UNI sweeps Loyola at home, stays in first place



The Panthers continued their winning ways, sweeping the Ramblers of Loyola over the weekend at Robinson-Dresser.


The Panthers were on the prowl this weekend at home as they hosted Loyola-Chicago in three games. They won the first two on Saturday in decisive fashion and the third game ended in a run rule on Sunday, 10-2. The Panthers were on full alert going into these games with a record of 16-11 with a 7-1 record in the Missouri Valley Conference. 

UNI started a dynamic doubleheader on Saturday with a big win against the Ramblers. Kailyn Packard was on the mound for the Panthers, getting 12 strikeouts in her complete game that she pitched. Designated hitter Mya Dodge kicked off the game in a big way with a leadoff home run to give the Panthers the very early lead. They did not keep their foot off the gas, as they scored a run in each of the first four innings. Brooke Snider got an RBI single to get second baseman Taylor Hogan into home to keep the Panthers rolling. Right fielder Sammy Moss hit yet another home run for UNI in the third inning, and Snider got yet another RBI in the first game of the day with a sacrifice fly to get designated runner Hannah Isley into home plate. UNI ended up with a 4-1 victory in their first game of the day, setting the tone for the rest of the series for the Panthers. 

The second game of the day also went in the Panthers’ favor. Although the Ramblers started the game with a run, the Panthers would quickly answer. Dodge hit a single and Moss got her home with her second home run of the day. The Panthers would score one more in the first to make the game 3-1 in favor of UNI going into the second inning after a walk ushered Kylee Sanders into home. The Ramblers would get another run in the second inning but, fortunately for the Panthers, it would be their last of the day. The Panthers continued their scoring patterns, getting a total of three runs in the bottom of the third capped by a home run by Sanders. Erica Oler started the game on the mound for the first two innings, while Samantha Heyer pitched as the reliever for the last five. Heyer would record 11 strikeouts, her career high, and only 2 hits with no runs batted in to cap off the game and doubleheader for UNI. The Panthers finished the day 2-0 with a final score of 8-2 in their second game. 

The three game series between UNI and Loyola wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. Four home runs and 10 total runs scored resulted in the Panthers capping off the sweep with a 10-2 victory in six innings. The weather no doubt played a factor in this one, with 25 mph wind gusts giving outfielders on both teams trouble navigating fly balls. Packard again got the start for the Panther women, with Loyola’s Sydney Ruggles in opposition.

The Panthers scratched across two runs in the bottom of the first inning, despite not recording a single hit in the frame. Ruggles walked the first three UNI batters she faced, and a hard-hit ball from the Panther’s Kamryn Shaffer to the second baseman of Loyola resulted in a fielder’s choice with the run scoring from third. Sanders drove in the second Panther run on a sacrifice fly to deep left field, leaving UNI on top 2-0 after the first inning of play. 

The Rambler bats showed some life in their half of the second, with a leadoff double and a walk resulting in two runs scored from a single by Loyola first baseman Amelia Thomas driving in two runs to tie the game. This would be all that the Ramblers could muster against Packard, however.

UNI catcher Emmy Wells had a solid day at the plate, starting in the second inning when she drove home two Panthers on a line drive single to center field to put UNI back up 4-2. She continued her success at the plate with a two-run home run in the fifth inning, which extended the UNI lead to 8-2. Panther first baseman Daryn Lamprecht also had a good day at the plate with two solo home runs, one in the fourth inning and another in the fifth. 

With the score at 9-2 in the sixth inning, UNI left fielder Madison Parks led off the bottom of the sixth. She knocked an opposite field home run over the left field wall, ending the game at 10-2 by virtue of the eight-run rule. 

The Panther women improved to 18-11 overall on the season and 9-1 in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play, as they currently sit in first place in the Valley and have won their last five games. They will travel to Valparaiso from April 15-16 for three games and will return to Robinson-Dresser on Tuesday, April 19 when they host Drake for a doubleheader, with the first game scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.