CARBONDALE, Ill. — Emma Olejniczak fired a one-hitter as Northern Iowa stormed back from a heartbreaking loss to take the second game of Saturday’s Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader at Southern Illinois.
The Salukis (28-21, 11-12) rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 4-2 walk-off victory in game one before the Panthers (26-24, 11-12) answered with a 6-1 win as both teams clinched berths in the MVC tournament.
In the opener, Ashley Chesser belted a two-run homer in the fourth for 2-0 UNI lead that pitcher Brooke Craig carried into the seventh.
A pair of one-out singles and a fielder’s choice put runners at first and second with two outs. Katelyn Massa’s single and an outfield error scored both runners to tie game, and Jenny Jansen followed with a two-run homer to end it.
In game two, UNI grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first. Southern tied it in the second, but the Panthers went up 2-1 in the third and then broke it open with a four-run fourth.
Kennedy Bailey doubled and knocked in three runs for UNI while Olivia Brooks had two hits and two RBIs and Courtney Krodinger also had two hits.
The teams wrap up the series and the regular season at 11 a.m. Sunday.
S. Illinois 4-1, UNI 2-6
N. Iowa 000 200 0 — 2 6 2
S. Illinois 000 000 4 — 4 9 1
Craig and Chesser. Jones and Massa. WP — Jones (23-7). LP — Craig (14-11). HR — Chesser (UNI), Jansen (SIU).
N. Iowa 101 400 0 — 6 6 0
S. Illinois 010 000 0 — 1 1 1
Olejniczak and Chesser. Dover, Brown (4) and Hodo. WP — Olejniczak (5-6). LP — Dover (5-13). 2B — Bailey (UNI). HR — Massa (SIU).
Records: UNI 26-24, 11-12. Southern Illinois 28-21, 11-12.