The Northern Illinois University softball team suffered a pair of losses at the USF Tournament, falling 4-1 to North Florida in the first game of the day Saturday and dropping the second contest of the day, 5-1, to the host South Florida Bulls.
“We just didn’t get it done today,” NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard said.
“In the first game we didn’t get our bats going. We didn’t adjust fast enough. Against South Florida, the pitching was better. She [Sara Nevins] threw relatively hard. We had our one chance to score and we didn’t really take our hacks. We didn’t control the controllable from the offensive side.”
Northern Illinois (12-12) fell behind early in its first game of the day as the Ospreys of North Florida scored a pair of runs in the first inning. NIU had a chance to respond in the bottom of the inning with runners at second and third with two outs.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncali) grounded out to second base and runners were stranded.
The Huskies battled back in the third inning, cutting the deficit to one, when Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) scored on a wild pitch.
NIU had an opportunity to break the game wide open in the bottom of the sixth. The Huskies loaded the bases with one out. However, Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) struck out swinging and Jessica Strum (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) flied out to center field to end the threat. North Florida tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning and held NIU scoreless in its final at bat to secure the win.
Pitcher Megan Dortch (Reno, Nev./Bishop Manogue) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on six hits, five walks, while striking out 10.
The Huskies were down early in the second game of the day as well. The Bulls scored two runs in the second inning courtesy of Jessica Mouse’s two-run homer over the left field fence.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded, the Huskies scored their first run of the game when Barnett was hit by a pitch on a 0-2 count. However, that would be the only run NIU would score in the inning as Carly Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) struck out looking.
The Bulls would make the Huskies pay in the bottom of the inning. Three straight home runs to open the inning extended the South Florida lead to four.
NIU concludes its nine-game road trip to Florida Sunday when the Huskies face Boston University in their final game of the USF Tournament. First pitch is set for 8 a.m. Central Time.
For more information on NIU softball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.