Panthers stay hot, clobber Drake 9-2



Addison McElrath (9) was one of three Panthers with a home run in the 9-2 win over Drake, joining Mya Dodge and Daryn Lamprecht.

DREW HILL, Opinion Columnist

The UNI softball team played the Drake Bulldogs in Des Moines on Tuesday, April 18. It was the second of three games the teams play this season. UNI dominated en route to a 9-2 win. This gave the Panthers their sixth straight win as well as their seventh consecutive win over Drake, dating back to the 2021 season.

UNI came into this game 26-11 overall and 15-1 in conference play. Their only conference loss thus far came to Indiana State on April 8. Drake came into the matchup 11-27 overall and 4-12 in conference play.

The game started off slow for the Panthers, with Alexis Pupillo getting the only hit for the Panthers with a single in the first inning. Drake got a pair of hits, but Samantha Heyer recorded a strikeout to end the inning. UNI was held scoreless in the second inning as well with two hits, but the defense again held strong, sending a tied game to the third inning.

In the third, the Panthers finally got going. Daryn Lamprecht immediately got the first home run of the game to put UNI up 1-0. Mya Dodge homered next, getting Madison Parks and Pupillo home to increase the lead to four. Addison McElrath picked up one more home run for UNI to make it a 5-0 game. UNI kept Drake from scoring again, only giving up one hit, and maintained their lead.

Faith Standerski started off the fourth inning with a double, and Kylee Sanders got her home with a triple. Sanders followed her home shortly after that on a passed ball to make it a 7-0 UNI lead. Those were the only runs UNI scored in the inning, but the shutout continued as UNI carried their 7-0 lead into the fifth. UNI loaded the bases but was unable to capitalize, so the game went to the bottom of the fifth. Drake finally put a run on the board to make it 7-1.

UNI added another run in the sixth inning after a Dodge triple got Parks home to make it 8-1. The defense got Drake’s first three batters out to hold them scoreless for five innings in the game. UNI added one more run in the seventh off a Pupillo double that sent Sammy Moss home. Drake scored one more run, but Kailyn Packard closed the game with a strikeout to seal UNI’s 9-2 win.

Pupillo led the team in hits with three, while Dodge led with four RBIs. Parks wound up scoring the most runs with two in a balanced scoring effort. Heyer pitched five innings and had five strikeouts, securing her 18th win of the season to just four losses. Packard pitched the final two innings, adding two strikeouts of her own.

UNI is now 27-11 overall and 16-1 in conference play with the win. UNI next travels to Normal, Ill., for a three-game series with the Illinois State Redbirds from Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23. After that, UNI returns to Cedar Falls to face Drake for the third and final time this season on Tuesday, April 25.