubleheader against North Alabama, which is the host of the UNA Spring Tournament, with first pitch scheduled for 10:00 a.m. local time.

UNA swept its first two games of the season earlier in the day as the Lady Lions defeated Missouri-St. Louis in mercy-rule fashion, 11-1 and 9-0.