Illinois-Chicago sweeps softball doubleheader


NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard saw something she had never seen before in the first game of a doubleheader in which the Huskies were swept by Illinois-Chicago by scores of 4-3 and 9-1.

The Flames won on a walk-off catcher’s interference by freshman Carly Norton. In the eighth inning with two outs and the bases loaded, Flames catcher Stephanie Chavez swung and hit the mitt of Norton, drawing a catcher’s interference call and thus an automatic trip to first base.

“I’ve seen catcher’s interference before but never quite in that situation,” Chouinard said. “Carly is a very aggressive catcher. I think her aggression kind of hurt her there.”

Morgan Bittner picked up the loss, pitching the entire game and giving up four runs and two earned. She had control issues though, walking six on the evening.

When asked if she thought Bittner’s control problems could be attributed to a mechanical flaw, a somewhat flustered Chouinard replied, “I don’t know.”

With the Huskies trailing 2-0 in the top of the fourth, Bailey Ouellette hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to tie the score up. Ashley Cann drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning to score Ouellette, giving the Huskies a one-run lead.

But Bittner’s control problems came back to haunt her in the fifth. Chavez drew a leadoff walk and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A Shannon Kehr single to right field would score Chavez, tying the game at 3-3 and setting up the dramatic extra-inning loss.

The Huskies lost game two 9-1 via the slaughter rule after Andrea Colosimo gave up an RBI single to Melinda Macias in the bottom of the sixth.

“We knew they were going to fight and come out and attack,” Chouinard said of the Flames. “But obviously we did not adjust.”

The Huskies will travel to Chicago again to play DePaul where Chouinard starred as a pitcher during her playing days.

“There are a lot of people I care about and respect [at DePaul],” Chouinard said. “It will be a good fought-out game.”