Right-handers Ashley Hagemann and Molly Hill shut down a potent Wichita State offense while the Huskers scored in each of the final four innings, as the Nebraska softball team wrapped up a perfect weekend with an 8-1 victory over the Shockers on Sunday afternoon.
Hagemann allowed one run on only two hits in 4.1 innings, while striking out five. She earned her second straight victory and improved to 4-2 on the season. Hill picked up her second save of the season, as she entered with the score 2-1. Over the final 2.2 innings, Hill did not allow a hit while issuing only two walks.
Offensively, Nebraska pounded out 12 hits while scoring at least eight runs for the eighth time this season. The Huskers hit two more home runs against the Shockers, as NU has slugged 14 home runs in 15 games after finishing with only 15 home runs in 53 games last season.
Senior Brittany Pascale and sophomore Heidi Foland each homered as part of 2-for-4 days. Pascale's two-run blast came in the Huskers' five-run sixth inning, as Nebraska came within one run of posting its fourth straight run-rule victory. Overall, the Huskers have won five straight and sit at 11-4 on the season.
Kasha Kolb (5-8) took the loss for the host Shockers, who fell to 9-11 on the season. Kolb allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 5.2 innings.
Nebraska had a chance to take an early lead in the bottom of the first, but Wichita State right fielder Kiersten Dixon kept the Huskers off the board. Each of the first three batters reached for Nebraska, but Dixon threw out senior Meghan Mullin at home trying to score on an error following a single by senior Darcy Rutherford. With one out and runners on first and second, Dixon then turned in an inning-ending double play by catching a fly ball and throwing a strike to third to get Rutherford.
After coming up empty on three hits and a walk through the first two innings, Mullin and Rutherford reached on consecutive one-out singles in the third. The Huskers finally broke through on their sixth hit of the game, as senior Amanda Duran ripped a two-out RBI single to center to score Mullin.
NU made sure its next hit would count as well, as Foland fell behind 0-2 before ripping a 1-2 offering off the scoreboard in left for a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth.
Wichita State answered in the fifth when Jamie Stanclift led off with a home run to left center. Hagemann then walked two of the next three batters before being relieved by Hill. The runners moved up to second and third with two outs following a ground out. Hill then fell behind the next batter 3-0 before getting a foul out to end the inning and preserve the 2-1 lead.
Nebraska got the run back in the bottom of the frame thanks to a pair of key Wichita State errors. Pascale ripped a two-out single before Foland hit a pop up to shallow center that shortstop Holly Eckert was unable to catch. With runners at the corner, Foland stole second and Kara L'Huillier was unable to handle the throw down, allowing junior pinch-runner Alex Hupp to score.
After being somewhat frustrated offensively through the first five innings, Nebraska exploded in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Julie Brechtel got things started with a one-out walk that started a string of four consecutive Huskers reaching base safely. Mullin and Rutherford followed with singles to load the bases for senior Crystal Carwile, who ripped a 2-2 pitch up the middle for a two-run single.
Duran then gave Nebraska a 6-1 lead with a sacrifice fly that scored Rutherford before Pascale ripped her two-run homer to right center.
Duran finished with two RBIs in the game, as did Pascale and Carwile. While the middle of the order drove in the runs, the top of the order did an excellent job of getting on base for the second straight game. Mullin and Rutherford each had three hits apiece which led to a total of three runs scored.
Nebraska hits the road again next weekend, as the Huskers play a pair of games on Thursday at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.