Backs against the wall, Northwest Missouri State's baseball team kept its MIAA Tournament hopes alive with a surprising road sweep of Nebraska-Kearney Tuesday in Kearney, Neb.
The Bearcats scored an unearned run in the eighth inning to win game one 4-3 and broke open the second game with a five-run sixth to win 7-1.
The sweep moved Northwest (16-25, 13-22) within five games of eighth place with eight to play and gave the Bearcats a four-game series split with fading UNK (19-20, 16-17). The Lopers dropped to ninth place and have now lost six straight.
Northwest had one of its better days on the mound all year, allowing just four runs in the two games. UNK scored in only two of the 15 innings.
Game one starter Austin Warren, a junior right hander, gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings, while Blane Reutter and Nathaniel Horton each worked 1 1/3 of scoreless relief and stranded a runner in scoring position.
The win went to Horton (1-2) who recorded the final out on a pop-up to center. He struck out the first two batters of the eighth inning.
Charlie Krueger singled in the game-winning run in the top of the eighth with one out. Eric McGlauflin, who got to second on a two-base throwing error, scored on the play.
The one-run win was only Northwest's second of the year. They had lost their last six games decided by a one-run margin.
Northwest held a 3-0 lead, scoring once in the first and twice in the fourth.
Eric Swain drove in Northwest's first inning run with an RBI single. Northwest went up 2-0 on an RBI groundout from Paul Johnson. Eric McGlauflin made it 3-0 with a theft of home.
Kearney answered with three in the bottom half of the fourth to tie it at 3.
Neither team scored again until Northwest plated the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth.
The Lopers stranded a runner at second in the sixth and seventh innings.
In game two, Northwest freshman Rob Henrichs (2-1) gave up a first running run and then held UNK scoreless over the remainder of his dominant six-inning stint to earn the win.
He struck out four, walked none and scattered five hits, all singles.
Patrick Brady finished it out with a 1-2-3 seventh.
Northwest scored twice in the first and finished the inning up 2-1.
Each team went scoreless for the next four innings before the Bearcats erupted for five in the sixth.
Cam Bedard and Ryan Abernathy each had RBI singles. Eric Swain followed with a two-run triple to make it 6-1.
Page 2 of 2 - Tyler Durant scored Northwest's final run on a throwing error.
Swain doubled in Northwest's first run and finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. McGlauflin and catcher Derek Meyer added two hits apiece.
McGlauflin had an RBI single in the first that made it 2-0.
Chandler Klute drove in UNK's only run with an RBI groundout.
The Lopers used four pitchers, the first three of which surrendered two earned runs.
Starter Scott Jameson was yanked during Northwest's five-run fifth.
The Bearcats are home this weekend for a three-game set with last-place Lincoln that begins with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.