UNK baseball tops UCO, 12-8

Brett Young is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run in the 1st inning. (KHGI)

Kearney, Neb. – Junior southpaw Josh Cooper tossed four innings of scoreless relief and the Nebraska-Kearney baseball team belted six home runs, including a two-run shot in a four-run eighth, to beat Central Oklahoma, 12-8, Saturday evening at Memorial Field.

This was the second of a three-game series with the finale set for Sunday at noon. With the win today, UNK (6-9, 3-2) stops a seven-game losing streak to UCO (9-6, 4-1).

With the wind blowing a bit out to center and left center early on, the Lopers hit five of its homers over the first two innings to lead 7-4. Junior center fielder Brett Young (Lodi, Calif.), for a second straight day, led off the first with homer while junior third baseman Alex Achtermann (Denver, Colo.) and senior second baseman Scott Platt (Longmont, Colo.) hit back-to-back jacks in the second.

However, UCO shut out UNK between the third and sixth innings to mount a comeback. After scoring single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the 'Chos scored twice in the sixth to make it 8-7. A hit-by pitch, double and single were the culprits. In the bottom of the sixth, senior right hander Ben Wusterbarth struck out the side after UNK had loaded the bases.

But Kearney came back and manufactured a run in the bottom of the seventh to tie things back up. With two down, senior designated hitter Dallas Schramm (Millard North) hit a ball in between shortstop and third base. The infield single saw UCO's two infielders collide and then not pick up the ball as it rolled towards third. Running from the get go, junior left fielder Brandon Hernandez (San Diego, Calif.) scored all the way from second.

Finally, the Loper eighth began with a leadoff single from Platt (2 for 5, one RBI) and then junior right fielder Pate Katechis (Longmont, Colo.) brought him home with a screaming double to right center. After Katechis scored on a sac fly, Hernandez (3 for 6, four runs and four RBI's) hit his second dinger of the game, an opposite field two-run shot to left, to complete scoring.

Cooper (Roseville, Calif.) earned his first win as a Loper by striking out five and walking none. Allowing a leadoff double in the eighth, he got out of that jam with two K's and a ground out. Offensively, Young (3 for 4, three runs) joined Hernandez as a Lopers to have a three-hit day. Those two hit first and second, respectively, in the lineup. UNK finished with 14 hits and also drew nine walks.

For UCO, leadoff hitter Jake Dyer was 3 for 5 with a run and four RBI's with nine-hole hitter Justin Brown 2 for 3 with two runs and one run knocked in.

Courtesy UNK Sports Information

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