Softball performs well at Panther Invitational



Samantha Heyer had an exceptional game on Friday, pitching a no hitter while striking out 11 batters in UNI’s 9-0 victory.

ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

The UNI Panther softball team was busy last week, as they played five games in just four days. The Panthers started off with a game against Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and then played in the Panther Invitational from Friday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 26.

Things started out perfectly for the Panthers against Austin Peay. In the top of the first with two outs and a runner on second, Madison Parks hit a two-run homer. In the bottom half of the inning, Austin Peay managed four runs on three walks and one hit. The Governors added one more run to go up 5-2 in the second. Two-run shots were the story of the day for the Panthers, as Brooke Snider hit a home run to put the Panthers within one in the top of the fourth. A solo shot for Austin Peay in the bottom half extended their lead to 6-4. The Panthers got nothing going in the fifth, but Austin Peay added two more in the bottom of the inning. In the sixth, the Governors added two more, and it was a dominant day for them. UNI’s Faith Standerski hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh, but that would be it for the Panthers. They dropped this game, 10-5.

The Panthers looked to rebound with good play in the Panther Invitational. They had two games on Friday, the first of which was against Western Carolina. UNI’s Kailyn Packard and Western Carolina’s Tessa Juett were dealing early, giving up nothing in the first four innings. The Panthers were able to break it open in the fifth, scoring three runs on five hits. The Panthers added two more in the sixth, and four more in the final inning. The Lady Catamounts would never score a run. Kailyn Packard threw the complete game shutout, and gave up only two hits. The Panthers took the first of the day, 9-0. Their next game was against Georgia State. The Panthers got things going right away in this one, getting three runs in the first. Samantha Heyer made quick work in the bottom of the first, striking out the side in order. The Panthers added three more in the second, and had a 6-0 lead. Heyer struck out the side in the second as well, although not until the bases were loaded. The rest of the game was smooth sailing, as the Panthers would win 9-0 in five innings. Heyer had a complete game no hitter with 11 strikeouts. 

The next games for the Panthers came on Saturday, the first of which was against Tennessee State. UNI’s Kylee Sanders led the game off with a home run. Heyer was back in the circle, and she struck out the side in order. The Panthers added one more in the top of the fourth. They added one in each of the sixth and seventh innings, and at the same time, Heyer shut them down. The Panthers won 4-0. The second game of the day was a rematch with Georgia State. The Panthers got on the board first in the second inning, bringing two runs home. In the third, they scored four more, and broke out to a 6-0 lead. In the last inning, the Panthers tagged on one more, and Georgia State was finally able to cross a couple runs, but not enough to make a difference. The Panthers picked up the victory, 7-2.

UNI completes competition at the Panther Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 26. UNI will then play next on Tuesday, Feb. 28 in Macon, Ga. against Mercer University.