Panthers softball wins 14th in a row



The UNI softball team kept their winnings ways going with a 4-1 victory over their in-state rivals Drake on Tuesday. The Panthers have won their last 14 games and remain in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference.

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The UNI softball team faced Drake on Tuesday, April 26, with a chance to extend their current win streak to fourteen games. They had a 26-11 record coming into the game, including a 17-1 conference record to lead the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). Drake came in 17-23 and 11-8 in conference play, good for third place in the MVC. With just seven games left before the MVC tournament after this game for both teams, this was a chance to maintain momentum and set themselves in a good spot for the tournament. UNI had already won the last two against Drake a week earlier, and could complete the sweep with this win.

After both teams held each other scoreless in the first inning, UNI struck first in the second. Drake forced two quick outs, but Taylor Hogan got a single, Brooke Snider got a single and Daryn Lamprecht got both of them home on an RBI double. UNI took the 2-0 lead into the bottom of the inning, and held Drake scoreless, giving up only one hit while catching two pop flies and striking out the last batter.

After another scoreless inning for both teams in the third, UNI increased the lead in the fourth inning. Emmy Wells got to first after a catcher error on a third strike to get things rolling. Maggie Erpelding stepped in to pinch run. Hogan then hit her second single of the day to get Erpelding to second. Snider again followed up with her own single and then advanced to second to get Erpelding home for the Panther’s third run of the day. Two batters later, Mya Dodge hit a sacrifice fly to get Hogan home for the Purple and Gold’s fourth run of the day. Drake struck out UNI’s final batter to get to the bottom of the fourth. The Panthers again shut Drake out to hold on to the 4-0 lead.

Drake held UNI without a hit the next two innings, but did not manage to score in the fifth inning. They did finally get their first run of the day in the bottom of the sixth after Addie Lightner got to first and Paige Bedsworth got her home with a triple. UNI forced the final out to strand Bedsworth at third and cling to a 4-1 lead. The final inning saw both teams hold the other without a hit, and the game ended in a 4-1 UNI win.

Hogan led the Panthers in runs with two and tied with Snider to lead in hits with two.  Lamprecht led in RBIs with two. Kailyn Packard pitched the entire game for the Purple and Gold, striking out eight batters.

UNI’s next games will be on Saturday, April 30, in a doubleheader against Indiana State. This is followed by a game Sunday. UNI then will face in-state rival Iowa on May 4, before closing the regular season in a three-game series with Bradley on May 7 and 8. UNI needs just three wins to clinch at least a share of the MVC regular season championship.