Panthers have record setting Saturday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panthers have record setting Saturday

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Des Moines, Iowa - The UNI softball team swept a doubleheader over intra-state rival Drake today at Buel Field in Des Moines. With the doubleheader sweep, the Panthers improve to 15-10 in Missouri Valley Conference play and 34-20 overall, while the Bulldogs fall to 12-10 in MVC play and 29-20 overall. The 15 MVC wins by the Panthers breaks the previous single-season record of 13 MVC wins set by the 2001 team. This is also the first time since 1996 the Panthers have won 34 regular season games.

Game One: UNI 2, Drake 1 (8 innings)

It was the Jen Larsen show in game one of the doubleheader as she pitched a complete game six-hitter and went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, a home run, and drove in the game winning run as the Panthers edged Drake, 2-1, in eight innings. The Panthers scored the final two runs of the game to edge the Bulldogs for the second time this season in extra innings.

Bulldog ace Jenna DeLong (18-11) took the loss after pitching a complete game five-hitter. DeLong allowed one earned run and struck out eight Panther batters, while also going 1-for-3 at the plate with one RBI.

The Bulldogs scored their first and only run of the game in the opening inning on DeLong's RBI single through the left side of the infield. DeLong drove in Torey Craddock who singled earlier in the inning.

The Panthers finally knotted up the score at 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning after Larsen hammered a solo home run over the left field fence.


Both teams went down in order in the seventh inning to extend the game to extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, freshman Mackenzie Daigh reached base on a Bulldog error and advanced to second. Larsen then drove in the game winning on a single up the middle to give the Panthers their first lead of the contest.

Larsen was able to retire the Bulldogs in order in the bottom of the eighth inning to seal the victory for the Panthers.

Game Two: UNI 9, Drake 1 (6 innings)

The Panthers scored early and often as they cruised to a 9-1 win in six innings in game two of the doubleheader. In the win, UNI junior Rachel Gerking went 4-for-4 at the plate and drove in three RBI. Gerking has driven in 57 runs on the year, which is a new MVC single-season RBI record. The previous record of 55 RBI was set in 2004 by Illinois State's Brittany Mynsberge. Just one day after her birthday, senior Morgan Paulson gave herself an extra present as she went 3-for-3 at the plate and tied her career high with four RBI.

UNI redshirt freshman Melissa Tillett (7-8) picked up her second win of the season against Drake after pitching a complete game seven-hitter. Tillett allowed one earned run and struck out three batters. Brynne Dordel (10-9) took the loss after tossing 2 1/3 innings. Dordel scattered seven hits and allowed four earned runs.

The Panthers set the tone in the opening inning as Paulson's RBI single through the left side drove in the first run of the game.

The Panthers then added another run in the top of the second inning after senior Crystal Keiper's RBI fielder's choice drove in senior Brittney Balduf. Balduf led off the inning with a double.

The Panthers extended their lead to 4-0 after scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the third inning. Gerking drove in the first run of the inning on a single and Paulson's sacrifice fly drove in the second run.

The Panther offensive fireworks continued in the top of the fifth inning after Jen Larsen launched her second home run of the doubleheader. The homer was Larsen's ninth of the season and her 25th of her career, which moves the junior into a tie for second UNI's career home run list.

The Panthers scored four more runs in the top of the sixth inning to push the score to final margin of 9-1. Gerking's two-RBI single in the inning broke the MVC single-season RBI record, and Paulson also added a two-RBI single in the inning.

Notes: The 15 MVC wins is a new single-season school record for the Panthers. The previous single-season record for MVC wins (13) was set in 2001...The Panthers won their 34th regular season game for the first time since 1996...UNI junior Rachel Gerking drove in her 57th RBI of the season, which is a new MVC single-season record. The previous MVC single-season record for RBI was set in 2004 when Illinois State's Brittany Mynsberge drove in 55 runs...Gerking was intentionally walked twice in game one of the doubleheader and had her 15-game hitting streak come to a halt...Larsen hit two home runs in the doubleheader, which moves her career total to 25 home runs ranking her in a tie for second on UNI's career home run list. Larsen needs four more home runs to tie Jody Dean's (1996-99) career home run record...Senior Morgan Paulson tied her career high with four RBI in game two of the doubleheader. Paulson also drove in four runs earlier this year against Missouri State (3/14)...The Panthers are 6-2 in extra inning games...The Panthers are 3-0 against Drake this year.

Up Next: The Panthers will wrap up their regular season slate tomorrow at noon against the Bulldogs.

 


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