Big Inning Again Spells Trouble for Bears in 11-4 Loss to UNI
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- UNI used the big inning once again Sunday (March 15) to earn an 11-4 victory over the Missouri State Bears, as well as a three-game sweep on the opening weekend of Missouri Valley Conference play at Killian Stadium. The Panthers’ seven-run third inning erased a 1-0 deficit and sent them on their way to their eighth win in their last nine outings.
UNI’s performance Sunday followed a doubleheader sweep of the Bears on Saturday, in which the Panthers scored three runs or more in four different innings. Their seven-run inning Sunday marked the third time in two days the Panthers scored at least six runs in a single frame. UNI, which improved to 17-5 and 3-0 in MVC play, outscored the Bears 34-14 in the three-game series.
Just as they did in their previous two games in the series, the Bears got on the board early with a single run in the first. However, MSU saw an opportunity for a big inning go by the wayside, as UNI starting pitcher Eranne Daugharthy worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam. MSU put their first four batters on base, as Jenna Schwark and Christa Gammon recorded singles and Jessie Smith walked, before Jen Carr’s infield single plated Schwark to make it a 1-0 game. But Daugharthy got Ashley Knehans to wave at a 3-2 offering, then retired Jana Shewmaker on a line-out and Raeven Replogle on a tapper back to the circle to avoid further damage.
The Panthers recorded seven consecutive hits in their key inning Sunday, beginning with Megan Machovec’s one-out single up the middle off MSU starting pitcher Lauren McGinley (5-3). After infield singles by Mackenzie Daigh and Jen Larsen, Rachel Gerking drove home UNI’s first run of the contest with a base hit to center to tie the game at 1-1. Morgan Paulson followed with a two-run single, and Daugharthy and Brittney Balduf added run-scoring hits to stretch the UNI lead to 5-1.
After reliever Natalie Rose ended the string of hits by fanning Kelly Papesh, Lindsay Callanan singled to center to chase home Daugharthy and Balduf and cap the outburst.
Missouri State never seriously threatened from that point, plating three runs in the fourth on a Schwark RBI-single and a Smith sacrifice fly to right.
UNI, however, answered with three more runs in the top of the fifth to reclaim its seven-run cushion. Balduf led-off the inning with her second home run of the series, and Machovec added a run-scoring triple to highlight the frame.
Balduf and Callanan led the Panthers’ attack with three hits and two RBIs apiece, while Machovec, Gerking and Paulson each added two hits for UNI, which outhit the Bears by a 15-7 margin. Larsen relieved Daugharthy in the fourth inning and completed the contest to earn her eighth win of the season,
The Bears (9-10, 0-3 MVC) got two-hit days from Schwark and Ashley Arbon. McGinley shouldered the loss for MSU after allowing five runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Missouri State will be back in action Tuesday (March 17) when they host Oklahoma State in a 5 p.m. contest at Killian Stadium.