Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney softball team pounded out 20 hits and got saves from sophomores Megan Blake and Kelsey Goodban to beat Eastern New Mexico, 8-4, and Texas-Permian Basin, 8-7, Friday night in Lubbock, Texas.
The games were a part of the Lubbock Collegiate Sports Invitational. UNK (2-0) faces Colorado-Colorado Springs and host Lubbock Christian on Saturday. Live stats and live video is available for each game; check the Loper schedule page for links.
Today marked the head coaching debut for Kearney native Katie Ackermann. The former Kearney High and Chadron State standout was named the ninth head coach in school history early last fall. To down two teams from the Lone Star Conference, UNK used a balanced offensive attack, committed just two errors over 14 innings and got strong outings from five different pitchers.
In the season opener UNK scored three in the fifth and three in the sixth to erase a 4-2 deficit. Both senior shortstop Kaitlyn Johnson (Kearney) and sophomore left fielder Jasmyn Broussard (Omaha) went 2 for 2 while combining for four runs scored three RBI’s. Johnson and Broussard had RBI’s in the key fifth inning with the Lopers using five hits and an error to tack on three insurance run in the next inning.
Colorado senior Erin Hallman picked up the win by throwing the first four innings with Goodban (Lincoln Pius X), a transfer from the College of St. Mary, working the final three. Both fanned two with Goodban not allowing a run.
The nightcap featured 15 runs on 21 hits, six walks and five errors. UNK scored four in its half of the third to erase a 1-0 deficit but the Falcons countered with a five spot in the top of the fourth. The Lopers then scored three in the bottom of the inning.
The game was knotted at seven with two down in the sixth when redshirt junior designated player Nicole Spykstra (Chandler, Ariz.) belted a homer to left center. The 2017 All-MIAA pick sat out last year after returning from Division I New Mexico State.
Things got dicey in the top of the seventh was Permian Basin two back-to-back walks. However Blake (Clay Center, Kan.) literally saved the day by coming in and get back-to-back strikeouts and a grounder to second. UTPB had runners at second and third when the final out was recorded. Missouri junior Sarah Handrahan earned the win in relief by allowing one earned over 2.1 innings.
At the plate four different Lopers had a multi-hit effort including Johnson (2 for 4, 1 run & three RBI’s), Missouri senior center fielder Alexis Ray (3 for 4, two runs & one RBI) and Kearney sophomore catcher Avery Wood (2 for 3, two runs). Johnson smacked her third career homer, a two-run shot to dead left center, in the big third inning.