UNK softball sweeps Northwest Missouri State in home opener

Local4 News at Ten Sunday
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 8:14 AM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (Press Release) - The Nebraska Kearney softball team belted five home runs, including a Grand Slam and going back-to-back twice, to sweep Northwest Missouri State, 16-12 and 10-2 (5 innings), Sunday afternoon at Patriot Park.

This was the home and MIAA opener for UNK. This weekend’s games were also pushed back two full days due to weather and field conditions. The Lopers (11-13, 2-0) host Missouri Western State (11-4, 1-1) on Monday starting at noon.

It wasn’t exactly spring weather as temperatures hovered in the high 20′s with a blustery wind blowing from right to left field about 25 miles throughout the day. Not surprisingly, the teams combined to issue 32 walks with several pop fly’s zig zagging around because of the winds.

The first game featured 28 runs on 26 hits (four doubles, three homers, one triple), 22 walks and three errors. UNK threw up a seven spot its half of the second thanks to a wind-aided RBI double by Omaha junior left fielder Abbie Jo Gaube and an RBI triple to left from Lincoln sophomore first baseman Leah Jurgens (2 for 4, two runs).

However, the Bearcats (13-9, 1-3) struck for four in the fourth and sixth in the fifth to take a seemingly safe 11-7 lead. The big innings featured a Grand Slam and two-run double from eight-hole hitter and catcher Lauren Gray (3 for 4, two runs & six RBI’s).The slugfest wasn’t done as UNK managed a nine-run fifth to seal the deal. A two-run single to right center from Lincoln junior center fielder Carly Dembowski started the Merry-Go-Round with a dropped outfield pop helping to extend the inning.

Lincoln sophomore right fielder Lyndsey Roth (2 for 3, three runs & five RBI’s) made Northwest pay for its mistake as she belted a Grand Slam to right, making it 15-11. California sophomore shortstop and leadoff hitter Sydney Thomason (4 for 4, three runs) followed with a dinger to left.Colorado junior lefty Madison Rosenthal earned her first win of the year by fanning three and allowing one earned over the final 2.2 innings. Finally, Colorado sophomore DP Jaiden Harteker went 2 for 3.

Northwest tallied two in its first at-bat in the nightcap to grab an early lead with Jadyn Streigle allowing just one run over the first four innings. However, Rosenthal worked around seven walks to give up just on earned run in a full three innings.Dembowski (3 for 4, one run & three RBI’s) had an RBI single in the third before UNK erupted for nine in the fifth. That game-clinching onslaught featured a two-run shot from Dembowski, a three-run long ball from Jurgens and a solo shot from Thomason (3 for 4, two runs & three RBI’s).

Kearney super senior third baseman Avery Wood almost made it back-to-back-to-back homers but hit a triple high off the center field fence instead. In the circle, Thomason moved to 5-2 by throwing two innings of scoreless relief.Northwest was paced by leadoff hitter and first baseman Skylar Pieper (2 for 3, one run).