Softball narrowly falls to Drake

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Softball narrowly falls to Drake

TONI FORTMANN

TONI FORTMANN

TONI FORTMANN

COLIN HORNING, Sports Writer

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Tuesday evening saw the UNI softball team host the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) leader Drake University. The Bullddogs came to round out the season series between the two teams.

Coming into the game, the Bulldogs had 19 consecutive wins and were sitting at 18-1 in the MVC, as well as 34-13 overall for the season. After a 7-inning pitchers’ duel with hardly any offense at all from both sides, Drake was able to squeak out the win by the score of 1-0.

Bulldog starter Nicole Newman was able to silence the Panther bats, striking out 13 while throwing a complete game no-hitter, allowing only one baserunner for the entire game, following a 5th inning walk to Panther centerfielder Courtney Krodinger.

Northern Iowa starter Jaclyn Spencer was masterful in her own right, as she punched out seven Bulldogs and gave up only one hit.

The Panther defense was their Achilles’ heel in this contest, as two errors ultimately lead to Drake’s only run. A third-inning throwing error by UNI third baseman Adara Opiola allowed Drake outfielder Abby Buie to reach base.

A sacrifice bunt advanced Buie to second base, and a throwing error by Spencer allowed the Bulldogs to scratch across their only run of the ballgame.

The win put Newman at a record of 21-6 for the season.

“We knew going into it what we were up against with Newman; she is a phenomenal pitcher. Probably one of the best the Valley has ever seen. You don’t get your hits in bunches against her, so we knew we were going to have to scratch and claw, wear her down a little bit and hope to get that one big hit,” said Panther head coach Ryan Jacobs  in an interview with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it and we gave them that freebie.”

The loss puts the purple and gold at an overall record of 22-19 for the season and 13-7 in conference play, good enough for third place behind Southern Illinois. Drake grew their winning streak to 20 games and sits atop the Valley with a 19-1 record.

Up next, UNI will host Southern Illinois University for three games over the weekend, April 27-28, with senior day on Sunday, April 28, starting at 11 am.

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