First place Panthers stay hot, sweep Valparaiso

The UNI softball team won three more consecutive games over the weekend, this time defeating Valparaiso in a sweep. They now move to 21-11 on the year and 12-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play.

DAVID WARRINGTON

Coming into the weekend looking to maintain their first-place position in the Missouri Valley Conference, the UNI Panthers softball team traveled to the Valparaiso Softball Complex in Valparaiso, Ind. for a three-game series with the last-place Valparaiso Beacons. After a successful Friday and Saturday of softball, UNI came away with a series sweep, staying atop the conference.

The UNI offense was quiet in the opening innings of the series opener, trailing 1-0 entering the fourth. It was then that they managed to get their first runs on the board. An RBI single from Kamryn Shaffer followed by a two-run home run by Kylee Sanders gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead.

The offense didn’t stop there, as Daryn Lamprecht, fresh off of a two-home run game against Loyola Chicago last Sunday, stayed hot with another round-tripper against the Beacons. Another three runs were added in the seventh via a Mya Dodge three-run homer, and UNI came away with a 9-1 victory.

Kailyn Packard was great in the circle during the opener, giving up just one run and striking out six batters, allowing only one walk. 

In game two, UNI struck first via a Taylor Hogan two-run home run in the second inning. RBI singles from Hannah Kelley and Brooke Snider, as well as an RBI double from Sanders, allowed the Panthers to cruise to a 5-0 victory.

It was a dominant day in the circle for Samantha Heyer. The sophomore from Charles City allowed just three hits in a complete-game shutout. Throughout the day she struck out eight batters, giving up only one walk.

Dodge started game three of the series with a bang, hitting a home run to lead off the game. Madison Parks had an RBI single in the fifth to get the Panthers back on the board. Peyton Moeder hit an RBI single to get the Beacons on the board in the bottom half of the fifth, but the UNI offense responded in the sixth. Lamprecht hit another home run, her fourth in four games, and the Panthers would hold on to take a 3-1 victory, sweeping the series.

It was another great performance for UNI’s pitcher. Packard got the start, and in four and one-third innings gave up only five hits with one run, striking out five batters. Heyer came in for a relief appearance, and in two and two-thirds innings of work, she gave up three hits without allowing a run, and striking out another three Beacons. Packard was credited with the win, while Heyer received the save for her relief work.

With the wins the Panthers move to 21-11 on the season, staying in first place in the MVC with a 12-1 conference record. The Panthers will be back home at the Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex for their next several games. They will have a doubleheader against in-state rival Drake this coming Tuesday, and they will host a three-game series against Illinois State, with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday, as well as one game scheduled for Sunday.