Huskers Score Late To Edge Michigan State

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Lincoln - Ashley Guile's two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie and lifted the Nebraska softball team to a 5-3 win over Michigan State in game one of a Saturday doubleheader at Bowlin Stadium.

Nebraska pounded out 13 hits in the game, but stranded 11 runners. Eight of Nebraska's nine starters had a hit, including two-hit games from Guile and fellow senior Nikki Haget, junior Courtney Breault and freshmen Jordan Bettiol and Mattie Fowler. Breault also drove in a pair of runs, while Fowler, Guile and junior Brooke Thomason each produced one RBI.

Guile's RBI single highlighted a two-run sixth inning that lifted Nebraska to its 15th straight home victory. In improving to 12-0 at home this season, the Huskers also won their 30th game. Nebraska is now 30-18 on the year, including an 11-5 record in Big Ten Conference play.

Senior right-hander Ashley Hagemann (22-14) earned the win while battling through a complete-game effort. Hagemann allowed three runs on eight hits, striking out 10 and walking three.

Nebraska native Carly Nielsen (3-16) took the loss for Michigan State, which fell to 11-35 on the season and remained winless in league play at 0-16. Nielsen allowed three runs over the first 2.1 innings and then re-entered to pitch the sixth inning and gave up the final two runs. Overall, Nielsen pitched 3.2 innings and allowed five runs on 10 hits.

Michigan State loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first on a pair of singles and a walk before a strikeout and a fly out ended the threat. Then in the bottom of the frame, Haget led off with an infield single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from junior Gabby Banda and to third on a deep fly out from sophomore Taylor Edwards. Haget then scored when Thomason lined a two-out, RBI single to right field.

The Spartans then grabbed a 3-1 lead in the top of the third when Sarah Bowling ripped a three-run home run to right center.

The Huskers answered right back to tie the game in the bottom of the frame. A pair of walks and a wild pitch put Taylor Edwards on third and Guile on second. Breault brought Edwards home with a sacrifice fly, before a clutch two-out, RBI single from Fowler on an 0-2 pitch scored Guile with the tying run. A walk from senior Madison Drake and a single from Bettiol loaded the bases before a nice diving play from second baseman Ali Grant ended the inning.

With the game still tied at 3-3, Michigan State nearly took the lead in the top of the fifth. The first two batters were quickly retired but a hit batter and a walk put runners at first and second with two outs. Jayme O'Bryant then singled to center, where Haget fielded the ball on one hop and threw home in time to get pinch runner Kelsey Cleary to end the inning. Michigan State Head Coach Jacquie Joseph argued for obstruction on the play, as Cleary slid into catcher Taylor Edwards as the ball arrived and never made it to home plate.

In the bottom of the frame, a pair of one-out singles from Breault and Fowler put runners on first and second with one out. A ground out moved the runners to second and third before Bettiol hit a hard line drive right to the shortstop to end the inning.

Nielsen then re-entered the game to pitch the sixth and allowed back-to-back, one-out singles to Banda and Taylor Edwards. Thomason then hit a deep fly ball to the gap in right center, where Kylene Hopkins showed great range to make a running catch on the warning track, and the runners had to scramble back to their bases. Guile then lined an RBI single over the shortstop's head to score Banda with the go-ahead run. Breault then followed with an RBI single to tack on an insurance run.

Hagemann hit the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh but quickly retired the next three hitters to wrap up the victory.

Nebraska and Michigan State wrap up Saturday play with game two of the doubleheader.