Panther Softball starts tourney with 3 straight wins - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panther Softball starts tourney with 3 straight wins


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa- The UNI softball team won its third consecutive game of the Ramada UNI-Dome Classic and the season Sunday, defeating North Dakota 11-9. The win marks the Panthers' first 3-0 start since 2002 and their third comeback victory in a row.

There were a total of four lead changes in the contest. North Dakota began it all in the first inning with a trio of runs. After Panther pitcher Eranne Daugharthy walked Kristi Alcorn and Nicole Puerling, Alcorn scored off of a Hannah-Rose Peters single. Puerling crossed home two batters later with Peters as Erica Younan smacked a ground-rule double off the glove of UNI left fielder Hannah Borschel.

UNI fought back in the bottom of the second with three runs of their own. After being walked, Daugharthy advanced to second on a Rachel Gerking single, then scored the very next at bat as Morgan Paulson drove her in with an RBI single. Paulson and Lindsay Callanan, pinch-running for Courtney Dunker, crossed home plate moments later as Crystal Keiper drove a two-RBI single, tying the score at three apiece.

The Fighting Sioux responded quickly in the top of the third. Hannah-Rose Peters reached on a single then trotted home after Amber Roth hit a two-run homer to put UND up 5-3. Following the inning, junior Sarah Bakey replaced Daugharthy at pitcher. The sophomore Daugharthy gave up five runs on four hits in her first career start as a Panther.

The Panthers finally tipped the scale in their favor in the bottom of the third with a three-run inning. Hannah Borschel led off the side with a walk, stole second and was driven in by a Jen Larsen single the very next at bat. Rachel Gerking then cleared the bases with a two-run home run. The knock, Gerking's second of the season, put the Panthers up 6-5.

North Dakota took no time taking back the lead as they went on a four-run tear in the top of the fifth. Consecutive singles by Peters and Roth were topped off by a three-run home run, compliments of Younan. Maggie O'Neal scored later in the inning as Abby Rehberger delivered a sacrifice fly, giving the Fighting Sioux a 9-6 lead.

Paulson and Keiper gave UNI two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Angie Steil's two-RBI single led in the pair of Panthers. At the end of five, the Panthers trailed 8-9.

Into the top of the sixth inning, the Panthers entered junior ace Jen Larsen to pitch. From that point, UNI held UND scoreless for the remainder of the contest. In two innings, Larsen gave up zero runs on no hits with four strike-outs. The junior improved to 2-0 on the season.

With the defense on lock-down, it was up to the Panther offense to regain the lead once and for all. The Sioux helped out Borschel in the bottom of the sixth as she led off the side, reaching on an infield error. The next two batters, Larsen and Brittney Balduf, then made UND pay, belting back-to-back homers. Larsen's home run, bringing in two runs, was the 17th of her career. Larsen ended the game with a team-high three RBIs, and has a team-leading eight RBIs in three games.  

Two of the last three outs of the contest came from Larsen strike-outs as the Panthers closed out the game in the top of the seventh with an 11-9 win.

This was the first of three meetings to take place this season between Panthers and Fighting Sioux. The Panthers will host North Dakota on April 17 in a double-header.


The Panthers have knocked a home run in every game so far this season.  In three games, UNI has hit six home runs. Larsen, Balduf, and Gerking all had homers in the game.

The Panthers scored over 10 runs for the second time in three games, and are averaging 9.6 runs a contest. UNI is also averaging 12.6 hits a game.

Senior Morgan Paulson recorded a career high in hits with four.

Rachel Gerking hit her second home run of the season. The junior also tied her career high in hits for the sixth time, posting three.

UNI leads the all-time series versus UND, 3-1.

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