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The Antelope

Lopers keep it rolling in conference play


UNK softball continues to win big games in heart of conference action
By Molly Stern

The University of Nebraska at Kearney softball team has won eight of their last 12 MIAA conference games. This past week, the Lopers faced off against the Gorillas of Pittsburg State and the Lions of Missouri Southern State University.

The week began in Pittsburg, Kansas, where the Lopers went one and one against the Gorillas. In the first games of the two-game series, UNK won 5-2.

Senior Meg Housholder from Parker, Colorado threw a complete game, fanning nine and only giving up two runs. She received support from her offense, putting up five runs to get the win. Cheyenne Hamilton, a senior from Fredrick, Colorado had two hits, two RBIs and a homerun in the contest. Senior Kaela Samek from Lincoln and sophomore Alexis Ray from Platte City, Missouri also contributed to the win, each with two RBI’s.

The Lopers dropped the second game of the series to the Gorillas 5-7. Pitching struggled in this game, with the Lopers using four pitchers in the circle. Erin Hallman, a sophomore from Lakewood, Colorado, pitched three innings, giving up six runs. Abbey Martin, a senior from Pleasant Grove, Utah, pitched one inning, giving up one run and Sarah Handrahan, a freshman from Festis, Missouri, came in relief and pitched two innings, giving up zero runs.

On offense for UNK, Kaitlyn Johnson, a freshman from Kearney, had three hits, scoring two of the Lopers’ runs. Karlee Arnold, a freshman from Parker, Colorado, also had two hits, scoring two runs. The Lopers gave a good run in the last inning but could not complete the comeback in the top of the seventh.

The following day, the Lopers faced off and split against the Lions of Missouri Southern State University. In the first game, the Lopers lost 5-6 behind Housholder’s pitching. Housholder threw four innings, giving up nine hits and five runs. Handrahan came in in relief and gave up one run on five hits.

The Lopers were led on offense by Alexis Howe, a sophomore from Hamilton, and Sara Sempek, a sophomore from Papillion, who all had RBIs in the contest.

In the second game of the series, the Lopers blew out MMSU 14-4 in the hitting fest. Hallman threw a complete game, giving up eight hits and only four runs, while striking out four.

Leading the offense was Sempek, who went one for three with a homerun, two walks and four RBIs. Arnold also had two RBIs in the game.

“We just need to stay consistent and do the little things,” head softball coach Holly Carnes said. “We have all the tools and great kids, and we just need to keep plucking away and winning ball games.”

The Lopers are currently tied for seventh in the MIAA standings going into the last three weeks of conference play.

“The MIAA is very competitive but at this point it is anyone’s game,” said Carnes. “Our goal is to make it to the conference tournament, and if we keep playing like we know how to, we will definitely be there.”

The Lopers’ next conference games are April 6 and 7 in Kearney. They will face off against the Ichabods of Washburn University and the Hornets of Emporia State University. All games will be played at Patriot Park.

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