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The Antelope

The Antelope

Spring into final season


After devastating budget cuts, team pours heart and soul into last baseball season
By Ryan Boyd

Clean turf, rowdy fans and a sense of pride equal the sign of baseball being back in town. UNK hosted the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos for a three-game series at Memorial Field during a beautiful weekend.

The first game began at 2 p.m., March 2, on a perfect Friday afternoon, which would see the Bronchos take advantage of a pitching rotation that couldn’t get its bearings. A slugfest of 20 hits on the Lopers for the game and a grand slam out of the park at the top of the third inning put UNK in a hole for the rest of the contest.

Not to be counted out, the Lopers hung in against Central Oklahoma for the next six innings until the Bronchos clutched the final inning with a strikeout, a pop fly and an easy ground ball throw to first base for the final out of the game.

Pate Katechis and Brett Young were the highlight hitters Friday. Katechis, a junior business administration/marketing major from Longmont, Colorado, hit a long home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to build up some momentum for the Loper dugout.

Young, a junior business administration major from Lodi, California, served as Mr. Consistency on the day. Young made contact with the baseball three out of the four times he was at bat and was also able to score a run for UNK.

The Bronchos took game one of the weekend, 13-5 over the Lopers. Central Oklahoma was able to push their winning streak to seven straight over UNK.

On Saturday, March 3, the Lopers came screaming back to exact their revenge over the Bronchos. UNK would end the winning streak that Central Oklahoma was holding over their heads and came in with their bats on fire, hitting six home runs.

Young started the batting party right away with a home run in the first inning. UNK would take this early lead and build it, going up 7-4 after just two innings. He would proceed to go three hits for his four at-bats, a repeat of his Friday performance.

Junior outfielder Brandon Hernandez would be the main hero on Saturday for UNK. Hernandez, a sports management/business administration major from San Diego, California, had two home runs and was able to score an additional two runs for himself bringing him to four runs on the day.

Josh Cooper would ensure that the Bronchos would not find their way back into the game on this day by allowing no walks and striking out five of their players. Cooper, a junior business administration major from Roseville, California, was able to earn his first win as a Loper with his clutch pitching performance.

UNK finished the game 12-8 over Central Oklahoma and tie up the weekend series at one win each. The rubber match would be decided on Sunday.

Sunday, March 4 brought more sunshine and wind for UNK as the Lopers looked to capitalize off their strong Saturday win over Central Oklahoma.

UNK had to fight their way back into the game early on this day, allowing seven Bronchos to score in the first inning. Central Oklahoma would go on to win the game 13-10, but the Lopers kept their heads up and took the game down to the final inning before a clear victor was declared.

Alex Achterman was a one man wrecking crew on Sunday for the Lopers. Achterman, a junior exercise science major from Denver, Colorado, nailed three key home runs to keep UNK’s offense afloat.   UNK changed up their pitching rotation to perfection as the Lopers shut down the Broncho hitters in the final two innings, keeping them at 13 runs. The game came down to crunch time as the bottom of the ninth became the deciding factor for who would win the weekend series.

Central Oklahoma was able to clinch the victory as they allowed no hits in the final inning and secured a 13-10 victory. The Bronchos improve to 10-6 on their season and have won eight of their last nine games against UNK.

The Lopers are now 6-10 on the year and will play again on March 9 against Minot State University.

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