Kearney, Neb. – The Central Missouri Mules scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally past Nebraska-Kearney, 5-2, Friday afternoon in Warrensburg.
UCM, ranked 10th and 11th in this week’s national Division II polls, improves to 23-7 (14-5) and takes the series from the Lopers (17-13, 10-6). The series finale is set for Saturday at 1 p.m.
Junior lefty Josh Cooper (Roseville, Calif.) made his first start as a Loper and once again was stellar. He fanned five, didn’t walk a batter and allowed only one earned run over seven full innings. Arlington senior righty Thomas Ruwe worked the eighth.
UNK staked Cooper to a 2-0 lead thanks to three hits and a walk in the second. With the bases loaded and one down, redshirt freshman left fielder Josh Robinson (Golden, Colo.) recorded a sac fly with nine-hole hitter Peter Carlson (Arvada, Colo.) following with a single to left.
The Lopers again loaded the bases in its half of the eighth but UCM recorded three straight outs. Two singles and a bunt single by junior right fielder Alex Achtermann (Denver, Colo.) put UNK in great position to cut into the Mule lead but two strikeouts and an infield pop ended the threat.
Kearney finished with eight hits, by eight different players, and left seven on base. The Mules, meanwhile, stranded just three.
After tallying an unearned run in the sixth, UCM tallied three more runs in the seventh to grab the lead for good. The Mules recorded that total thanks to three hits and three Loper errors.
Leadoff hitter Mason Janvrin (3 for 4, one RBI) had another big effort for the Mules with cleanup hitter Collin Nevil going 2 for 4 with a run and RBI. Central Missouri, like UNK, finished with eight hits. On the mound, five players got a chance, led by senior reliever Ross Juliana. He threw five innings of scoreless relief, fanning five and walking none.