UNI Rallies Late to Take MVC Opener from Bears, 3-1
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Visiting UNI tallied all three of its runs over the final three innings to get past the Missouri State softball team, 3-1, Saturday afternoon in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both clubs at Killian Stadium. The Panthers got three hits apiece from Mackenzie Daigh and Allison Galvin, and Jamie Fisher held the Bears to five hits in a complete-game effort.
Daigh went 3-for-4 and scored the go-ahead run moments after tying the score with an RBI-single in the top of the fifth inning. Held in check by MSU starter Natalie Rose through the first four innings, the Panthers broke through with one out in the fifth to take control of the contest.
After Rose retired Samantha Reimer for her seventh strikeout of the day, Galvin reached via one of her three bunt singles to start a string of four straight hits for UNI. Daigh followed with a double down the right field line to drive home Galvin with the tying run and moved over to third on the throw to the plate. Next, Hannah Borschel came through with a single up the middle to bring in Daigh with what would prove to be the game-winning run. Rachel Gerking delivered the fourth consecutive UNI hit, and Courtney Dunker drew a walk before Rose fanned Eranne Daugharthy and got Whitneyh Plein on a pop-up to end the inning.
UNI tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh, when Dunker clubbed her fifth homer of the season on a 3-2 pitch with two out.
Fisher (8-3) wouldn't need the cushion, as the freshman cruised throughout the day, allowing just a Raeven Replogle solo homer in the bottom of the second inning. She would strike-out four Bears while walking just one in her first career Valley start.
Rose (5-8) worked her way out of trouble in both the first and third innings, relying on the strikeout in each case to squash UNI scoring threats. The Panthers got a lead-off single from Daigh, followed by a Borschel walk in the first to put Rose under the gun right away. But the junior responded with three straight strikeouts to avoid any damage.
UNI (14-11) threatened again in the third after Galving dropped her first single of the afternoon down the third base line, and Daigh lined base hit through the right side with nobody out. Borschel failed to move either over, popping up a bunt attempt for the first out of the frame. It appeared as though it wouldn't matter when Gerking drilled a hard single to straight-away center with the speedy Galvin rounding third with the potential tying run.
But Tyler Porter fired a perfect strike to Madison Hargrove at the plate to cut down Galvin, and Rose got Dunker to swing and miss at a third strike to strand two more baserunners.
Ashley Knehans led the Bears' offense with two hits in three at-bats, while Replogle's first home run in nearly two years provided the only scoring for Missouri State (9-10).
The second game of Saturday's scheduled doubleheader was suspended with the score tied 1-1 in the top of the third inning due to inclement weather. The two clubs will play their third and final game of the series immediately following the completion of today's suspended contest, which is slated to resume at noon Sunday at Killian.