Loper offense limited in MIAA opener

UNK pitcher Josh Cooper delivers in the bottom of the first inning on May 10, 2018. The Lopers lost to Pittsburg State despite Cooper's 7.0 IP and two earned runs allowed (KHGI)

Nebraska-Kearney's day started with great news as Alex Achtermann and Damon Day were named the MIAA Player and Coach of the Year, respectively.

The end of the day wasn't as nice, as the Lopers lost to Pittsburg State in the first round of the MIAA Tournament, 4-2.

Junior pitcher Josh Cooper got the start for UNK and went 7.0 innings while only giving up two earned runs and a total of three on the day. Cooper allowed 11 hits and walked three more batters but did a good job of getting guys out in the tough spots. Pittsburg State left 12 runners on base.

Senior Dallas Schramm started the Lopers off right in the top of the first with an RBI single scoring Brandon Hernandez. Schramm was 1 of 3 at the plate. In the top of the sixth, Schramm hit a deep fly ball to left with Alex Achtermann on first, but it was caught high at the wall by Cole Brecheisen. UNK left seven runners on base and only managed to get six hits compared to the Gorillas 13.

Brad Kinsey limited the Loper bats through 7.0 innings of work, giving up six hits and two earned runs while striking out seven.

UNK looked like they might have a chance to put something together in the top of the 7th. After Josh Robinson (2 of 3, 2B, R) got on base, Brett Young (1 of 4, 3B, BB, RBI) hit a triple to the right field corner to tie the game 2-2. However, with two outs, Brandon Hernandez (1 of 4, R) went down on strikes to end the threat.

Pittsburg State got a sharp single to left from Cody White (3 of 4, RBI) with two runners on to make it 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh. The Gorillas added an insurance run in the 8th when Dallas Reed (2 of 5, RBI) singled through the left side to plate Colton Pogue (2 for 2, 2B, 2 BB, R).

Earlier in the day, No. 8 Northeastern State upset No. 1 Central Oklahoma, 4-2, meaning the Lopers must the top-seeded Bronchos to stay alive. UCO and UNK play at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

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