NIU softball struggles in season-opening tournament at FAU


By Jemea Green

DeKALB — The softball team started the season 1-4 at a tournament hosted by Florida Atlantic University.

Friday game one – NIU 1, Bethune-Cookman 0 

The first games of the tournament were delayed due to rain, but that didn’t stop the Huskies from getting a victory over the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats.  

NIU was able to capitalize on three errors by the Wildcats in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore utility player Mackenzie Mahy reached first base on an error by Bethune-Cookman’s third basemen. Mahy then advanced to third following another Bethune-Cookman error. 

With Mahy on third, sophomore infielder Bianca Barone went to the plate next. Barone grounded out to third base, but picked up the RBI by doing so. Mahy scored the lone run in the ball game. 

Sophomore pitcher Amber Bumbalough played a good game, allowing five hits and two walks. After giving up a lead-off double in the top of the fourth, Bumbalough retired the next 12 batters of the game and secured the win. 

Friday game two – Purdue 7, NIU 3 

Purdue University started off with quick runs in game two of Friday’s doubleheader. The Boilermakers scored four runs in the second inning, giving them a 5-0 advantage over the Huskies to start the third. 

NIU had five hits and three runs in the game, but Purdue’s five run lead was too much to overcome. Junior catcher Kira Mickelson led the way for the Huskies with two RBIs, followed by sophomore catcher Katie Keller, who racked in one RBI. 

Saturday game one – Wisconsin 8, NIU 1 

The University of Wisconsin Badgers started off the ball game with two runs in the first inning. The Huskies were unable to respond as the Badgers extended their lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning. Wisconsin added four more runs in the seventh to push its score out of reach for NIU. 

The Huskies recorded nine hits and one error. NIU’s single run came from sophomore outfielder Danielle Williams in the seventh inning. 

Saturday game two – FAU 4, NIU 3 

The ball game started off pretty back and forth, with FAU taking an early 2-0 lead over NIU in the first inning. The Huskies answered by scoring a run of their own from first-year infielder Kenny Litana. FAU responded by bringing in another run, followed by a fourth in the fourth inning. 

NIU closed the gap by bringing it within one run at the top of the seventh inning. With just one out, sophomore outfielder Kara Apato reached scoring position after a single and a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Amberly Rodriguez. Keller flied out to right field to end the NIU comeback. 

“The team is doing some really good things collectively as a whole,” Head Coach Christina Sutcliffe said in an NIU news release. “We just need to clean up around the edges. We fought back tonight [against FAU] and had a chance to win in the seventh.” 

Sunday morning – Indiana State 4, NIU 1 

NIU closed out the FAU tournament with a loss to the Indiana State University Sycamores. NIU was unable to hold on to its early lead over the Sycamores. 

NIU started the game with a double by senior utility player Anne Allen. She would go on to score the only run for the Huskies in the game, with an RBI from senior outfielder Kayla Scaperrotta.

The Sycamores scored a solo home run in the bottom of the third to tie the ball game at one. In the fifth inning, the Sycamores added two more runs. 

 In the top of the sixth inning, NIU was unable to capitalize on key situations with only one out in the inning. With bases loaded, Litana hit a line drive that resulted in a double play to end the inning.

 NIU will travel Friday to Conway, South Carolina to play in the Residence Inn Battle at the Beach hosted by Coastal Carolina University.