NORMAL, Ill. — Southern Illinois broke loose for four runs in the fourth inning and went on to upset top-seeded Northern Iowa 4-3 Saturday in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
The Salukis (33-22) earned the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament while the Panthers (33-19) will need an at-large bid to continue their season.
UNI scored first Saturday when Courtney Krodinger doubled and Brittney Roby knocked her in with a single.
Southern Illinois answered in the top of the fourth against Panther freshman Jaclyn Spencer. After loading the bases with two outs, Eyrika Brandenburg singled in two runs, another scored on a wild pitch and Shaye Harris knocked in the fourth with a single.
Bailey Lange homered in the fifth to cut UNI’s deficit to 4-2 and the Panthers got within 4-3 in the sixth when Roby singled, Macey Wolfe doubled and Kennedy Bailey delivered a sacrifice fly. Salukis reliever Savanna Dover got a pair of foul pop-ups to leave Wolfe stranded at third.
UNI’s Wolfe, Brittney Krodinger and Alyssa Buchanan were named to the all-tournament team.
Southern Ill. 4, UNI 3
Southern Ill. 000 400 0 — 4 7 0
N. Iowa 001 011 0 — 3 6 0
Jones, Dover (6) and Massa. Spencer, Buchanan (4) and Varriano. WP—Jones (18-12). LP—Spencer (15-8). Sv—Dover (1). 2B—Wolfe (UNI), C. Krodinger (UNI). HR—Lange (UNI).
Records: UNI 33-19, Southern Illinois 33-22.