UNI powers over Jacks in home opener


When the SDSU and Northern Iowa softball teams hit the field for a doubleheader Wednesday, the games were certainly different in nature. However, the results didn’t change.

Plagued by weak pitching, the Jacks (7-24) dropped both halves of their home opener to the Panthers (22-15), 10-1 and 7-6, leaving the squad looking for answers to their struggles.

SDSU took an early lead in game one after Devon Reick scored on a Krista Honken bases-loaded walk, helping the Jacks to a 1-0 advantage after one inning of play. From there, however, UNI made the home run ball hurt the Jackrabbits, hitting four total at Jackrabbit Softball Stadium. Two of those homers came in the Panthers’ seven-run, fifth inning and put the game out of reach via the eight-run rule after five innings.

The Jacks managed just two hits off of UNI’s freshman pitcher Jamie Fischer, who struck out eight SDSU batters in five innings.

“I think we’re definitely capable of scoring more runs and helping our pitcher with her confidence. We definitely took a defensive approach to the plate and we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be,” said Jackrabbit head coach Joanna Lane.

Game two looked like more of the same early on, as UNI jumped out to 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Jackrabbits finally took command at the plate in the third inning when Honken scored on a bases-loaded walk and Allison Huffman smacked a line drive to right-center, clearing the bases and giving SDSU a 4-2 lead.

Playing with the lead was short-lived though, as Panther second baseman Livi Abney drilled her second home run of the day, tying the game at four in the top of the fourth. UNI pieced together three more runs for a 7-4 lead in the sixth inning and the Jacks touched the plate twice in the bottom of the inning.

SDSU had a shot to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh but were retired in order to end the game, dealing the Jacks their fifth straight loss. The Jacks feebly struck out nine times in the late game, including five times in the last four innings.

“We had a different approach [than in game one] but it was sporadic. We have a lot of youth in there and it’s starting to show at points. We had a great sixth inning and then we went down easy in the seventh and that shows where we are as far as our inconsistency,” Lane said.

The Jackrabbits will host Summit League leading Southern Utah on Friday and Saturday in Brookings.

“The biggest thing is pitching and it’s been the biggest thing all year. We’ve been able to score runs and we put a lot of pressure on our offense. We just have to continue to get better everyday and improve those little things,” Lane said.