Panthers go 2-2 in Kansas Tournament

UNI’s softball team split their four game series over the weekend with Kansas and South Dakota State.

DAVID WARRINGTON

Over the weekend, the UNI Panthers softball team, coming in with a record of 7-8 on the season, traveled to Lawrence, Kan. to participate in the Rock Chalk Challenge hosted by the University of Kansas. They played four games in two days, taking on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and Kansas Jayhawks once each on Friday and Saturday. UNI was swept on Friday, but bounced back, sweeping the competition on Saturday.

In the first game of the weekend, the Panthers took on South Dakota State. It was a struggle for both teams to cross the plate, with both sides still scoreless through three innings. In the top of the fourth, Jackrabbits catch- er Allison Yoder was walked to lead off the inning. After moving up to third after a wild pitch and a groundout, Yoder came in to score after a groundout by Lindsey Culver to put the Jackrabbits ahead 1-0. In the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers responded when

shortstop Sammey Bunch hit a home run to left field, evening the score at 1-1. However, in the top of the seventh, the Jackrabbits would pull ahead for good after an RBI double, winning the game 2-1.

Panthers pitcher Kailyn Packard put together a strong game despite the loss. Packard pitched all seven innings while only giving up eight hits and two runs, one of which was unearned.

In the second game of day one, the Panthers had a matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks. The Panthers got on the board right away when Bunch led off the game with atriple.Afterapopout,Bunch was driven in for a run via a groundout to take a 1-0 lead. The Jayhawks bounced back in the bottom half of the first, scoring two runs to take a 2-1 advantage. The Panthers couldn’t get on the board again and gave up two more runs via solo home runs, losing the game 4-1.

InthefirstgameonSaturday, UNI had a rematch with the Jackrabbits.SouthDakotaState struck first, scoring one run in the bottom of the first. The Panthers got on the board via an RBI single from Emmy Wells, tying the game at 1-1. UNI put up two more runs in the top of the fifth and finished off the scoring with another run in the sixth inning to come away with a 4-1 victory.

In the final game of the weekend, the Panthers had a rematch with the Jayhawks. The game remained scoreless until the top of the third when UNI scored a run off of a RBI groundout for a 1-0 advantage. Another RBI groundout in the fourth and a RBI single in the seventh capped off the UNI scoring. Packard had another phenomenal pitching perfor- mance,allowingonlyfourhitsin a complete game shutout, help- ing the Panthers cruise to a 3-0 victory.

With the 2-2 weekend, the Panthers move to 9-10 on the year. They will now begin Missouri Valley Conference play in a three game series in Springfield, Mo. against the Lady Bears of Missouri State, playing a doubleheader on Saturday, March 20 and a sin- gle game on Sunday, March 21.