UNI defeats Butler, falls to Iowa State and SDSU

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

The UNI softball team began their season with a three-game series last weekend in the UNI-Dome. Playing host to Butler University, Iowa State and South Dakota State, the young Panther squad ended the weekend series going 1-2.

Game one of the new season was underway last Friday afternoon with the Panthers playing host to the Butler Bulldogs. A back-and-forth affair saw the Panthers eventually come out on top, 6-5. The Bulldogs got on the board in the top of the first inning, after UNI starter Hannah Kelly walked Butler’s Christina Candotti with the bases loaded.

UNI clawed back in their half of the first with two scores of their own, one on an error and another on a Butler wild pitch. The visitors picked up two more in the second inning, taking a 3-2 lead over the Panthers. After an RBI single by UNI third baseman Adara Opiola tied the game in the bottom of the second, Panther catcher Emmy Wells clobbered a two-run home run in the third inning to give UNI a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Each time Butler would score, the Panthers would counter with a score of their own, holding on for a 6-5 victory.

The final two games of the weekend were not as kind to the Panther women. Game two of the weekend against Iowa State immediately followed the game against Butler; however, the Panthers were not able to carry over their success versus the Cyclones. Iowa State jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first three innings and held UNI in check the rest of the way, winning the game by a final of 12-2. The Panthers could only muster up six hits for the contest and seemed to have no answer for the Iowa State bats.

The last game of the weekend took place on Saturday, with UNI meeting South Dakota State in the rubber match. The game started off promising for the Panthers, as shortstop Sammy Bunch gave them a 1-0 lead in the first inning off of a solo home run. That seemed to be the only bright spot in this one for the hosts, as the Jackrabbits scored eight unanswered runs and took the game by the score of 8-1. UNI only had three hits in the contest and committed three errors defensively en route to the defeat.

The next contest for the UNI softball team will be a doubleheader against Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. on Feb. 24.