LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Northern Iowa (2-3) racked up 20 hits and got a solid start from Nick Kirk on Thursday afternoon to down the Trojans 14-1 at Gary Hogan Field. Brett Douglas led the Panthers with a 4-for-5 effort, four RBI and three runs scored.
Kirk held the Trojans to one run off six hits and a walk in 7.0 innings to even his record at 1-1. Brett Douglas put the Trojans away with a three-run homer in the eighth, which Brett Featherstone followed up two batters later with a two-run shot to left.
UNI went scoreless over the first three innings, but scored in each of the next five, including a six-run outburst in the top of the eighth.
UALR senior David Klumpp (0-2) opened the game with three scoreless frames, facing just 10 batters, but ran into trouble in the fourth and fifth as UNI plated two runs each inning to take a 4-1 lead.
Klumpp left the game in the seventh, having allowed 10 hits and seven runs (five earned) over 6.2 innings of work. The Waco, Texas-native finished with seven strikeouts against zero walks in the game.
UALR took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after sophomore Brad Swiderski sparked the team with a double off the wall in center. Swiderski came around to score, when junior T.J. King followed with a run-scoring single through the right side.
After being held scoreless over the first three innings, the Panthers’ bats came to life as UNI scored two runs in each of the next two innings to take a 4-1 lead. Chris Lopez put UNI on the board in the top of the fourth, with a RBI double over the head of right fielder Matt Apfel. Brett Douglas followed with a RBI base knock to left to put the Panthers ahead, 2-1.
The Panthers pushed across two more runs in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 4-1. With runners on the corners and one out, Matt Davis delivered a perfect sacrifice bunt to score Travis Hendrix from third. Brandon Douglas capped off the frame with a two-out, RBI double to right to make it a 4-1 contest.
UNI tacked on a run in the top of the sixth, compliments of a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Eddie Almonte, to take a 5-1 lead. The Panthers added three more runs in the seventh (all unearned), to go on top 8-1.
Leading 8-1 at the start of the eighth, the Panthers scored six more runs before the Trojans were able to record a single out. Pinch-hitter Cory Ege led off the inning with a triple to right, and came around to score on a single by Brandon Douglas. Leading 9-1, Brett Douglas ripped a three-run homer to left center to make it a 12-1 game. Featherstone capped off the scoring two batters later with a two-run homer to left.
The two teams return to action on Friday at 3 p.m. for the second game of the four-game series.