Panthers win two games vs Valparaiso

The+UNI+softball+team+continued+their+winning+ways+over+the+weekend+with+two+victories+against+Valparaiso.+

TONI FORTMANN

The UNI softball team continued their winning ways over the weekend with two victories against Valparaiso.

DAVID WARRINGTON

This past weekend, the UNI Panthers softball team hosted Valparaiso for a three-game series at the Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex in Cedar Falls. The Panthers came into the series with a record of 15-13 on the season, whereas Valpo entered the game with a record of 5-18. The Panthers put together a strong showing, winning the first two games 9-0 and 9-3.

In the top of the first of game one, the Panthers allowed two batters to reach base, one via a hit and the other via an error, but neither came around to score. The Panther offense got off to a lightning-fast start, putting up six runs in the first inning. The scoring started when Taylor Hogan hit a sacrifice fly to center, allowing Sammey Bunch to score from third. Three straight bases-loaded walks scored three UNI runs, and a two-RBI single from Bunch concluded the scoring. The Panthers entered the second inning leading 6-0.

UNI got back on the scoreboard in the second inning when Kamryn Shaffer hit a sacrifice fly, allowing Emmy Wells to score. The scoring concluded in the fourth inning when Sammy Moss hit a two-run home run to right field. The game ended via run rule after five innings of play since UNI led by more than eight runs, and UNI came away with a 9-0 victory.

The pitching from the Panthers was dominant in this game. Kailyn Packard was the starter for UNI. In four innings of work, she allowed three hits with no runs as well as three strikeouts. In one inning of relief, Samantha Heyer gave up no hits with one strikeout. Offensively, Moss had UNI’s only home run as well as a team-high three RBIs. Bunch and Madison Parks both had two hits to lead the team.

The main issue for Valparaiso was giving up too many walks. Vaplo’s starting pitcher, Caitlyn Kowalksi, gave up seven walks including three with the bases loaded, driving in three UNI runs. Offensively, Valpo only managed three hits as a team.

In the second game, both teams started slowly, with neither team getting on the scoreboard in the first two innings. Valparaiso opened the scoring when Jaina Westphal hit a solo home run to lead off the third inning and take a 1-0 lead. UNI responded in a big way in the bottom half of the inning, plating four runs to take a 4-1 lead. The Panthers scored another three runs an inning later for a commanding 7-1 lead. A solo home run from Bunch to lead off the sixth inning capped off the scoring for the Panthers. Valpo did manage to bring across a couple more runs, but the Panthers came away with another emphatic victory, 9-3.

With the victories, UNI improves to 17-13 on the season. They will finish their series against Valparaiso Sunday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m. They will then host a non-conference game against the Iowa State Cyclones on Wednesday, April 14 before returning to Missouri Valley Conference play with a three-game series in Chicago, Ill. against the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers on Friday, April 16 and Saturday, April 17.