Kearney, Neb. – Northwest Missouri State recorded 30 hits and turned five double plays to sweep a double header from Nebraska-Kearney, 9-8 and 13-4, Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Field. Both teams entered the day tied for fourth place in the MIAA standings. In game one, Northwest (22-18, 17-9) served as the home team as the April 3 contest in Maryville was postponed. Things started great for the Lopers (22-18, 15-11) as they led game one 6-1 after 5.5 innings. Back on March 21 at Memorial, UNK hit six home runs to beat the Bearcats, 17-1, in seven innings. That trend continued as senior catcher Dallas Schramm (Millard North) blasted a two-run shot to deep left in the top of the first. It marked the team’s 74th dinger of the year, a new school record. With one on and one out in the Bearcat sixth, UNK committed one of its four errors in the game. A single followed but junior Jared Bell (Clackamas, Oreg.) got a strikeout to keep the bases full.
However, three-hole hitter Logan Finn (2 for 5) came up and hit a “Grand Slam” to left center. Northwest then tacked on two more in the inning to grab an 8-6 lead. The Lopers countered with a two spot in the eighth. Seniors Scott Platt (Longmont, Colo.) and Josh Estrada (Houston) had RBI singles but Northwest catcher and leadoff hitter Hudson Bilodeau (1 for 4, three runs) drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth. He then stole second and took third on a single to left. Loper closer Eric Sandoz (Austin, Texas) recorded a strikeout to keep the ‘Cats at bay before cleanup hitter Luke Hassman (2 for 3, two RBI’s) hit a walk-off single to right. Northwest tallied 10 hits with seven of its runs being of the unearned variety. Reliever Trevor Dudar moved to 3-0 by throwing the final 1.1 innings. Kearney was paced by junior center fielder Brett Young (Lodi, Calif.) who went 3 for 4 with two runs and on RBI. He also threw out a Bearcat at home plate to end the fifth. The play resulted in a rare 8-2 double play. In the night cap, the ‘Cats tallied four in the first and eighth innings and two more in the fifth.
All nine starters had at least one hit with seven having a multi-hit effort. Bilodeau (3 for 4, two runs) and center fielder Aaron Barratt (4 for 5, three runs & two RBI’s) led the way. On the mound, lefty reliever Nathan Russell (1-2) fanned three and allowed two earned in five full innings to pick up the win. Finally, the ‘Cats turned four double plays. Committing four more errors leading to four Northwest runs, the Lopers saw Young end 1 for 2 with two runs and two RBI’s. In the ninth, junior outfielder Pate Katechis (Longmont, Colo.) made his collegiate pitching debut and promptly struck out the sides. UNK heads to Northeastern State (23-16, 14-12) this weekend. Due to rain, a double header will be played Friday starting at 11 am. The third game will then likely be played Sunday at a time to be determined.