The NIU softball team looks to stay hot as the Huskies open its spring break week with four games in two days in California before traveling to Nevada for the Silver and Blue Classic, scheduled from Friday, March 18, through Sunday, March 20.
“We’d love to see the offense stay consistent,” NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said. “I’d like to see the pitching settle in a little bit more, get comfortable and find their grove. Once they do that, the team tends to follow.”
The Huskies (7-8) took home the title of the Colorado State Classic, going 4-1 in the three-day tournament Mar 4-6. Northern Illinois’ offense erupted, scoring 59 runs on 57 hits with freshman Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln) leading the way.
Tofft earned Mid-American Conference West Player of the Week honors after hitting an amazing .688, going 11-for-16 from the plate with seven of those hits going for extra bases.
She drove in 15 runs on the weekend, belting two homers and seven doubles, slugging 1.375. Tofft also scored 11 runs. Tofft drove in a career-high six runs in Northern Illinois’ 19-5 with over Colorado State, going a perfect 4-for-4 with four runs scored, and knocked in four runs in the Huskies’ 13-5 decision over Santa Clara.
Tofft is one of four Californians that are returning to their home state this week. Morgan Bittner (Long Beach), Gianna Cipollone (Newport Beach) and Adriana Sanchez (San Fernando) will be playing in front of the hometown fans when the Huskies travel to Stockton, Calif., for a doubleheader with Drake and Pacific Mar. 15. NIU will then travel to Sacramento for a doubleheader with Sacramento State Mar. 16.
Chouinard, a California native herself, feels playing in front of a family and friends will provide a boost to the quartet.
“Everybody loves to be around their family and play in front of their friends,” Chouinard said. “It brings a relaxing peace to it for them. It slows the game down for them and lets them do what they want to do.”
Following their two days in California, the Huskies will travel to Reno, Nev., to compete in their final preseason tournament, the Silver and Blue Classic. NIU opens the weekend Friday with a doubleheader against Idaho State and the host Wolfpack at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. respectively.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.