Homers Power Huskers Past North Dakota

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The Nebraska softball team hit two early home runs then exploded for five runs in the fifth inning to post a 9-1 five-inning victory over North Dakota on Saturday at the Shocker Invitational at a windy Wilkins Stadium in Wichita, Kan.

The Huskers finished with eight hits in only 22 at bats, including a pair of homers and two doubles. Senior Crystal Carwile led the offense with a 2-for-3 day that included a two-run homer and an RBI double. Carwile finished with a season-high three RBIs, while senior Meghan Mullin singled, walked twice and scored a career-high three times. Sophomore Julie Brechtel also homered as part of a 1-for-2 day.

In the circle, freshman right-hander Ashley Hagemann snapped a personal two-game losing streak and improved to 3-2 on the season by tossing her second one-hitter of the season, both against North Dakota. A solo home run was the only blemish on Hagemann's line, as she was perfect through four innings and retired 15 of the 16 batters she faced. Hagemann finished the game with 10 strikeouts, her second career double-digit strikeout game.

Nebraska jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Carwile launched a two-run homer to left center, her third of the season. The homer was the 30th of Carwile's career, as she became just the fourth player in the 34-year history of Husker softball to hit 30 career home runs.

Another home run gave Nebraska a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third. This home run was from a more unlikely source, as Brechtel lined a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right for a leadoff homer, the first of her career. The Huskers added a two-out run when senior Amanda Duran ripped an RBI single up the middle that scored Mullin.

North Dakota cut the lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth when Hannah-Rose Peters broke up Hagemann's perfect game with a leadoff homer to left center. Prior to Peters' blast, Hagemann had retired the first 12 batters of the game, including eight by strikeout.

The Huskers quickly got the run back and then some in the bottom of the frame. Senior Darcy Rutherford got things started with a leadoff double before Mullin reached on a bunt single. On Mullin's bunt, pitcher Shelly Wolf threw wildly to first allowing Rutherford to score and Mullin to advance to second. Carwile then ripped an RBI double off the wall in right center that put the Huskers on top 6-1 and marked the end of the day for Wolf.

Karlie Fisher relieved Wolf and immediately struggled with her control. Fisher walked Duran on four pitches and walked another batter to load the bases with two outs, before junior Alex Hupp tapped a ball in front of home plate that she was able to beat out for an RBI single. On the play, a throwing error by Fisher allowed two more runs to score and close out the run-rule victory.

Wolf (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing seven runs in four innings of work. Fisher tossed the final 0.2 innings, allowing two unearned runs on one hit for the Fighting Sioux (1-5).

Nebraska (8-4) wraps up play on the opening day of the Shocker Invitational with a game against host Wichita State.

Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations