UNK Softball drops home opener to Missouri Southern

Lions sweep the Lopers in Friday’s action
Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Sophomore Bailey Lacey threw a complete game four-hitter and senior second baseman Makaila Leonhart hit a two-run homer to help Missouri Southern State take a double header from Nebraska-Kearney, 5-4 and 6-1, Friday evening at Patriot Park.

These were the Lopers first home games in 391 days. On a day with winds blowing close to 30 miles per hour, Missouri Southern (14-10, 5-3) pushes it’s win streak to six in a row while UNK falls to 10-15 (1-8). Kearney also is now 6-7 in games decided by two runs or less.

“Offensively we just got to get things going. We’ve got to be better at the plate and have better approaches. We know who we can be ... I believe we’re one of the top offensive teams in the MIAA. I believe that. But we are struggling a little bit right now,” said UNK skipper Katie Ackermann. “We have to find some consistency. Offense is our identity and we’ve kind of lost that over the last few days.”

Lacey (3-1) led the way in the nightcap as she fanned eight and walked one in throwing only 68 pitches. She limited UNK to four singles and had six straight shutout innings. Leonhart, from the three-hole, hit her second dinger of the year in the top of the fourth. MSSU was already up 3-1 thanks to two unearned runs in the third and an unearned run in the first.

Lincoln junior Kelsey Goodban threw four strong innings of relief, allowing one earned while fanning four and walking none. Offensively, Lincoln junior shortstop Abbie Vodicka went 1 for 3 and scored once.

The first game featured nine combined runs on 14 hits, six errors and five walks. A four-run Lion fifth saw Leonhart (3 for 3) bring home two with a two-out single to left with a leadoff walk starting the rally.

UNK countered with a three-run sixth but junior Abby Atkin (7-4) returned to the circle and got a foul out to left to keep the bases full. The Lopers, stranding nine overall, scored thanks to three MSSU errors, a single, walk and hit batter.

Omaha junior left fielder Bri Healy finished 2 for 4 with a run scored while Goodban threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Finally, Colorado senior Melissa Gellermann (2-5) suffered the loss but allowed only one earned over 5.2 innings.

UNK hosts the Pittsburg State Gorillas (10-18, 4-6) Saturday beginning at noon.

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