Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney softball team was edged by Illinois-Springfield, 4-3 (8 innings) and Lewis University, 6-4, Thursday afternoon in Peoria, Ill. The games were part of the Springfield Invite, hosted by UIS, inside the Peoria Slugger Dome. The event continues on Friday. UNK (1-9) has now suffered seven losses by a total of nine runs. The Lopers are 0-3 in extra inning affairs and 0-5 in one-run games. In the tourney opener against a Prairie Stars squad (8-6) that recently was ranked 12th nationally, Colorado junior Erin Hallman allowed just one earned run over 7.1 innings. Throwing 141 pitches, she suffered the loss as UIS scored two runs in its half of the eighth on a sac but, two singles and walk off error. Senior Jaycee Carver recorded her fifth win by fanning 10 Lopers in eight full innings. She allowed three hits, two walks and no earned runs in tossing 106 pitches.
Junior shortstop Kaitlyn Johnson (Kearney H.S.) paced the Loper offense with an RBI double in the eighth with UIS getting a solo homer from cleanup hitter Carolyn Franke and two hits apiece from center fielder Madi Torry and first baseman Morgan Edwards. UIS stranded nine runners with UNK leaving three on the base paths. The Lewis Flyers (2-4), from Romeoville, Ill., scored three in the top of the third and two more in the sixth to record the win. UNK out hit LU 12-8 with the teams combining for 20 stranded base runners. Leadoff hitter and right fielder Carlee Liesch (Lincoln Pius X) continued to swing a hot bat, going 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBI’s. She belted a two-run homer, her second collegiate dinger, in the bottom of the sixth. Later in the inning, UNK had two on with two out but freshman Sara Serena got a strikeout to end the threat. She went on to earn her second save of 2019. Also for the Lopers, junior first baseman Sara Sempek (Papillion-LaVista) went 3 for 4 with a run scored from the three hole and Johnson and freshman shortstop Abbie Vodicka (Lincoln Pius X) both went 2 for 4. UNK faces the Quincy, Ill. (2-4) and Purdue Northwest, Ind. (3-1) on Friday morning.