Kearney, Neb. – Freshman right fielder Carlee Liesch went 5 for 5 with two RBI’s and junior Erin Hallman threw five strong innings to help Nebraska-Kearney roll past Washburn, 9-5, in the first game of a double header Friday afternoon in Topeka, Kan.
Despite being out hit 11-10, the Ichabods bounced back to take the nightcap by an 8-2 score. UNK is now 15-19 (9-9) with WU at 21-19 (12-4). The Lopers are tied with Pittsburg State for seventh place in the league standings with Washburn in sole possession of second.
Liesch (Lincoln Pius), among the Division II leaders in hits (56) and batting average (.479), had three doubles in her first three at bats before a single to center in the fifth and an infield single in the seventh. She was part of a Loper offense that out hit WU by a 13-5 margin and scored runs in four straight innings.
A three-run homer by freshman second baseman Abbie Vodicka (Lincoln Pius) in the top of the second put UNK ahead for good. Hallman (Lakewood, Colo.) blanked the ‘Bods over the first two innings and picked up her sixth win by surrendering three earned on five singles and a walk. Besides Liesch’s heroics, junior first baseman Sara Sempek (Papillion) and sophomore designated player Karlee Arnold (Parker, Colo.) had two hits apiece.
Senior third baseman Cheyenne Hamilton (Frederick, Colo.) went 3 for 4 with a run scored and two RBI’s in the second game but UNK left 10 on base. That included leaving the bases full in the fifth.
Washburn took control when nine-hole hitter Siena Hall belted a two out, three-run homer in the bottom of the second. The ‘Bods tacked on four more runs over the next two innings with third baseman Savanna Moore having a solo shot to center. Redshirt freshman Bailey Zuniga (10-6) picked up the win by allowing two earned on eight hits. She struck out four and issued no walks over 65 pitches and 4.2 innings.
For the Lopers, Hamilton had her fifth dinger of the spring, Vodicka and junior designated player Alexis Howe (Papillion) went 2 for 3 and all four pitchers entered the circle. That included a combined 2.1 scoreless inning by redshirt freshman Mo Vornhagen (Kearney) and true freshman Megan Blake (Clay Center, Kan.).
UNK plays a double header at Emporia State (17-22, 7-9) on Saturday beginning at noon.