Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney softball team racked up 20 hits and got strong relief outings from sophomore Sarah Handrahan and redshirt freshman Mo Vornhagen to sweep a double header from Northwest Missouri State, 7-6 and 4-3, Saturday afternoon at Patriot Park.
The red hot Lopers (12-16, 8-6) have won four in a row and 10 of 13 while the Bearcats fall to 7-16 (2-8). Kearney is now in sixth place in the league standings.
Handrahan (Festus, Mo.) earned a rare save by throwing 1.1 scoreless innings in game one. UNK tallied four in the third and added to more in the fifth to open up a 7-1 lead. However, the ‘Cats had four of its six hits in the top of the sixth including back-to-back homers to make a one-run game. Handrahan got a strikeout on a full count to end the sixth and then worked around a two-out single in the seventh to secure the win.
UNK’s first five hitters were a combined 11 for 20 with six runs scored and three RBI’s. That included Papillion junior first baseman Sara Sempek (3 for 4, two runs & one RBI) and Colorado senior third baseman Cheyenne Hamilton (2 for 4, one run & one RBI). Finally, Colorado sophomore designated player and seven hole hitter Karlee Arnold had a key two out, two-run single in the third.
Moving to catcher in the night cap, Arnold belted a leadoff homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut into a 2-0 deficit. UNK tacked on two more runs in the inning, the last coming on an RBI single by Sempek.
However, the ‘Cats used two doubles in the top of the fifth to tie things up. The Lopers quickly countered with a single, stolen base and single to move ahead for good. Freshman second baseman Abbie Vodicka (1 for 2, two runs) tallied the winning run after her Lincoln Pius teammate, freshman right fielder Carlee Liesch, brought her home with a single to right.
Vornhagen (1-1) earned her first collegiate win by allowing no hits over the final 2.1 innings. She issued one walk and fanned one ‘Cat. Handrahan got the start and blanked Northwest for the first three innings.
UNK hosts Missouri Western State (22-15, 9-5) tomorrow at 12 and 2 p.m. The Griffons have won five straight after a double header sweep of Fort Hays State on Saturday.