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UNK Starts Season With A Split

UNK Starts Season With A Split

Kearney, Neb. – Redshirt sophomore third baseman Bri Healy belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning and redshirt junior Megan Blake worked out of a jam in the top of the sixth to help Nebraska-Kearney edge Texas-Permian Basin, 6-5, Friday evening in Lubbock, Texas.

This game was part of the Lubbock Sports College Invitational. UNK dropped its 2021 season opener to Midwestern (Texas) State, 7-6.

Against the UTPB Falcons (0-2) from the Lone Star Conference, the Lopers used 11 hits and tallied runs in four straight innings to pick up the victory. A three-run dinger from sophomore Aracely Araiza in the top of the fifth gave Permian Basin a 5-3 lead. They scored the first two runs of the game in the second on the strength of a solo shot and three singles.

The UNK rally in the bottom of the inning started with a leadoff single and steal by Lincoln junior center fielder Carlee Liesch (3 for 4, one run). After two outs, Blair sophomore catcher Katie Gosker (1 for 3, two runs & one RBI) coaxed a walk with Healy (Omaha Central) following with her first collegiate long ball. She batted .308 last season with three doubles and a triple.

UTPB countered with a double and single to start the sixth. However, the next three batters failed to reach thanks to a fielder’s choice, strikeout and pop up. For the game the Falcons had 13 hits, were hit twice and drew a walk but stranded 11.

Blake (Clay Center, Kan.) earned the win by throw three innings of scoreless relief. She worked around four hits by fanning one and walking none. Offensively seven Lopers recorded a hit with eight-hole hitter and junior right fielder Avery Wood (Kearney) going 2 for 3.

Wood had a two-run double in the season-opener against the Mustangs (1-1) but MSU saw three-hole hitter and third baseman Ashley Turner go 3 for 3 with two runs and four RBI’s. She smacked a solo homer in the first and a two-run shot in the fourth.

UNK got an RBI double from Lincoln junior shortstop Abbie Vodicka (2 for 3, two RBI’s & one run), a sac fly by Gosker and a passed ball to score three time in the sixth. However, a flyout ended the big sixth inning and the Lopers went down in order in the seventh. Out hitting MSU by a 9-8 margin but stranding nine, UNK saw Liesch go 2 for 4 with a run scored while Blake tossed two innings of scoreless relief.

Kearney will face West Texas A&M (2-0) and nationally-ranked Lubbock Christian (3-2) on Saturday.

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