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College Softball: Former Charles City star Samantha Heyer fans thirteen batters in UNI Panthers’ shutout at Drake

DES MOINES - Samantha Heyer brought the heat in the circle on Tuesday afternoon with 13 strikeouts as UNI softball shutout the Drake Bulldogs by a score of 7-0 at Buel Field in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play.

DES MOINES – Samantha Heyer brought the heat in the circle on Tuesday afternoon with 13 strikeouts as UNI softball shutout the Drake Bulldogs by a score of 7-0 at Buel Field in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play.

Beginning the first game of a three-game series with the Bulldogs over the next three weeks, Northern Iowa took advantage of four Drake fielding errors and a solid hitting performance by the middle of the battling order to record its tenth consecutive win over its in-state conference rival.

UNI tested Drake starting pitcher Molly Hoekstra early as Kate Lappe reached base on a two-out walk and Addison McElrath reaching on an infield error in the first inning. Heyer responded with an efficient opening inning with three strikeouts and just a single hit allowed.

Taylor Hogan would put the Panther on the board in the second inning after a leadoff single to right-field and advancing on a passed ball. A groundout by Daryn Lamprecht would advance Hogan to third base with a wild pitch to Madison Parks bringing Hogan home to give UNI a 1-0 advantage. The Bulldogs would reach base on a two-out single by Skylar Rigby in the bottom of the inning, but would not muster any more offense as Heidi Wheeler struck out to end the second stanza, giving Heyer five punch outs through two innings.

Northern Iowa’s third inning would see the Panthers break the game open with Lappe drawing a one-out walk with McElrath singling to right-center and Kylee Sanders loading the bases on an error to second base. On a full count, Hogan slapped a bases clearing double to right-field to score two runs with pinch runner Makenna Kuper scoring on an outfielding error to extend the Panther lead to 4-0. Heyer matched her teammates’ efforts in the bottom of the third with a pair of strikeouts to retire the Bulldogs in order.

Following a scoreless fourth inning for UNI, Heyer shut down the Bulldogs after a one-out double by Abby Martin with back-to-back strikeouts. In the fifth, Sanders helped scratch a fifth Panther run across home plate as Lappe and McElrath led off the inning with consecutive base hits and a wild pitch by Hoekstra. Sanders would drive home Lappe on a sacrifice fly to center field, giving the purple and gold a 5-0 advantage. The UNI defense would work out of a jam in the bottom of the fifth, overcoming a Wheeler walk and Haylee Lehman single to keep Drake off the scoreboard with Heyer forcing Carey Koening into an inning-ending groundout after a 14-pitch plate appearance.

With a healthy lead, Parks reached base on an error by the Bulldog left-fielder, setting up a two-run home run by Alexis Pupillo to stretch the UNI lead to 7-0. After another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth by Drake, Heyer stifled the Bulldogs’ last chance at scoring in the seventh registering her 12th and 13th strikeouts to finish off the complete game shutout.

UNI improves to 19-13 overall on the season with the win, and 7-3 in league play. Both teams will meet for the second game of their three-game season series next Tuesday, April 16 at Robinson-Dresser Sports Complex in Cedar Falls.


The Panthers improve to 81-57 all-time with Tuesday’s win over Drake.
Samantha Heyer improves to 10-5 with her pitching victory, recording her third shutout win of the year and eighth complete game of 2024.
Heyer’s 13 strikeouts mark her fifth game this season with 11+ punchouts, one strikeout shy of her season-high of 14.
Alexis Pupillo’s sixth inning home run was her MVC-leading 13th of the year, as well as her conference-high 33rd and 34th runs batted in on the season.
Taylor Hogan recorded her 12th and 13th RBIs of the year with her third inning double.
Kylee Sanders fourth inning sacrifice fly was her seventh RBI of the year.

The Panthers return to the road to open a three-game weekend series at Bradley beginning Friday afternoon in Peoria. First pitch from OSF Healthcare Field is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT with live coverage available on ESPN+.

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