Saluki softball’s offense goes dormant in doubleheader sweep to UNI


Morgan Timms

Sophomore pitcher Brianna Jones pitches Wednesday, March 29, 2017, during the Salukis’ 4-0 loss to SIUE at Charlotte West Stadium. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

In its three games last weekend at Illinois State, Saluki softball scored 26 runs. So far this weekend, no such repeat is in progress.

SIU could only muster a combined seven hits Saturday, dropping both ends of a doubleheader to UNI in Cedar Falls.

Panther freshman pitcher Jaci Spencer (8-5) held the Salukis scoreless in the first game, which eventually resulted in a 4-0 victory for UNI. She kept Saluki batters guessing all game, striking out nine in the process of her second career shutout.


Her counterpart, Saluki sophomore Brianna Jones (9-9), was not as lucky. Jones allowed seven hits and three across her seven innings of work, in addition to the four runs allowed.

Three of UNI’s four runs came off the bat of junior first baseman Kennedy Bailey, who hit an RBI double in the second and again in the fourth which scored two runs.

To make matters worse for Jones, Spencer herself hit a home run in the sixth inning to add some insurance to the Panthers’ lead.

Offensively, things didn’t get better in the second game. This time around UNI senior pitcher Alyssa Buchanan carried a no-hitter into the final inning. The Panthers won the game 5-2.

UNI got all the runs it needed in the second inning, scoring three off Saluki starter Savanna Dover.

Again, a Panther pitcher helped herself out with a bat, bringing home the first run of the game after beating out a double play with the bases loaded. Junior left fielder Brittney Roby brought home two more runs later that inning on a double.

SIU was able to manufacture a run in the fifth inning on an RBI groundout from sophomore left fielder Eyrika Brandenburg after Buchanan hit two batters and walked another to load the bases.


That run was earned right back in the bottom of the inning, plus another on a two-run home run by senior catcher Anna Varriano.

The Saluki bats woke up a bit in the final inning, starting with a home run from freshman right fielder Susie Baranski. After a double from senior first baseman Shaye Harre and single from senior right fielder Merri Anne Patterson, freshman catcher Katelyn Massa came to the plate representing the tying run, but grounded out to end the game.

Overall on the day, UNI nearly had as many extra-base hits (6) as SIU had total hits (7).

The Salukis will try to turn it around at 11 a.m. Sunday with one more game against UNI to wrap up the weekend.

Sports writer Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SeanMCarley.

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