UCCS Eliminated by Lopers
GRAND JUNCTION -- A five-run fifth inning lifted the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers to an 8-6 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Friday at Columbine Field, eliminating the Mountain Lions from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament.
The loss marked the end of an institution for UCCS as first baseman Lindsay Shandera played her final game. The senior from Mill Creek, Wash., completed her four-year career as the school's all-time leader in RBIs and second on the all-time list in hits, runs scored and home runs. This season, Shandera hit .421 with a .530 on base percentage. She was among the national leaders as toughest to strike out (once every 53 at bats) and RBIs (1.23 per game).
"I'll always be very, very proud of playing for UCCS and what I've done here," said Shandera. "I'll always look back and be proud that I got to play in this program, I got to play under these coaches and with these players."
Nebraska-Kearney began the fifth inning with a solo home run by Sydnee Kosmicki. Two batters later, Molly Langerak ripped an RBI single up the middle. Danya Cole added a three-run homer from which UCCS could not recover.
UCCS pitcher Libby White (18-8) had allowed three runs on four hits going into the fifth. As the game progressed, though, she was increasingly bothered by a lingering rib injury that had sidelined her for nearly three weeks.
Before the fateful fifth, the Mountain Lions had methodically built a 6-3 lead. Shandera had an RBI single in the first, and Haney and Shandera added RBIs in the second. Another rally in the fourth inning yielded a run-scoring groundout by Haney and an RBI double by Shandera. Sarah Brisky's sacrifice in the top of the fifth made it 6-3.
Then came the bottom of the fifth and, with it, the end of the Mountain Lions' season.
"We had our ups and downs but we made it through it as a team," said Shandera. "We just didn't pull through at the end."
Shandera had three hits in her final game, while Haney, Brianna Workman and Sierra Green added two each. But UCCS stranded 10 runners while Nebraska-Kearney only left two.
It was a familiar theme for Mountain Lions' fans, who have gone through the thrill of a remarkably talented team as well as the frustration of an extraordinarily young team. Shandera, the only senior, was joined by five juniors, four sophomores and nine freshmen, most of whom played a significant role.
"They're a young team but they've grown a lot," said Shandera, who has already secured a post-graduation job with an accounting firm. "They have grown in maturity and skill.
"They're going to step it up. They know what it takes; they know how to lead."
They should. In Shandera, they've had a chance to learn from the best.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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