UNK Baseball: Day Reaches Milestone as Lopers Sweep Pitt
Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney got strong efforts from starting pitchers Michael Hahn and Logan Willard and closer Joe Smidt saved two more games as the Lopers swept a double header from Pittsburg State, 6-3 and 4-1, Friday evening in Kansas.
Damon Day now has 300 career wins as Loper skipper. Taking over in 2004, he has registered four 30 win seasons and had three other springs between 25-28 victories. Including his time at Dana, the Indiana native has 378 career coaching victories.
In game one, the Lopers (26-16, 20-15) saw Hahn registered his fifth win of 2014 by throwing three scoreless innings. He ended up with three K’s and allowed just three hits in four full innings.
Gering senior Carlos Palomo got the hold by allowing one earned in two innings with Smidt (North Platte) giving up two hits but no runs to pick up his eighth save.
UNK busted things open with a four-run fourth that featured four singles and back-to-back walks.
At the plate, cleanup hitter Anthony Pacheco (Kearney Catholic H.S.) went 3 for 4 with two runs scored with leadoff hitter Brandon Landanger (Kearney H.S.) 1 for 3 with an RBI. And, from the nine hole, freshman third baseman Brent Kirsch (Papillion-LaVista South H.S.) went 3 for 3 with a run and RBI.
Willard (Eagle Grove, Ia.) is now 5-0 after striking out five and giving up a run in 6.2 innings. Things got a bit dicey in the Pitt (16-29, 11-14) seventh as runners were at first and second.
However, Smidt got Brad Foss, who had the game winner Thursday night, to fly out to right. In 2011, Jake Kresse set the UNK record for saves in a season with 11. A year earlier, Ricky Muir had nine saves.
Kearney’s first three hitters – Landanger, junior second baseman Coby Roming (Canyon, Texas) and junior first baseman Danny Droll (Penrose, Colo.) – were a combined 7 for 11 with three runs.
Another junior, catcher Max Ayoub (Grand Island), had the biggest blow, a three-run double to break a one all tie in the fifth. Two of the Lopers that scored reached via walk, the only base on balls of the game for UNK.