The University of Northern Iowa softball team continued its winning ways by sweeping a doubleheader on the road against Indiana State. The Panthers moved to 5-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play following the two-game sweep of the Sycamores.
UNI (19-9 overall) sent sophomore Jamie Fisher to the circle to start game one. Fisher, coming off a pair of wins last weekend against Evansville, looked to improve on her 9-1 season record. Fisher got off to a bumpy start walking her first batter but quickly settled in retiring the next three batters.
At the plate, the Panthers had a tough start getting the bats going but managed to get one run across in the first. Left fielder Hannah Borschel sparked the offense reaching base on an error followed by a Laura Turner RBI double to center field. The second inning was a similar story as the Panthers continued to cash in on Sycamore errors. A trio of errors from Indiana State and a walk led to five Panther runs, three of which were unearned.
Fisher continued to keep the Sycamores off the board nearly the entire game with the help of her defense. Fisher allowed just one unearned run in her four innings pitched. She allowed three hits, and struck out four before handing over the game ball to Jessica Severinsen to close the game.
With two outs in the fifth, the Panthers managed to string together five runs to put the Panthers up with an 11-1 advantage over the Sycamores. Laura Turner led the Panthers with three RBI in game one while Mackenzie Daigh and Haley Kreiner each added a pair of their own. Gina Brown finished the game strong going 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles as the Panthers rolled into the bottom of the fifth with plenty of cushion for Severinsen to work off with.
Severinsen retired the Sycamores in order after a leadoff single in the fifth.
In game two the Panthers looked to keep their win streak alive. Senior Jaye Hutcheson took the circle for the Panthers looking to pick up her sixth win on the season. Despite walking her first batter she was quick to recover and got the Panthers out of the inning shortly. She faced 12 batters before allowing her first and only hit of the game which came in the fourth inning.
At the plate the Panthers struggled to put the bats together not earning a run until the fifth inning. Hannah Borschel's single sparked a two-run inning where Courtney Dunker doubled, allowing Borschel to display her speed beating the throw to the plate which in turn allowed Dunker to advance to third. Following an error that allowed senior Whitney Plein to cross the plate, Dunker scored giving the Panthers a two run advantage.
The Panthers fell short of adding to their lead in the fifth but came out swinging in the seventh with plenty of fire power getting five runs across the board to take a 7-0 lead. Junior Haley Kriener along with seniors Leah Embrey, Allison Galvin, Mackenzie Daigh, and Whitney Plein all crossed the plate accounting for the late push. Whitney Plein led the Panthers at the plate going 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Hutcheson continued to impress on the rubber tossing a full seven innings where she allowed one hit, no runs and struck out seven while picking up her sixth win of the season. Hutcheson improved to 6-6 on the season as the Panthers picked up their sixth consecutive win.
The Panthers will take the field again tomorrow afternoon in game three of the series vs. Indiana State at noon in Terre Haute, Ind.