Panthers Earn First NCAA Tournament Win
Lincoln, Neb. - Northern Iowa earned the first NCAA Tournament victory in school history with a 2-1 win over Tulsa in an elimination matchup at the NCAA Lincoln Regional on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers (27-25) improved to 1-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to Saturday's 7 p.m. elimination matchup with Stanford. The winner of that game will face Nebraska in the regional final at 1 p.m. needing to defeat the Huskers twice in order to advance.
UNI scored the game's first run with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third inning. Three consecutive two-out singles did the damage, with Gina Brown's infield single scoring Caitlin Wnek.
Tulsa responded by loading the bases in the top of the fourth on back-to-back singles and a walk. Following a strikeout, Catherine Horner produced an RBI single to left to score Jill Barrett with the tying run, but on the play, Julie Kernen was thrown out at home attempting to score from second.
In the bottom of the third, a leadoff walk, a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt gave Northern Iowa runners at second and third with one out. A second hit batter then loaded the bases before Wnek drew a two-out walk to score Samantha Olson and give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
After UNI missed a scoring opportunity in the the bottom of the fifth, consecutive singles to begin the top of the sixth inning gave Tulsa the tying and go-ahead runners on base. But starting pitcher Jamie Fisher escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts and a ground out to third.
Fisher (22-14) earned a complete-game victory, scattering six hits while allowing just one run. Lacey Middlebooks (14-4) took the loss for Tulsa, which ended its season with a 42-16-1 record.