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Softball ends eight-game losing streak with weekend win

Avery Wood went 2-2 against Pittsburg State and scored two runs in UNK’s 3-0 victory. Leads the team hitting .362 this year. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

Loper softball picked up a win in their final weekend contest, defeating Pittsburg State  2-0 to end an eight-game losing streak.

Prior to the win, UNK scored only one run Saturday in its doubleheader against Missouri Southern, dropping both contests. Missouri Southern’s pitcher, Bailey Lacy, broke the school record in strikeouts with 15.

Sunday, the Lopers were able to put the puzzle together.

“We went from 20 strikeouts yesterday to nine total today,”  said UNK coach Katie Ackermann. “We just had better approaches at the plate. Offensively, we just found a way to piece things together and score some runs.”

Super-senior third baseman Avery Wood strung together quality at-bats for the Lopers in the win, going 2-2 with a walk and a stolen base, scoring the Lopers’ two runs.

Wood laid a bunt down the third base line in the first inning, using her speed to reach base. She would then swipe second during Katie Gosker’s first plate appearance, before advancing to third on a throwing error in the same sequence. Gosker would lace a double to right center, bringing Wood home for the first time.

Wood continued to put up quality at-bats for her team, walking in her next appearance in the third. She moved to second base on a wild pitch during another Gosker at-bat. Then Jaiden Harteker stepped to the plate and belted a single to center field to bring Wood home, scoring UNK’s final run of the day.

Meanwhile, sophomore pitcher Sydney Thomason was in the circle piecing together a quality outing. Through five innings of action, Thomason allowed only three hits and no runs. 

In the sixth, her perfect day would be challenged after walking a batter and allowing a hit. With only one out and runners on first and second, her perfect afternoon was on the verge of collapse. 

The Loper infield saved her day. Wood made her presence felt once more, fielding a ground ball off the bat of Pitt State’s Kianna Pellegrino, getting the force out at third and throwing out Pellegrino to turn a key double play. 

A promising sign for a defense that struggled early Sunday.

“The defense finally picked us up in game two,” Ackermann said. “Sydney put some hits in play, and our defense picked her up and that’s just something that we didn’t do in game one.”

Thomason went on to finish her perfect day in the circle, allowing seven hits, one walk, a hit by pitch and four strikeouts. Improving her record to 7-3 and improving her earned run average to 2.86 for the year.

“We didn’t panic, and that’s something that we kind of have done in the past is we’ve just panicked in situations,” Ackermann said. “Our grit on the mound is getting a little bit better and hopefully we find ways to win next weekend.”

The Lopers finished the weekend 1-3, with a 4-6 conference record and 13-21 overall. They will hit the road for the next three weekends, beginning with a trip to Kansas to take on Emporia State and Washburn. They will return home on April 28-29 to finish the regular season with doubleheaders against Northeastern State and Rogers State.

Sydney Thomason pitched 14 inning this weekend while allowing three runs off of 13 hits. She posted eight strikeouts and has a 7-4 season records. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff
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