The Nebraska softball team needed extra innings again to polish off a doubleheader sweep of North Dakota State on Tuesday at Bowlin Stadium, as a throwing error allowed the winning run to score in the bottom of the 10th inning of the Huskers' 3-2 victory in game two.
Nebraska, who won the first game 2-1 in nine innings, improved to 17-5 on the season by winning for the 11th time in the past 12 games. The Huskers won both ends of the doubleheader in walk-off fashion, a feat NU had not accomplished in nearly two seasons. Nebraska also swept a non-conference doubleheader at Bowlin Stadium for the 16th time in 17 tries.
After throwing all nine innings in game one, senior right-hander Molly hill tossed five innings of hitless relief in the nightcap to improve to 12-3 on the season. She retired seven of the final eight hitters to earn her third straight win. Hill pitched 14.0 innings on the day, allowing only five hits and letting just two balls leave the infield all night.
With Hill in control in the circle, reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Julie Brechtel highlighted the Huskers' eight-hit attack at the plate. Brechtel finished 3-for-5 in the game to match her career high for hits. She also scored the winning run after ripping a double to right center with one out in the 10th. Senior Amanda Duran added the other key hit with a two-run double in the first inning.
Kim Westendorf (1-2) took the loss for the Bison, allowing three runs (two earned) in a complete-game effort. Westendorf allowed eight hits and walked seven, as the Huskers stranded 12 runners in the game. North Dakota State fell to 12-10 with the loss.
After scoring just one run in nine innings in game one of the doubleheader, NDSU scored twice in the top of the first inning of game two. After a leadoff single, Melissa Chmielewski belted a one-out homer into a stiff breeze in left to give the Bison a 2-0 lead.
The Huskers answered in the bottom of the frame by loading the bases with no outs on a pair of infield singles and a walk. Duran then ripped a shot just inside the third-base bag that rolled out of play for a two-run ground rule double that scored fellow seniors Meghan Mullin and Darcy Rutherford.
With the score tied 2-2, North Dakota State recorded an out before a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Brechtel then lined a pitch that appeared headed for the gap in left center, but Bison shortstop Nicole Rivera robbed her of a hit with a nice grab that prevented at least two runs from scoring. Westendorf then got out of the inning with a ground out.
After the two teams combined for four runs in the first inning, neither team scored again until the game-winning run in the 10th. Each team had chances, as Nebraska stranded nine runners from the second to the ninth inning, while NDSU left seven on base during that stretch.
In the bottom of the eighth, Brechtel led off with a single to left and Long moved her to second with a sacrifice bunt. An error gave the Huskers runners at the corners and freshman pinch-hitter Jamie Gay put down a squeeze bunt, but Bison third baseman Breanna Konz was able to field cleanly and throw home in time to get Brechtel. Rutherford then grounded out to end the inning.
Brechtel again got things started in the 10th with her one-out double. A walk to Long followed before junior Whitney Barrett reached on a fielder's choice to put runners at first and third with two outs. Barrett then got caught in a rundown between first and second and during the rundown, North Dakota State unleashed a wild throw to allow Brechtel to score the winning run.
Nebraska hosts another doubleheader at Bowlin Stadium on Wednesday, when the Huskers face South Dakota beginning at 3 p.m.
Courtesy: NU Media Relations