Panthers Face Double Header Against UNF
Courtesy: UNI Athletics Communications  
Release: Sunday 03/14/2012
The University of Northern Iowa softball team faced a pair of games Tuesday afternoon in Jacksonville, Fla., against the Ospreys of North Florida. UNI entered the day holding on to a 13-7 record following the USF Under Armour Classic held earlier this week in Clearwater, Fla.  

Entering game one of the pair, the Panthers sent sophomore Jamie Fisher to the circle hoping to improve on her 7-0 record on the rubber this season. Fisher came out firing as usual sending three up, three down in the first two innings not allowing the Ospreys a hit, a feeling the sophomore from Conrad, Iowa, is all too familiar with.

At the plate the Panthers came out swinging in the first inning hoping to put points on the board. Laura Turner got the bats going for the Panthers with a single down the left field line. Senior Hannah Borschel followed Turner's hit with a double to right center field putting the Panthers in scoring position. Despite a valiant effort the Panthers fell short of putting a run on the board but came out in the third with plenty of fire power. Third basemen Whitney Plein and right fielder Emma Plese got the inning started reaching base on a pair of walks. Junior catcher Samantha Reimer took her turn at the plate sending a double to left field followed by a Mackenzie Daigh single to send Reimer across the plate as well and put the Panthers up 3-0 entering the bottom of the second.

As the Panthers kept the Ospreys quiet through the second and third innings the 3-0 lead began to fade in the fourth inning. Following four hits paired with an error the Panther's found themselves in a tied ball game all squared up at 3-3. Following the North Florida runs, the Panther defense held together and put the Ospreys rally to rest and got out of the inning.

In a tied ball game entering the top of the fifth, UNI was limited to opportunities to score at the plate. Laura Turner stepping into the box got the bats going with a single to right field. Hannah Borschel kept the Panthers going as she singled to left advancing Turner. An Aly Zembruski ground out kept the bats going as she reached on a fielder's choice which sent Turner to third but resulted in Borschel being thrown out at second. Senior Allison Galvin finished off the Panther's scoring as she sent a single to the left side allowing Turner to cross the plate and hand the Panthers a 4-3 lead.

As the Panthers headed in to the final innings of game one the hits became harder to come by. Unable to come up with a run in the sixth and seventh innings the Panthers had to rely on the defense to hold the Ospreys off the board if they were going to win. Just a one run lead was familiar territory for the Panthers however the seventh inning proved to be too much for UNI. With an error and a sacrifice bunt leaving Ospreys in scoring position the Panthers were handed a triple from North Florida that sent two runs across the plate putting a dagger in the Panthers hopes of holding onto the lead. Jamie Fisher finished the game tossing seven full innings while facing thirty batters, allowing eight hits, five runs, and striking out four in the process.~

In game two of the matchups the Panthers were in need of a win not wanting to face a pair of losses on the road. Senior Jaye Hutcheson took the rubber for the Panthers and got in the zone early. Allowing just one hit in the first three innings Hutcheson was off to a fast start while keeping the Ospreys off the board. 

At the plate the UNI got the bats started in the second inning with a Gina Brown single to left field that got the Panthers on base, following a wild pitch and an error by the shortstop pinch runner for Brown, McKena Carlson displayed her speed and crossed the plate for the Panthers putting them on the board with a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Brown also helped put together a scoring inning in the fourth following a single that slipped into the outfield. Following the single senior Allison Galvin took her turn at the plate sending a double to the right side advancing Brown to third and putting the two in scoring position. With two outs in the inning Melissa walls a junior transfer from Kirkwood stepped in the box coming through with a single to left field that allowed brown to cross the plate and put the Panthers on the board with a 2-0 lead.

With the Panthers hanging on to a 2-0 advantage as they entered the bottom of the fourth, Jaye Hutcheson and the defense returned to the field trying to keep hold of the lead. A bit of a rough start for Hutcheson led to a walk for the Ospreys on four straight pitches followed by a pop fly to third basemen Whitney Plein and a triple which allowed one run across bringing the game to within one.  After the shaky start the defense settled in and kept North Florida off the boards until the seventh. With one out in the inning a pair of singles and a walked runner led to an Osprey run across the board resulting in a tied ball game at 2-2 which held as the Panthers found their way out of the inning with out number three coming from a Hutcheson strikeout.

Entering the top of the eighth in an International Tie Breaker, the Panthers had to send junior Haley Kriener back to second base as a base runner because she was the Panthers final out from the previous inning. With a runner automatically in scoring position, the Panthers sent senior Mackenzie Daigh to the plate. The Ospreys wasted no time going after Kriener and allowed Daigh to reach on a fielder's choice getting out number one. Following a ground out to the short stop and a fly ball to center field the Panthers were sent back out to the field to play defense and keep the Ospreys off the board.

With the Ospreys sending out their base runner to second they were at the plate and came out swinging. Allowing a hit and a bobbled ball in the outfield the Ospreys had runners at second and third. Following a fly ball to left field the Panthers collected their first out and still had life. Despite the effort the Panthers showed the Ospreys of North Florida overcame UNI once again following a wild pitch that allowed a window of opportunity for the Ospreys to take for the win as the throw to the plate was a moment to late as the Ospreys sent their final base runner across home plate for the win. The Panthers record falls 3-4 on the week and 13-9 on the season. UNI will see action again Wednesday afternoon taking on Stetson in DeLand, Florida.


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