Panthers take two of three from Evansville


The UNI softball team continued their conference schedule with a trio of games against the Aces of Evansville this past weekend. Coming into the stretch, the Panthers had an 11-10 record overall, and a perfect 3-0 record within the Missouri Valley Conference, with all of those wins coming from the previous weekend’s sweep of Southern Illinois.

The first game took place early on Saturday, and it took a while for the bats to fly in UNI’s favor. Evansville was able to get on the board first as they scored a run in the bottom of the first. The Panthers took their time to answer back, waiting until the fourth inning for shortstop Kylee Sanders to hit a triple to score left fielder Kamryn Shaffer, who had been walked just before.

Another run would be scored for the Panthers in a unique rules situation that had to be taken up with the conference office. Mya Dodge had a hit into left field that scored two runners, while Dodge was called out at first. After review, it was revealed that neither Dodge nor the Evansville first baseman had touched the bag, which disallowed Dodge from being ruled out.

Evansville would answer and tie the game in the bottom of that same inning, but the Panthers put on a hitting clinic in the sixth inning as they added four more runs to their total. Daryn Lamprecht and Sanders each got RBI doubles in the inning, along with Sammy Moss’ RBI single. A final run in the seventh inning sealed UNI’s victory 8-2 in Game 1, with Samantha Heyer credited as the winning pitcher.

The Panther’s offensive surge continued in the second game of the day, with them getting on the board instantly this time around. The Purple & Gold scored five runs through the first two innings, with ace Kailyn Packard shutting down the Aces on the mound by allowing only one hit and striking out six through the five innings.

In that fifth inning, the Panthers would experience another offensive explosion with five more runs batted in. Lamprecht would hit her first home run of the season, along with Sanders getting her second double of the day. The Aces had no answer to UNI’s firepower as the Panthers won handily 10-0.

The Panthers would come painstakingly close to their second conference sweep of the season, but they were stopped just short in the third game of the series.

Similar to the first game, Evansville was able to score three quick runs in the bottom of the first because of a few wild pitches and errors from UNI’s defense. The Panther’s offense would eventually be able to pick up the slack as Taylor Hogan batted in two runs in the fourth inning, and Shaffer would get a solo home run in the fifth.

Both defenses held firm after that, with the final two innings of regulation held scoreless. It wasn’t until the second extra-inning that UNI got multiple hits as Lamprecht and Moss got on base, and were unfortunately left there.

To make matters worse for the Panthers, Evansville also recorded multiple hits, along with the game-winning home run by senior Alyssa Barela out into right field.

Despite losing their first conference game of the season, the Panthers were still able to win the series, and improve their overall record to 13-11. After those two road stretches, they will be able to welcome a rival home as they will take on Missouri State next weekend in the Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex.