KEARNEY, Neb. - The Nebraska-Kearney softball used 24 hits and strong pitching performances by Colorado natives Erin Hallman and Melissa Gellermann to sweep Lincoln, 9-0 (5 innings) and 12-4 (6 innings) Friday afternoon at Patriot Park.
Players huddle around coach Katie Ackermann during a stop in the action.
This is MIAA opening weekend and UNK's first two home games of 2020. The Lopers (12-10) face Central Missouri on Saturday at 12 and 2 p.m. The Jennies (8-4) took the first game of a double header with Fort Hays State, 5-2, on Friday evening.
On day with winds gusting closer 40 miles per hour all afternoon UNK out hit LU (6-8, 0-2) by a 24-3 margin. The offensive production included three doubles, two triples and 19 singles with the Lopers also drawing six walks.
In game one Hallman (Lakewood, Colo.) improved to 3-5 by tossing a five-inning one-hitter. She fanned two and didn't walk a batter in facing just 16 batters. Hallman got all the support she needed with a three-run first with the Lopers then score two in the third and four more in the fifth.
Lincoln sophomore right fielder Carlee Liesch led at the plate by going 3 for 3 with three runs and two RBI's with Colorado junior first baseman Hailey Schaneman 2 for 3 with two RBI's. Finally MIAA Hitter of the Week and junior designated player Nicole Spykstra finished 1 for 1 with two runs and two RBI's.
Gellermann (Grand Junction, Colo.) threw 4.1 innings of no-hit ball before the Blue Tigers recorded a bloop single down the left field line. That started a big LU inning but none of the four runs were of the earned variety. Gellermann evened her record at 2-2 by fanning eight and giving up just two singles.
Blair freshman catcher Katie Gosker (3 for 4, one run & four RBI's), Lincoln sophomore second baseman Haleigh Hoefs (3 for 4, two runs) and Schaneman (2 for 3, three RBI's) were the offensive leaders.