CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The UNI softball team came up just short in its attempt to sweep the three-game series against the Shockers this afternoon at the Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex. BreAnna Brown's solo home run in the top of the fourth inning provided the winning run as the Shockers edged the Panthers, 3-2. The loss drops the Panthers to 10-6 in Missouri Valley Conference play and 28-14 overall, while the Shockers improve to 6-9 in MVC play and 16-24 overall.
Brianna Smet (5-6) earned the win for the Shockers after pitching 4 complete innings and allowed six hits and two earned runs. UNI junior Jen Larsen (15-7) took the loss after pitching a complete game 11-hitter.
The Shockers scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the second inning on Tiffany Dahlquist's two-RBI single to center field to jump in front, 2-0. The Panthers halted the Shockers from scoring more runs after Jessica Spencer grounded out into a double play to end the inning.
Then less than 24 hours after UNI junior Rachel Gerking three-run walk-off home run to win game two of yesterday's doubleheader; Gerking laced another home run in her first at-bat of the game in the bottom of the second inning to plate the first run of the game for the Panthers. The homer was her Gerking's ninth of the season and her 12th of her career. Gerking has drive in 43 RBI on the season and needs just two more RBI to break UNI's single season RBI record.
Senior Brittney Balduf also added another Panther solo home run in the bottom of the second to even the score at 2-2. Balduf ranks second in the MVC with 10 home runs this season and the homer was her third of the week.
Brown pushed the Shockers back in front for good, 3-2, in the top of the fourth inning after her solo home run to left center started the inning. The homer was Brown's second of the season.
The Panthers tried to push the tying run across the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning, but senior Crystal Keiper was gunned down at home and Gerking struck out with runners on first and third to end the inning.
Notes: The Panthers have hit a school record 45 home runs, which ties them for the 8th most home runs in a season on the MVC single season team home run list...Brittney Balduf ranks second in the MVC with 10 homers this season and Rachel Gerking ranks third in the MVC with nine homers... Balduf and Gerking have both homered in the same game four times this season...Gerking drove in her MVC-leading 43rd RBI of the season and needs two more RBI to break UNI's single season school record...Jen Larsen allowed 11 hits in the contest, which tied her season high...The Panthers have never swept three opponents in one season since the MVC switched from two-game to three-game series in 2001.
Up Next: The Panthers will travel to Peoria, Ill., on Tuesday, April 14, to play Bradley at 4 p.m. The Panthers dropped a doubleheader earlier this season to the Braves in Cedar Falls on April 1. The Braves edged the Panthers in game one, 9-8, and took game two, 7-3.