NIU's Run in MAC Tournament Comes to End

GO HUSKIES Morgan Bittner suffered the loss after allowing just one run on two hits while striking out nine.
Morgan Bittner suffered the loss after allowing just one run on two hits while striking out nine.

May 15, 2010

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AKRON, Ohio - The Northern Illinois University softball team's quest for a conference title came to an end when the Huskies suffered a 1-0 loss to No. 1 seed Kent State in a pitcher's duel at the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio Saturday.

Sophomore Morgan Bittner (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) went pitch for pitch with three-time MAC Pitcher of the Year Kylie Reynolds, allowing just two hits while striking out nine in seven innings of work. However, one of those hits, a lead-off home run in the top of the sixth by Kent State's (33-21) Beth Cinadr, proved to be the difference in the game.

The Huskies (25-34) had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the inning. It began promising for NIU with back-to-back singles from Zoe Sinner (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) and Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli). Northern Illinois loaded the bases when Ashley Cann (Glenwood, Ill./Marian Catholic) reached on a one-out error by Reynolds.

However, Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) flied out to the second baseman and pinch hitter Michelle Williams (Fresno, Calif./Bullard) fouled out to right field ending the threat.

Reynolds pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits while striking out nine. Barnett led the way for the Huskie offense, going 2-for-3 from the plate. Sheppard, Sinner and Dani Parrish (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield) also picked up hits in the game.

NIU's run in the 2010 was its best performance at the MAC Tournament since 1999 when the Huskies also went 3-2. Bittner went 2-2 with a 2.85 earned run average in her five appearances. She allowed 14 runs, 11 earned, on 27 hits and nine walks and striking out 26. She finished the season with a career high 182 Ks, second all-time among NIU pitchers in a single season.

Leading the way for the Huskie offense were Parrish and Sinner who batted .412 and .385 respectively. Freshmen Adriana Sanchez (San Fernando, Calif./Alemany) and Barnett accounted for nine of NIU's 13 RBIs. Sanchez went 4-for-13 with three home runs, six RBIs and three runs scored, while Barnett was 4-for-16 at the plate with a home run and two runs scored. Sanchez and Parrish were both named to the 2010 MAC All-Tournament Team.




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