Panthers secure wins in Chicago



Samantha Heyer (2) continued her strong performance, once again being named MVC Pitcher of the Week for a second straight week.

ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

UNI softball traveled to Chicago, Ill. on Friday, March 24 to go up against the UIC Flames in a conference double header. The Panthers came into these games having won four in a row, so they were looking to keep the winning streak alive. The Panthers were able to take care of business, winning both of the games in the double header. 

The Panthers got things going early, putting one run across in the top of the first inning. Kailyn Packard got the start pitching for the Panthers, and although she gave up two early base runners in the bottom of the first, she was able to get out of the jam with no damage done. The Panthers added another run in the second, while Packard kept the Flames off of the board. The Panthers kept adding on with two more runs in the third, as well as another in the fourth. Packard gave up her first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth making the score 5-1. 

The fifth inning was quiet, and Anna Wischnowski came in to relieve Packard. The Panthers got the bats rocking again when they added three more runs in the top of the sixth. This made the score 8-1, and that’s the way that it would end. The Panthers tallied 11 hits in the game and eight RBIs. Mya Dodge had an impressive four hit game. Packard picked up the win, moving her record to 6-3 on the season. 

In the second game of the doubleheader the Panthers were looking to take their second win of the day. However, things did not start out how they would have liked. After a scoreless top of the first inning, the Flames got a run across on UNI pitcher Samantha Heyer, giving them a 1-0 lead through the first. Neither team got a run across in the second, and the Flames maintained their narrow lead. In the top of the third, the Panthers finally got on the board. It was in a rather surprising way, as their first run was brought in on a Dodge walk with the bases loaded. They got a second run on the inning on another walk as well. This time it was Brooke Snider who walked with the bases loaded. 

In the bottom of the third, Heyer got the Flames batters out in order. In the top of the fourth, Dodge put the ball in play, and that was enough to bring in two runners as the Flames made an error on the play. In the bottom of the inning, Heyer continued to lock in, getting the batters out in succession. The Panthers offense exploded in the top of the fifth inning, having five hits that scored five runs. With a comfortable 9-1 lead going into the bottom of the final inning, Heyer did not mess around. She struck out all three batters. The Panthers took the victory via run rule, 9-1. Heyer had eight strikeouts and took the win, moving her record on the season to 8-4.

The Panthers finished the series against UIC on Sunday afternoon, although game results were not available in time for print. UNI will play next at Missouri on Wednesday, March 29, looking to add on to their win streak.