UNI hits come in Bunch(es)

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UNI hits come in Bunch(es)

TONI FORTMANN

TONI FORTMANN

TONI FORTMANN

JACOB POTTER, Sports Writer

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The great American pastime may have just commenced, but UNI softball has been going strong since early February.

The Panthers made their return to Cedar Falls for the first time since the UNI-Dome Classic, which started the season for the purple and gold.

“We’re looking to get some home games in,” said Head Coach Ryan Jacobs. “It’s been one of those things where this time of year you’re excited to get back home.”

In a Sunday matinee doubleheader, the Panthers went 2-0 against the University of Evansville, outscoring the Purple Aces 19-6 between the two contests.

Prior to the doubleheader, Jacobs previewed the matchup, saying, “Evansville is doing a great job. They’re swinging the bats really well.  They’re a little bit different this year; they’ve been stealing a lot of bases, so we’re looking at some team speed there.”

UNI slowed down the bats and speed of the Purple Aces ,holding them to 11 hits and just two stolen bases in both contests.

The Panthers drove in a scorching 11 runs in game one, finishing with a score of 11-6.  A rare pair of three-run homers by Sammey Bunch and Courtney Krodinger led UNI on offense.

Bunch drove in four of the 11 runs with a three-run homer and an RBI double in the contest. Additionally, Olivia Brooks went 3-5 at the plate with an RBI single.

An 8-0 shutout followed, led by the arm of junior pitcher Jaclyn Spencer.

“Adding Jackie back, will she emerge as our number one?  Maybe, but we’re not going to crown her that yet. She’s got to earn it,” Jacobs said.  “She’s going to do just what they’ve been doing and as soon as she proves that she’s our number one, then guess what? We might have a number one. But we still have a staff of five that are going to go out there and compete, and I feel like they have put themselves in a really good spot at working together.”

Spencer did just that, striking out eight batters while allowing only three hits. Spencer also blasted a solo homer to put the Panthers up 7-0. 

Bunch hit her second three-run homer of the day, while going a stellar 4-4 at the plate and driving in half of the Panthers’ runs. Brooks chipped in again, going 2-3 and scoring three runs.

The back-to-back wins puts the Panthers at 15-13 on the season.

Following UNI’s matchup with the University of Iowa on Wednesday night, the purple and gold will head east to take on the likes of Illinois State University in a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7.

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