Panthers split doubleheader - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panthers split doubleheader

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WATERLOO, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa baseball team split a double-header against North Dakota, winning a seven-inning game 7-6 in the opener and falling 12-4 in the second contest Saturday afternoon at Riverfront Stadium. The teams will conclude the series on Sunday at 12 p.m.

            Jeff Taliaferro and Travis Bennett each tallied a pair of hits in the first game, and Cory Ege led UNI with three RBIs. Brian de la Torriente (2-1) earned the victory for the Panthers, giving up three runs in 4.0 innings of work. Shuhei Fujiya earned his eighth save of the season, his ninth of his career, putting him in a tie for third in the UNI records in both categories.

            In game two, Levi Ferguson, Jason Summers and Grant Grgurich each tallied a pair of hits. Grgurich also notched two RBIs in game two. Carlos Pinedo (2-7) was charged with the loss. The loss in game two ended a five-game win streak for UNI, a season long for the Panthers.

The Panthers saw their first seven batters reach safely and eventually score in game one. Levi Ferguson drove the opening pitch of the bottom of the first into the gap in left center for a double. Brett Douglas followed with a single through the left side that scored Ferguson and gave UNI an early 1-0. Travis Bennett connected for a single through the right side, and Jason Summers drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Jeff Taliaferro singled up the middle to score Douglas and keep the bases loaded. James Dinizo singled into left to score Bennett. Cory Ege hit a bases-clearing double to stretch the UNI advantage to 6-0. Ege moved to third on a ground out, and he scored to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

            Andrew Gudmunson followed a single by Aaron Cook with a home run to left, putting UND on the board in the top of the fourth, 7-2. Jake Magner hit an RBI double into right field in the top of the fifth to cut the UNI lead to 7-3.

            Ryne Jungling drew a full-count walk, and Josh Nelson connected for a double into left to give UND runners on second and third with one out. Daniel Ross grounded out to short to score Jungling, and Jabby Bakhit doubled down the right field line to score Nelson, making it a 7-5 contest. Josh Lagein singled up the middle to score Bakhit. Douglas tracked down a long fly ball of the bat of Andrew Marek to end the inning with UNI protecting a one-run lead.

            Shuhei Fujiya retired the side in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win for UNI.

            The Panthers outhit UND 11-10 in game one, and UNI stranded six runners, compared to five for North Dakota.

            Josh Lagein led off game two with a triple down the left field line. Andy Sadler drew a walk to give UND runners on the corners with nobody out. Jake Magner hit a deep fly ball into center, and Lagein was able to tag and score on the play. Taliaferro threw out Sadler as he tried to steal second, and Carlos Pinedo got Marek to fly out to left to end the inning with UND leading, 1-0.

            Andrew Gudmunson doubled to lead off the top of the second. Aaron Cook drew a walk, and Josh Nelson put down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners. Ross singled through the left side to score Gudmunson, and Bakhit singled up the middle to score Cook and give UND a 3-0 lead. Lagein drew a walk to load the bases with one out, but reliever Reggie Hochstedler struck out Sadler and Magner to end the inning.

            Magner and Marek drew a pair of walks to lead off the top of the fifth. They advanced to second and third on a ground out. Magner scored on a wild pitch, and Nelson hit a two-out single into left to send Marek home. Chris Macek entered in relief, and he got Bakhit to ground out to short to end the inning with UND in front, 5-0.

            With two out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, Cook dropped a single near the line in right field to score a pair of runs. Nelson placed a triple in about the same spot in right to plate another pair. Ross struck out to end the inning with North Dakota leading 9-0.

            Summers led off the bottom of the sixth with a double off the wall in left center. Taliaferro followed with a double into left center to give the Panthers runners at second and third with nobody out. Kalvin Johnson drew a walk to load the bases, and Ege singled through the right side to score Summers and keep the bases loaded. Gabe Schultz hit a ground ball to the third baseman, and he threw home to get the force out on Taliaferro. Grant Grgurich doubled off the wall in center to send home Johnson and Ege, making it a 9-3 contest. Ferguson hit a ground ball right back at relief pitcher Jameson Benson, scoring Schultz and moving Grgurich to third. Benson got Douglas to ground into the double play to end the inning with UNI trailing, 9-4.

            Bakhit led off the top of the seventh with a single, and Sadler hit a single into center to give UND runners on the corners with one out. Magner flied out in foul territory, but Bakhit was able to tag and score on the play, giving North Dakota a 10-4 advantage.

            Chad Arp drew a pinch-hit, full count walk to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Summers singled into left center to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Taliaferro hit a sharp ground ball up the middle, but second baseman Bakhit was able to snag it, tag second and throw to first to turn the double play. Bakhit fielded a ground ball from Johnson to end the inning without allowing a Panther run.

            North Dakota added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to bring its lead to 12-4. The Panthers put their first two batters on safely in the bottom of the ninth, but Benson retired the next three batters to secure the victory for UND.

            North Dakota outhit UNI 15-10 in the game, and UND took advantage of 11 Panther walks. UND stranded 12 runners while the Panthers left 11 men on base.

            The Panthers have secured a split in the four-game series, but will look to get a series victory when the teams meet in the finale at noon on Sunday.

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