Kearney, Neb. – The top of the Nebraska-Kearney lineup had nine hits and nine RBI’s to help erase a 6-0 deficit in a 10-7 win over Pittsburg State Friday afternoon at Memorial Field.
This is a key series for both the Lopers (26-19, 19-12) and the Gorillas (28-15, 20-11). In the MIAA standings, Pitt is in fourth place with UNK fifth. In the Central Region rankings, the Gorillas are fourth with the Lopers sitting just outside the top 10.
Things didn’t start well for UNK its final home series. Pitt tallied one in the first, one in the second and four more in the third to build up a big lead. Shortstop Colton Pogue led off the game with a homer to dead center and right fielder Hunter Clanin (3 for 5) had an RBI single in the third.
Left hander Brad Kinsey was cruising along as well but the Lopers final got to him in the fifth thanks to back-to-back walks and a single. That drove Kinsey from the game and, soon after, senior catcher Dallas Schramm (Millard North) smacked a two-run single to right to cut the deficit in half.
After Pitt tacked on a run in the top of the sixth, UNK busted things open by scoring five times in the bottom of the inning. The jump starter was a two-out bloop double to short center by junior leadoff hitter Brett Young (Lodi, Calif.). That brought home a run and started a succession of four straight hits, the last being a two-run shot by Schramm to left center. That is his 37th career long ball, just two from tying Tom Bales (’88) career record.
UNK added insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings with senior Thomas Ruwe (Arlington) fanning four of the five batters he faced. In the ninth, junior closer Eric Sandoz (Austin, Texas) picked up save number nine thanks to a 6-3 double play.
A 14-hit attack was paced by two-hole hitter Brandon Hernandez (3 for 6, two runs & two RBI’s), junior pitcher/designated hitter Alex Achtermann (3 for 5, two runs & two RBI’s) and Schramm (2 for 4, one run & four RBI’s), the cleanup hitter. Finally, senior second baseman Scott Platt (Longmont, Colo.) was 3 for 4 from seven hole.
Achtermann improved to 5-1 by fanning three over six innings. He gave up six earned on a walk and nine hits. Throwing 121 pitches, he shut out Pitt in the fourth and fifth innings.
The series resumes Saturday at 3 p.m. “Senior Day” will be held post game.