A five-run first inning propelled the Nebraska softball team to a 12-4 road win over Wichita State on Saturday afternoon in the Huskers' second game of the Shocker Invitational at Wilkins Stadium.
Senior Haley Long was the star of a balanced game for the Husker offense, while sophomore Tori Tyson sparkled in her season debut in the circle. Each of Nebraska's nine starters recorded a hit, as the Huskers established season highs with 12 runs and 14 hits. Six Huskers produced a multi-hit game, led by Long, who finished 2-for-3 with pair of runs scored, two RBIs and her first home run of the season. Long's two hits, two runs and two RBIs were all season highs.
Sophomores Julie Brechtel and Heidi Foland also had two hits apiece, as Foland produced three RBIs and Brechtel tied her season high by driving in a pair of runs. Senior Amanda Duran also finished with two hits after doubling in each of her final two at bats.
In the circle, Tyson picked up her first victory of the season by tossing 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. In earning her second career victory, Tyson allowed just three hits. Senior right-hander Molly Hill earned the start and allowed a season-high four earned runs on only three hits in 3.1 innings.
The win was Nebraska's third straight, as the Huskers improved to 9-4 on the season. The victory was also Nebraska's second road win of the year after the Huskers posted just one road victory all of last season.
Wichita State fell to 7-10 with the loss. Kasha Kolb (5-7) could not get out of the first inning, as she allowed five runs (three earned) in two-thirds of an inning. Brianna Smet came on in relief and was charged with seven runs on 11 hits over the final 6.1 innings.
In the top of the first, Nebraska used some timely hitting to strike for five two-out runs. Foland opened the scoring with an RBI single. Foland hit a sharp grounder that got past the shortstop, allowing senior Meghan Mullin to score from second with a nice slide at home. On the throw home, Foland went to second and when Wichita State attempted to get her at second, senior Crystal Carwile also came in to score.
Leading 2-0, senior Brittany Pascale brought Foland home with an RBI single up the middle. An error and a bunt single then loaded the bases for Brechtel, who capped the five-run inning with a two-run single to right.
Wichita State got a run back in the bottom of the first as Hill struggled with her control. A hit batter and a walk put Shockers at first and second with two outs before Jamie Hull hit a chopper up the middle that got through for an RBI single.
After stranding a pair of runners in the second, the Huskers used a pair of singles and a hit batter to load the bases with only one out in the top of the third. Mullin then placed down a perfect RBI bunt single and Carwile followed with an RBI bloop single to center to put Nebraska in front 7-1. The Huskers still had the bases with only one out before a pop out and a line out ended the inning.
Hill struggled with her control again in the fourth inning. She walked consecutive batters to load the bases before Jamie Stanclift ripped a two-run double off the wall in right. The double pulled the Shockers to within 7-3 and left runners on second and third for Tyson. Tyson was called for an illegal pitch on her first offering to allow the third run of the inning to score. She rebounded by getting a ground out and a fly out to preserve the Huskers' 7-4 lead.
NU answered back with three runs in the sixth. Senior Amanda Duran began the inning with a double before the next two batters were quickly retired. Junior Whitney Barrett then blooped a two-out RBI single to shallow center field that scored freshman pinch-runner Jamie Gay. Long then put the Huskers in front 10-4 with an opposite-field two-run homer, her first of the season.
The Huskers added two more insurance runs in the seventh when Foland ripped a two-out, two-run single up the middle to give Nebraska an eight-run lead.
Tyson struggled to close out the game by issuing two walks and allowing two singles in the bottom of the seventh, but she coaxed an inning-ending ground out to keep the Shockers off the scoreboard.
Nebraska returns to action tomorrow with two more games at the Shocker Invitational. The Huskers face North Dakota at 11 a.m. and Wichita State at 4 p.m.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations