Panthers finish with 2-3 record in Shamrock Classic

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

After nearly two weeks since their last set of games, the UNI softball team traveled down to Conway, Ar., for a weekend series against Stephen F. Austin University, Belmont University, Central Arkansas University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The Panther women came off a tough slate of games two weeks prior in which they dropped four out of five games. This past weekend proved to be a back-and-forth appeal for Northern Iowa, as they ended the weekend going 2-3.

The first game of the series saw the Panthers take on the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks on Feb. 28. This game wound up to be a rather forgettable one for UNI, as they were pummeled with 13 runs in five innings while being held to only one hit for the entire contest. The Jacks spotted six runs in their half of the fifth inning, leading the game to be ended in a mercy rule.

The Panther women were able to bounce back in a big way on Saturday morning, as they were able to take down Belmont University by a score of 9-1 the next day. UNI shortstop Sammy Bunch led the team with four runs batted in for the contest, all of which game off her grand slam home run in the top of the sixth inning. The inning started with Northern Iowa holding onto a 3-1 lead, but the Panther bats would explode for six total runs in the frame and put away Belmont for the game.

UNI would get a second chance against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday evening, but the Lumberjacks would again prove to be too much for the Panthers to handle. SFA scored seven unanswered runs through six innings while holding UNI to just five hits. The Panthers would scratch across a run in their half of the sixth on a bases-loaded walk, but their rally would be shut down before any more damage could be done.

Sunday morning saw the Panther women once again in action, this time against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. The story of this game was the errors committed by both teams, as UNI allowed two errors for the game, while ULM committed four. Three of the Panthers’ runs were either scored off of an error committed by the Warhawks or the runner who scored reached base by way of an error.

The Panthers are now 6-10 overall on the season. They will next play in the Northern Colorado tournament in Greeley, Co., from Mar. 6-8 against opponents Nebraska-Omaha, Utah Valley, and Northern Colorado.