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Northern Iowa University

VALPARAISO, Ind. — UNI’s 11-game win streak was snapped Saturday afternoon when Valparaiso scored five runs in the final two innings and defeated the Panthers 5-4 at the Valpo Softball Complex.

Northern Iowa was able to score four runs in the first two innings and hold off scoring threats in the third, fourth and fifth innings before the Beacons stormed back, ending their own 18-game skid and earning just their second all-time victory against UNI.

Facing Beacons’ starting pitcher Caitlyn Kowalski, the Panther Bats started the day well with three extra base hits, led by a Madison Parks double and Kate Lappe home run for a 2-0 lead. Valparaiso would make a change to the circle after just one inning, bringing Sydney McDermont into the lineup.

In the second frame, a Daryn Lamprecht walking, single and parks Alexis Pupillo hit by the pitch would load the bags for a sacrifice fly by Lappe to score the pinch-runner Gretta Hartz from the third. Parks would come home a batter later on a wild throw into the outfield in an attempt to catch Pupillo stealing second, extending UNI’s lead to 2-0.

The Beacons would get at least one baserunner in each of the next three innings, as Northern Iowa was retired in order in the third and fourth and failed to score in the fifth on a lead-off single to left field from Addison McElrath and was put back in order in the top of the sixth inning.

In the sixth, Natalie Bush led off for Valparaiso by reaching base on an error by Sanders. After a Regi Hecker flyout flied out, Emily Crompton singled up the middle to round Bush and give the Beacons their first run of the series. Kim Rodas would reach base on a fielder’s choice, while Lexi Szostak put runners on the corners with a single to right field with only one out. Pinch ran for Rodas at third, Lauren Sena seized the opportunity and stole home plate, cutting UNI’s lead to 4-2 with one inning to play.

The Panthers couldn’t add any insurance runs after a two-out double by Faith Standerski in the top of the seventh inning. In the bottom half of the final frame, three Beacons reached base in a row on a single by Carson Kuhlman, a fielder’s choice by Kayla Skapyak and a single by Alexis Johnson. Bush would score Kuhlman on a single to right field, while Skapyak scored on a passed ball from Anna Wischnowski Unpleasant Savannah Jemilo to tie the match at 4-4. Hecker would end the game for Valparaiso with a walk-off single through the right side of the infield, bringing home Johnson for the 5-4 win.

The loss drops Northern Iowa to 30-16 and 16-6 in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play, while the Beacons improve to 9-38 and 3-18 in league action.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • UNI falls to 21-2 all-time against Valparaiso after Saturday’s loss, snapping a 14-game winning streak against the Beacons that dates back to 2018.
  • With Southern Illinois’ victory at Murray State on Saturday, the Panthers secured the two seed for next week’s MVC tournament in Normal, Illinois.
  • Anna Wischnowski was charged with the loss, falling to 13-7 on the year after going a complete game with five strikeouts and one walk, as well as ten hits and one earned run.
  • By Kate Lappe home run in the first inning was her sixth of the season and her career. She has also scored 29 runs this season.
  • Lappe’s performance on Saturday was her sixth game this season with multiple RBIs, including her fourth game with at least three runs batted in.
  • Madison Parks recorded her 12th multi-hit game of the season on Saturday with a three-hit game, including her third game of the year with at least three hits. Saturday also marked her first match since this year’s season opener against Western Illinois, where she recorded two doubles.

NEXT ONE
The Panthers conclude their series at the Beacons and the regular season Sunday afternoon with game three of the series at noon CT. Live coverage of the Valpo Softball Complex can be found on ESPN+.