UNI takes final two games of UNI-Dome Classic

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

After a rough start to their six game, season-opening slate of games, the UNI softball team would bounce back in a big way during their last two games on Sunday of the Doc Halverson UNI-Dome Classic. With a doubleheader matchup against DePaul University and the University of South Dakota to round out the final day of the tournament, the Panther women found a way to rally in both games and to even their overall record for the weekend at three wins and three losses.

The first of the two games for the Panthers on Sunday came against the DePaul University Blue Demons, who came into the game winning three of their first four games of the season. Things started off poorly for Northern Iowa, as the Blue Demons’ leadoff hitter Angela Scalzitti doubled to begin the game, followed by a two-run homerun from DePaul third baseman Erin Andris, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead right out of the gate. An RBI double later in the inning put DePaul up 3-0 after the top of the first inning. The Blue Demons would tack on two more runs in the middle innings, giving them a 5-0 lead going into the sixth inning.

The Panther offense would find its groove in the sixth however. UNI shortstop Sammy Bunch would connect for a three-run homerun with one out in the inning, cutting into the DePaul lead. The Panther women would scrape across two more in the sixth to knot things up at 5.

The game went into extra innings tied at 5, when DePaul scored in their half of the eighth to take a 6-5 lead. But a rally in the bottom of the eighth for the Purple and Gold was capped off by a game-winning RBI single by UNI left fielder Jenny Kohl, sealing the dramatic victory.

In game two, the story was UNI senior catcher Ashley Chesser. Her two home runs would help pace the Panther offense in their 9-4 victory against the University of South Dakota in the second half of Sunday’s doubleheader.

UNI took the lead in the second inning with the score tied at two, and wouldn’t look back in this one. The Panther offense scored in six different innings for the contest, with eleven hits helping to spur the nine-run offensive attack. Samantha Heyer pitched a complete game, throwing all seven innings while allowing four earned runs. She struck out eight Coyotes and only walked two for the game.

Up next, the UNI softball team will travel to Tucson, Arizona for the Hillenbrand Invitational hosted by the University of Arizona from Feb 14-16.