The University of Northern Iowa women’s softball team took a pair of Missouri Valley Conference games at Robinson Dresser Field Saturday against the Missouri State Bears.
UNI (33-11, 17-1 MVC) scored a 5-1 victory in nine innings in the opener and then rallied for a 7-6 win in game two. UNI's 17 wins in the MVC this season sets a program record for MVC wins.
The Panthers sent sophomore pitcher Jamie Fisher to the circle to improve on her 15-1 record in game one. With what turned out to be a pitcher’s dual Fisher tossed a strong nine innings allowing just 2 hits and striking out 10 Bears in the process.
At the plate the Panthers had a tough time getting the bats going throughout the game. The Panthers remained in a scoreless ball game until the ninth inning. Collecting just four hits throughout the contest the Panthers were led by sophomore first basemen Gina Brown who went 2-for-5 at the plate including her walk off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
In game two the Panthers carried their momentum over at the plate putting together seven runs off 11 hits. Seniors Mackenzie Daigh and Whitney Plein along with sophomore Gina Brown each put together multi-hit performances while senior catcher Courtney Dunker also had a tacked on a three-run home run in the third to give the Panthers a 3-1 advantage.
In the circle senior Jaye Hutcheson (13-8) took control early on allowing just one hit through the first 3 innings. Hutcheson continued to work throughout the game keeping the Bears bats quiet despite giving up a three-run sixth inning which gave the Bears a 5-4 advantage. Answering back in the bottom half of the sixth the Panthers got three runs of their own across as they headed to the seventh with a 7-5 lead. With one run scored and two outs in the inning the Bears had managed to get runners at in scoring position. With a fly ball hit deep to right field junior Melissa Walls fired the ball to the plate just in time for Courtney Dunker to put the tag on the Bears tying run for the final out of the game.
With the two wins the Panthers improved to 33-11 on the season and 17-1 in MVC play. UNI will wrap up the three-game series with the Bears Sunday at Noon.