NIU softball loses home opener


It wasn’t the ideal home opener for the NIU softball team as it dropped the first game of a doubleheader 4-0 at Mary M. Bell Field Wednesday.

But behind the shadow of NIU’s 15th loss of the season was a solid pitching effort from freshman Morgan Bittner. The California native pitched a complete game, giving up four runs (one earned) and four strikeouts.

“[Bittner] was mixing the ball around, hitting different spots, making it move, changing tempo and changing speeds,” said head coach Lindsay Chouinard of her freshman’s performance. “That’s what we try to do everyday, and she did a good job.”

Chouinard said she wasn’t worried at all about Bittner starting the home opener.

“For a freshman, it’s more about playing in Division 1 than it is about being afraid to pitch at home,” she said.

After playing her high school ball in California and spending the past week playing nine games in her home state, an adjustment to DeKalb weather could have given Bittner trouble. But she downplayed any effect of the change in weather. In fact, she praised it.

“I like pitching in the cold; it’s kind of nice,” Bittner said.

Bittner opted to pitch with no long sleeves under her jersey while fans behind home plate huddled for warmth, not your typical California setting.

“I didn’t think it was cold enough for me to wear sleeves,” Bittner said of the weather, which started dropping from 50 degrees at first pitch.

Bittner helped her statistics with the sleeveless showing. While the loss put her record at 2-8, Bittner had her 6.79 ERA drop to 6.18.