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The Antelope

Lopers can’t connect on road trip

Softball travels to Minnesota for duel in the dome
By: Ryan Boyd

Endurance tests aren’t always plain to see for the human eye. Long distance runners may be one of the first examples that typically come to mind, but baseball and softball players can make their own arguments for how they too must face incredible tests of endurance.

The UNK softball team can make their case from the Kelly Laas Memorial Softball Invite in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The lady Lopers played a total of five games on Feb. 23 and 24.

Kicking off the tournament with a 9 a.m. opening throw against the St. Cloud State Huskies, the Lopers went into a frenzy and found themselves in a back-and-forth affair through all seven innings against St. Cloud State.

Up early with a run scored in the first inning, the Huskies traded runs with the Lopers for the rest of the game. Both teams scored two runs in the seventh inning, but St. Cloud State’s early score would ultimately determine the outcome, as the Huskies pulled out a 7-6 win over UNK.

The best individual performance throughout the entire weekend was provided by senior Meg Housholder. Housholder, an advertising/public relations major from Parker, Colorado, was able to score four runs for the Lopers in their intense battle against the Huskies, who now sit with seven wins and one loss.

Later that same day, starting at 3:30 p.m., the Lopers took on the University of Sioux Falls Cougars. UNK looked to do no wrong as they were able to connect with the ball 12 times and had already scored five runs by the end of the third inning.

The final score after the end of the seventh inning saw the Lopers dominating 10-4. The star Lopers of this game were sophomore pitcher Erin Hallman and junior first baseman, Cheyenne Hamilton. Hallman, an aviation systems management major from Lakewood, Colorado, pitched for seven innings against the Cougars and walked two players, only allowing one run while she was on the mound.

Hamilton, a family studies/pre-nursing major from Frederick, Colorado, was able to build on to UNK’s momentum against the Cougars by bombing away a three-run homer for the Lopers.

Saturday’s weather cooled down the bats for UNK as the Lopers matched up against the defending national champion, the Minnesota State Mavericks. The Mavericks took pride in being one of the best teams in the nation and gave everything they had to the Lopers in their early morning matchup.

The game would play out for five innings as the Mavericks were able to put a stranglehold on any offense the Lopers were trying to gain. Minnesota State played the part of UNK on Friday against the University of Sioux Falls, as it was the Mavericks this time that seemed to do no wrong.

The Mavericks finished out the game 12-0 against the Lopers and have improved their record to 7-0.

Later in the day, UNK would finish out their long tournament battle in back to back games against the Augustana University Vikings. The final game would finish around 11 p.m. on Saturday night.

The Vikings knew how to match up against the Lopers, and that proved vital as they only had five innings to show their stuff.

In game one, the Vikings went for a full onslaught as they were able to obtain a 15-4 victory over UNK.

Having then figured out the formula for keeping the Lopers off the bases, Augustana University went for a defensive approach in game two that evening. The Vikings held UNK to zero runs while adding in eight of their own. In ten innings combined, the Vikings were able to get 23 total runs scored against UNK’s four. Augustana University leaves Minnesota with a 7-4 record.

The next stop for UNK will be in Joplin, Missouri, as the Lopers prep for the Teri Mathis-Zenner Memorial Tournament. UNK will compete against the Drury University Panthers and the University of Sioux Falls Cougars on Saturday, March 3. Then on Sunday, UNK will go up to bat against the Rockhurst University Hawks and the McKendree University Bearcats. UNK currently sits with a 3-10 record.

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