Lincoln - Sophomore Mattie Fowler came through in the clutch to lift the 20th-ranked Nebraska softball team to its eighth straight victory with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over UNO on Tuesday at Bowlin Stadium.
Fowler gave the Huskers an early 1-0 lead with a unconventional solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. Fowler lined a 3-2 pitch to deep right field, where UNO right fielder Lindsay Redding ran back on the ball and reached her glove up just in front of the fence, but the ball tipped off her glove and over the fence for a solo home run.
That run looked like it would be all the support junior right-hander Tatum Edwards would need. Edwards took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before running into some tough luck. The frame began with a leadoff error, but a pair of ground balls left UNO with a runner on first and two outs. Molly Negrete then hit a chopper back up the middle that Tatum Edwards got her glove on, but deflected into shallow right field for a double. With runners on second and third and still two outs, a pair of slowly hit ground balls turned into back-to-back RBI, infield singles as UNO grabbed a 2-1 lead.
UNO ace Dana Elsasser then retired the Huskers in order in the bottom of the sixth, and it appeared the one-run lead would be enough for Elsasser. But the Huskers rallied in the bottom of the seventh.
Junior Taylor Edwards began the rally with a sharp single to left. Senior Brooke Thomason then hit a grounder that was headed through the right side, but the ball hit Edwards, who was called out for interference. Freshman Dawna Tyson then lined a single down the right-field line, and Thomason moved to third on the play with only one out. Freshman Hailey Decker, who was running for Tyson, moved to second on a ground out to bring Fowler to the plate with runners on second and third and the Huskers down to their last out. Fowler then lined a 2-0 pitch into center field for a walk-off, two-run single that gave Nebraska the 3-2 victory.
The walk-off hit continued a streak of clutch hitting for Fowler. A native of Tucson, Ariz., Fowler produced the game-winning hit in five of Nebraska's 14 Big Ten victories a year ago. Fowler also produced the game-winning hit in two of the Huskers' three extra-inning victories in 2012, while scoring the game-winning run in Nebraska's third extra-inning win last spring, a 1-0 eight-inning victory at UNO.
Fowler finished 2-for-3 on Tuesday with a season-high three RBIs. Her third-inning home run was her first of the season and the sixth of her career. Tyson also finished 2-for-3 in the win, as Nebraska out-hit UNO 7-4, with four of the Huskers' seven hits coming in the seventh inning.
With the rally, Nebraska won its eighth straight game and improved to 19-5 on the year. Tatum Edwards improved to 12-4 on the year with her fifth straight win, tossing a four-hitter and not allowing an earned run. She saw her scoreless innings streak end at 25.2 innings, but stretched her streak to 27.0 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. Edwards struck out seven, but walked six.
Elsasser (13-3) took the loss for UNO, which saw its five-game win streak snapped and fell to 22-3 on the year. Elsasser allowed three runs on seven hits in a complete-game effort.
Nebraska returns to action on Wednesday, hosting a doubleheader with North Dakota State at 2 p.m.