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Northern Iowa University

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — UNI softball earned a series victory with an 8-5 victory against UIC on a cloudy, cold Saturday afternoon at the Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex. Similar to Friday’s game, the Panthers raced to the lead early and then held on late to secure the win.

On Saturday, UNI took an 8-0 lead after three innings, a lead that was eventually reduced to 8-5 in the top of the sixth inning. However, Anna Wischnowski bounced back to complete her full game in the top of the seventh inning and secure the win for the Panthers.

Saturday’s game marked a historic moment for the Panther softball head coach Ryan Jacobs. The win marked the 487th coaching win of Jacobs’ career, moving him into sole possession of eighth place on the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) all-time coaching wins list. Savannah Jemilo also hit the first home run of her collegiate career and had a three-RBI performance in the Panthers’ three-run win.

The Panthers got an early run in the bottom of the first inning after recording back-to-back-to-back walks to start the game. UIC starting pitcher Alyssa McIntosh was then forced to retire Addison McElrath to create a pop-up with the bases loaded, but the ball was dropped by UIC shortstop Jazmyn Casas. The error is allowed Madison Parks scored from third base, but McElrath was ruled out due to the infield fly rule and Alexis Pupillo was thrown out on his way to third base.

McIntosh ultimately escaped the inning with only one run surrendered, but the Panthers worked quickly to increase their lead. UNI starting pitcher Anna Wischnowski worked a quick inning in the top of the second inning and the Panthers offense got going.

Ava Smithson led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run after McIntosh retired Taylor Hogan, Jemilo joined the party with an opposite field explosion. The Flames made a pitching change after Jemilo’s home run, but Kate Lappe extended the Panthers’ lead to 4-0 with an RBI single off Christina Toniolo.

The Flames did land two runners on base with two outs in the top of the third inning, but Wischnowski forced a groundout to end the half inning. UNI started the bottom of the third inning with runners on first and third base after back-to-back errors by UIC’s first baseman. Spent a walk on Taylor Hogan loaded the bases and brought Jemilo to the plate with no outs in the inning.

Jemilo promptly singled up the middle, scoring both Smithson and Sanders. And while Hogan was heading to third base on the play, an errant throw from UIC’s catcher rolled into the outfield, allowing a third run to be scored on the play. When the dust settled, the Panthers had a 7-0 lead and Jemilo was on third base.

Jemilo scored on a sacrifice fly from Daryn Lamprecht for UNI’s eighth and final run of the game.

The Flames were able to capitalize on UNI’s advantage, while UIC relief pitcher Carlee Jo Clark helped keep the Panthers off the board for the remainder of the game. UIC recorded the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning, but then scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Wischnowski stayed in the game after the Flames’ big inning, eventually slamming the door shut with a three-on-three down in the top of the seventh to secure a series win for the Panthers. UNI has now won four games in a row going into Sunday’s series finale.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  • Saturday’s victory marked the 487th career coaching win for Jacobs, moving him into sole possession of eighth place on the MVC softball all-time coaching wins list. He passed former Southern Illinois head coach Kay Brechtelsbauer for the honor.
  • Not only did Jemilo hit the first home run of her Panther career on Saturday afternoon, she also picked up the first three-RBI game of her collegiate career. Prior to Saturday, Jemilo’s previous single-game high for RBIs came with a two-RBI performance against Southeast Missouri State on Feb. 24.
  • Saturday marked Jemilo’s second multi-hit performance of his career.
  • Parks now has 38 walks this season after picking up a walk on Saturday afternoon. She entered the weekend ranked third nationally and No. 1 in the MVC with 0.97 walks per game. Parks, who broke the UNI softball walk record earlier this season, has walked 140 walks in her Panther career.
  • Parks now solely owns third place on the UNI softball single-season walk leaderboards. With 38 walks, she is one behind Sammey Bunch (39, 2021) for second place. Kennedy Bailey (2016) holds the program record with 44 hikes.
  • Smithson hit her fourth home run of the 2024 season on Saturday afternoon.
  • Lamprecht picked up her 79th career RBI on Saturday.
  • Wischnowski has 11 wins so far in 2024 and Saturday was her sixth full match of the season.
  • UNI has yet to sweep an MVC opponent this season and has the opportunity to do so on Sunday against the Flames.

NEXT ONE

The Panthers wrap up their series against the Flames on Sunday at noon. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.