KEARNEY, Neb. - A day after Fort Hays State swept Nebraska-Kearney in a crucial MIAA doubleheader in Hays, Nebraska-Kearney got revenge in a pair of non-conference games on Sunday (Apr. 28) to close out the 2019 season. The Lopers won by scores of 2-1 and 12-4, closing their season at 20-24 overall. Fort Hays State wrapped up its season at 24-25 overall.
Game 1: Nebraska-Kearney 2, Fort Hays State 1
Michaelanne Nelson continued a string of strong performances in the pitching circle by limiting Nebraska-Kearney to just one earned run. Unfortunately, an unearned run Nebraska-Kearney collected was the deciding run in a tight 2-1 pitcher's duel in game one.
Nelson worked around 10 Loper hits and a walk, escaping jams in several innings to limit the Lopers in the run column. However, a Tiger throwing error with two outs in the fifth led to a run-scoring single by Jasmyn Broussard that pushed the Lopers in front 2-1. The one earned run surrendered by Nelson was in the first inning, when the Lopers tied the game 1-1. She tossed her fourth consecutive complete game as a starter, striking out three batters. Nelson finished the year at 10-12 in the circle. She held opponents to no more than one earned run in seven of her last nine starts of the season.
The one run for the Tigers came on a Sara Breckbill ground out RBI in the first inning. Katie Adler led off the game with a walk and Terran Caldwell singled. Both moved up on an Allison Jurgensen sacrifice bunt before Adler came in on Breckbill's grounder. From that point, the Tigers struggled to find hits, finishing with just four in the game. UNK starter Erin Hallman retired nine straight Tigers from the second inning to fifth inning before allowing a walk.
Hallman picked up the win in the circle for UNK, allowing just two hits and three walks in 5.0 innings of work. She struck out two. Mo Vornhagen came in to pick up a two-inning save, allowing just two hits with a strikeout.
Game 2: Nebraska-Kearney 12, Fort Hays State 4
Three of four games on the weekend between Fort Hays State and Nebraska-Kearney ended by run rule, this time UNK coming out victorious after FHSU reached the run rule twice on Saturday in Hays. The Tigers enjoyed two leads in the game before seeing the Lopers score 10 runs over the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
Fort Hays State took an initial 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-RBI single by Sara Breckbill. The Lopers responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to tie the game. FHSU pushed back ahead in the third 4-2 when Grace Philop delivered a two-RBI single. By that point, the Tigers had done the majority of their damage to UNK starter Sarah Handrahan, who allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks over just 2.0 innings of work.
The Tiger bats went silent when UNK turned the ball to reliever Mo Vornhagen, who tossed the final three innings. She allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out three to pick up her second win of the season.
The Tigers could not hold on to their second lead of the game as the Lopers jumped into the lead for the first time, 6-4, on a two-out grand slam by Karlee Arnold. The Lopers continued their offensive outburst in the fourth inning with an RBI single and two-run home run, making the score 9-4. They ended the game in the fifth with a two-RBI single and an RBI double.
Hailey Chapman allowed nine runs on 11 hits and a walk, moving to 12-13 for the season. She struck out four batters. Megan Jamison relieved Chapman for an inning, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Jamison struck out one batter.
-The 24 wins this season are the most since the 2015 season when the Tigers won 26.
-The 3.47 ERA by the Tiger pitching staff this year was its lowest since the 2016 season when the team posted a 3.10 ERA.
-Fort Hays State went 17-2 this year in games where it scored 5 or more runs. The Tigers were held to just one run or scoreless in 16 of their 25 losses on the year.
-The Tigers spread leadership in offensive stat categories throughout the team for the season. Grace Philop led in batting average (.331), Bailey Boxberger led in RBIs (37), Terran Caldwell led in hits (54), runs (34), and stolen bases (10), Sara Breckbill led in doubles (13), Lily Sale led in triples (2), Elise Capra led in home runs (6), Katie Adler led in walks (24), and Allison Jurgensen led in on-base percentage (.436).