Despite pitching highs, NIU’s offense struggles during one hit shutout


It was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel Sunday afternoon at Mary M. Bell Field between NIU’s Morgan Bittner and Western Michigan’s Meghan Thomas.

But it was Bittner who flinched first, giving up the lone run in the ball game, leading to the 1-0 final score.

Bittner (6-13) pitched seven innings with seven strikeouts. She only gave up four hits on the day.

Thomas pitched even better, giving up only one hit, while striking out two.

“Both pitchers did a good job,” said NIU head coach Lindsay Chouinard. “They did exactly what their coaches asked them to do today.”

Broncos’ head coach Kathy Leitke was impressed by Bittner’s pitching as well.

“She did a real good job keeping our hitters off balance in the batter’s box,” Leitke said.

Even after taking the loss, Bittner was pleased with some aspects of the game.

“It’s frustrating not getting the offensive support,” Bittner said. “But it’s nice to know that our defense is coming together. They made some good plays today. I was impressed by them.”

The first inning was the defense that Bittner praised. Broncos’ hitter Mandi Sayres flied out to left fielder Katie Colby with the bases loaded and the Broncos’ Sarah Thomas tried to tag and score, but Colby threw a strike home and completed the 7-2 double play.

The lack of offensive support was evident Sunday. The Huskies only mustered one hit and only had two runners reach second base. They never advanced farther than that.

NIU will get a shot to avenge the home sweep by traveling to Western Michigan on Tuesday for a doubleheader.