The University of Northern Iowa ’s softball team split a pair of games in Iowa City this evening with the intra-state rival Iowa Hawkeyes. UNI (35-13, 18-2 MVC) came into the game with some momentum following a win over the Bradley Braves on Wednesday afternoon at Robinson Dresser Field in Cedar Falls.
Senior Jaye Hutcheson took the circle to start game one looking to improve on her 13-8 season record. Hutcheson got off to a bumpy start after hitting the leadoff batter with the first pitch of the game but quickly settled in. Hutcheson went the distance pitching eight innings, allowing seven hits and one earned run while striking out three Hawkeyes.
At the plate the Panthers found their groove in the fourth inning collecting a pair of runs on a two-run homer from Leah Embrey that scored Allison Galvin. Iowa knotted the score at 2-2 with a rally in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
With the International Tie-Breaker Rule in effect the Panthers' Galvin was sent to second base to start the inning. Whitney Plein was quick to take advantage of Galvin being in scoring position by sending a double to right field allowing Galvin to cross the plate giving the Panthers a one-run advantage. With no outs in the inning Leah Embrey laid down a sac bunt to send Plein over to third. Julia Hunter completed the scoring sending a double of her own to the right side getting Plein to score to give the Panthers a 4-2 advantage. The Hawks would score a single run in the bottom of the eighth to pull within 4-3, but the Panthers would hang on for the victory.
Game two of the night’s doubleheader resulted in a 7-0 loss to the Hawkeyes. Iowa took advantage of a seven-run sixth inning after the squads had battled to a scoreless tie through five and a half innings.
Jamie Fisher started the game looking to improve on her 18-2 season record. After four innings in the circle, Fisher was relieved of her duties after facing 15 batters where she allowed three hits and struck out four.
Senior Jaye Hutcheson returned to the circle to start the fifth inning looking to pick up her second win on the night. Hutcheson came out firing in her first inning of work allowing just a hit in the fifth before she ran into trouble in the sixth. Hutcheson gave up four runs (two earned) in the sixth before being relieved by Jessica Severinsen. Severinsen closed the game seeing six Hawkeyes at the plate allowing just two hits.
The Panthers will take the field again this weekend in Carbondale, Ill., taking on Southern Illinois in a three game conference series. The road trip will complete the Panthers away games in regular season play before wrapping up the regular season along with conference play May 5-6 at Robinson Dresser Field with a three-game series against Illinois State.