CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois took their Missouri Valley Conference softball scrap indoors Saturday.
Forced into the UNI-Dome by poor weather, the Panthers and Salukis tangled deep into the night and still hadn’t settled things when the Courier went to press.
Southern Illinois won the first game 6-1, and the second game was tied 2-2 in the 11th inning in a key series between teams battling for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
In the opener, Brianna Jones shut down the UNI offense on five base hits, all in the final four innings.
The Salukis took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and added two more runs in the second to chase Panther starting pitcher Brooke Craig.
Erica Oler came on to shut down Southern for the next three innings, but UNI couldn’t break through against Jones.
A two-run double by Jenny Jansen pushed the Saluki lead to 5-0 in the top of the sixth and a solo homer by Jordan Spicer in the seventh made it 6-0.
The Panthers tried to rally in the sixth when Jenny Kohl and Brittney Krodinger singled, but Olivia Brooks lined into a double play to end that threat. Courtney Krodinger finally got UNI on the board in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff homer.
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Southern Illinois plated single runs in the first and sixth innings of game two and carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth.
That’s when UNI rallied to tie it. Courtney Krodinger started the bottom of the seventh with a single and Ashley Chesser walked. The Salukis called on Jones in a relief role, but she walked Adara Opiola to load the bases.
Jones got the next two batters out with no damage done, but Jenny Kohl delivered a clutch two-out hit for the Panthers to score the tying runs.
Southern Ill. 6, UNI 1
Southern Ill. 120 002 1 — 6 10 0
North. Iowa 000 000 1 — 1 5 0
Jones and Massa. Craig, Oler (2) and Chesser. WP — Jones (19-7). LP — Craig (5-3). 2B — Jansen (SIU), Wood (SIU). HR — Spicer (SIU), C. Krodinger (UNI).