CEDAR FALLS — In a game where only one hit was produced, it was one of the simple things that proved to be the difference.
A one-out throwing error allowed Drake to score the only run as the Bulldogs rode Nicole Newman’s 13-strikeout, no-hit performance to a 1-0 Missouri Valley Conference victory over Northern Iowa Tuesday at Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex.
“There weren’t a lot of hits going on tonight, two good pitchers going at it,” UNI head coach Ryan Jacobs said.
The Bulldogs (34-13 overall, 19-1 MVC) scored their only run in the third inning. With one-out, UNI pitcher Jaclyn Spencer overthrew first base on a ground ball, allowing Abby Buie, who had reached on error, to score from second base.
“Yeah, I’d like that one back,” Spencer said. “That is something I’ve been working on and it is just a mind game with me right now.”
Other than that run, only one other baserunner reached second base in the game for either team, and that was a Taryn Pena leadoff double in the fourth.
“No question,” Jacobs added. “Jaci pitched well, played well.”
Newman and Spencer did an outstanding job of keeping their opponents off balance. Spencer walked three and struck out seven in taking the loss.
UNI’s only baserunner was a leadoff walk by Courtney Krodinger in the fifth inning, and Newman proceeded to strike out the next three batters — one of two times she struck out three in an inning.
“We knew going into it what we were up against with Newman,” Jacobs said. “She is a phenomenal pitcher. Probably one of the best the Valley has ever seen. You don’t get your hits in bunches against her, so we knew we were going to have to scratch and claw, wear her down a little bit and hope to get that one big hit.
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“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it and we gave them that freebie.”
UNI (22-19, 13-7) now turns its attention to a key MVC weekend series when it hosts Southern Illinois. The Salukis (28-12, 12-6) and Panthers are fighting to finish second in the league standings with six conference games remaining for both squads.
“We have another challenge ahead of us,” Jacobs said. “The good thing is we can take care of our own business. We don’t have to worry about anybody else doing anything for us.”
Saturday’s opening doubleheader starts at noon at Robinson-Dresser.
Drake 1, UNI 0
Drake 001 000 0 — 1 1 0
No. Iowa 000 000 0 — 0 0 2
Nicole Newman and Gabbie Jonas. Jaclyn Spencer and Ashley Chesser. WP — Newman (21-6), LP — Spencer (6-2). 2B — Pena (Drake).
Records: UNI 22-19, 13-7. Drake 34-13, 19-1.