March 24, 2009
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team continues its eight-game homestand when the Huskies play host to Valparaiso Wednesday afternoon at Mary M. Bell Field.
Although the Huskies (4-16) lost their doubleheader with Loyola-Chicago last week, they played well in the second game with the Ramblers. Northern Illinois rallied from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits to send the game into extra innings. After mustering only one hit in a 4-0 decision in the first game of the doubleheader, the Huskies cranked out eight hits in game two, scoring four runs, but fell 5-4 to the Ramblers.
NIU's young pitching staff also showed improvement. Freshman Morgan Bittner (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly) pitched well in the first game, allowing just one earned run on nine hits. Sophomore Joreigh Landers (Vernonia, Ore./Vernonia) turned in a solid performance in relief in the second game, pitching three innings of hitless ball.
NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard is hoping to see a carryover from the second game against the Ramblers into Wednesday's games with Valpo.
"Obviously, you need to hit to win games," Chouinard said. "We hope to come out in attack mode against Valparaiso and hit the ball hard.
"I thought the pitchers did a good job last week. We had just two innings where we gave up multiple runs. Joreigh did a good job shutting down Loyola in the second game. Hopefully, we'll continue to see improvement there."
Valparaiso (16-7) comes into Wednesday, winners of four of its last five games. The Crusaders split their doubleheader with IUPUI Monday, dropping the first game 10-1 and winning the second 8-7.
First pitch for the Huskies and Crusaders is set for 3 p.m., with the second game to follow. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker at www.niuhuskies.com.