Softball opens 2022 with double losses

Huskies drops games against Ohio State and Bethune-Cookman to open FAU First-Pitch Classic


Courtesy of NIU Athletics

Senior infielder and catcher Katie Keller assumes her batting stance during a game. (NIU Athletics)

DeKALB — The NIU softball team dropped the first two games of their 2022 season Friday on the first day of the Florida Atlantic University First-Pitch Classic in Boca Raton, Florida. The Huskies narrowly avoided a shutout in their 8-1 loss to Ohio State University, but they saw improved hitting production later in the day in a close 2-1 loss to Bethune-Cookman University.

Game one: Ohio State 8, NIU 1

The Buckeyes got off to an early lead against the Huskies with a first-inning rally, hitting three doubles and scoring four baserunners off of NIU’s starting sophomore pitcher Claire Norred. Ohio State kept the pressure on in the second-inning with two more scored runs.

Norred was replaced by junior pitcher Delaney Ostrowski after the second-inning for the remainder of the game. Ostrowski was able to minimize any further damage until the seventh-inning. The Buckeyes brought their total runs to 8 in the final inning after a two-run home run from Ohio State sophomore pinch-hitter Taylor Heckman.

The Huskies finally answered back in the bottom of the seventh. Senior designated-hitter Bianca Barone got into scoring position with a double, and junior second-baseman Sam Mallinder was able to bring her home with a base hit.

NIU softball now has an all time record of 0-5 in their history of facing Ohio State.

Game two: Bethune-Cookman 2, NIU 1

Sophomore pitcher Emily Dato started and pitched the entire second game for NIU. The Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats followed the early game scoring trend against the Huskies, but were only able to put one tally on the board in the first inning with a score off of a sacrifice fly.

NIU tied the game up at 1-1 in the top of the third. Mallinder got her second runner-batted-in of the day with a sacrifice fly to center field, which resulted in the Huskies baserunner, senior center fielder Kara Apato, coming in to score.

The Wildcats broke the tie-game in the bottom of the sixth-inning with a run scored off of a base hit down the right field line. The Huskies were unable to answer back in the final inning and lost the close game to Bethune-Cookman by one run.

Looking ahead in the FAU First-Pitch Classic

NIU will return to the field for two games on Saturday, taking on the Indiana University Hoosiers at 3:30 p.m. CT and the Florida Atlantic University Owls at 6 p.m. CT in Boca Raton. Live stats for these matchups can be viewed on the FAU Athletics website.