UNI softball starts 3-game series 2-0



COLIN HORNING, Sports Writer

Coming off two straight home wins against the University of Evansville, the UNI softball team looked to keep the momentum rolling as they hit the road for a three-game series against conference foe Illinois State in Normal.

Saturday, April 6, saw the Panthers complete the sweep of the double header, taking the first matchup 6-2 and the second half by the score of 5-0.

Northern Iowa relied heavily on the long-ball in the first game. Third baseman, Adara Opiola, got the Panthers on the board in the third inning with a two-run home run off Illinois State pitcher Morgan Day.

By the sixth inning, the Redbirds had tied the game up with a pair of solo homers of their own when UNI catcher, Ashley Chesser, broke the 2-2 tie with a solo shot of her own over the right field fence. Shortstop Sammy Bunch put the game wide open in the 7th inning, with a three-run homer, putting the purple and gold up by four runs. Solid relief pitching kept the Redbirds intact, as the Panthers cruised to a 6-2 victory in the first contest.

The hot hitting would continue over into the next game for UNI. An Illinois State error saw centerfielder Courtney Krodinger score the first run of the game in the second inning. Sammy Bunch added a two-run homer in the third inning for her second home run of the day to grow the UNI lead to 3-0.

The Panther women tacked on two more runs later in the inning off another two-run homer, this time coming from Krodinger. Pitching with a 5-0 lead, UNI starter Jaclyn Spencer was able to settle in and put away the Redbird bats. She only allowed five hits and walked only two en route to a complete game shutout, sealing the sweep of the doubleheader for Northern Iowa.

The two wins puts the Panthers at 17-13 overall for the season and 8-2 in conference play. UNI will continue their season against in-state rival Drake University in Des Moines on Tuesday, April 9, for an evening doubleheader. They will return home the weekend of April 13-14 for a three-game slate against conference opponent Valparaiso University.