The 25th-ranked Nebraska softball team scored three straight runs in the top of the fifth inning to tie the top-ranked Oklahoma at 3-3, only to see the unbeaten Sooners score seven times with two outs in the bottom of the frame en route to a 10-3 victory.
Nebraska's initial three-run rally allowed the Huskers to become the first ranked team to score a run against Oklahoma this season, as the Sooners had outscored their first seven ranked opponents 47-0. But OU proved why it’s the nation's best team by answering the three runs with seven of its own, while improving to 17-0 on the year.
For Nebraska, the Huskers fell to 11-5 with their second straight loss to a top-10 opponent. All five NU losses have come to ranked opponents, including its second loss to Oklahoma. The Huskers had chances to add more runs throughout the game, loading the bases with less than two outs in the third, fifth and seventh innings, but leaving the bases loaded all three times, while scoring only three runs. On the day, Nebraska was 0-for-9 with the bases loaded.
Junior right-hander Tatum Edwards (7-4) fought her control all day long, tying her career high with nine walks, while allowing a career-high nine earned runs in 4.1 innings. Freshman right-hander Danica Bishop continued the strong start to her career by pitching a scoreless final 1.1 innings, allowing only a single.
Reigning national player of the year Keilani Ricketts improved to 9-0, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits in 6.0 innings, striking out eight.
Nebraska's first bases-loaded opportunity came with only one out in the top of the third. Freshman Dawna Tyson reached on a leadoff single, before classmate Kiki Stokes drew a one-out walk and senior Gabby Banda followed with a single through the left side. With the bases loaded and only one out, Ricketts dug down and struck out junior Taylor Edwards and senior Brooke Thomason - the Big Ten's two RBI leaders - to prevent any damage.
The Sooners then loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame on a walk and a pair of singles. Jessica Shults then brought home the game's first run with an RBI groundout, before Ricketts delivered a two-run single that pushed the Oklahoma lead to 3-0.
Nebraska converted a similar opportunity in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 3-3. Tyson was hit by a pitch before sophomore Jordan Bettiol walked and Stokes reached on an infield single to load the bases with no outs. Banda was then hit by her second pitch of the day to bring Tyson home with Nebraska's first run.
Taylor Edwards then appeared to be hit by the first pitch she saw, but the pitch was ruled to have hit the bat for a foul ball. Taylor Edwards ultimately struck out before a Thomason ground ball turned into a force out at home. But with two outs, Tatum Edwards hit a hard ground ball to Jessica Vest at short. Vest bobbled the ball, allowing a run to score. She then threw wildly to second, allowing Banda to also score and tie the game at 3-3.
But Oklahoma regained the lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame, scoring seven two-out runs to provide the final margin of victory. Tatum Edwards walked five of the next seven batters she faced after quickly recording the first two outs. In between the walks which included a bases-loaded walk to Brianna Turang was an RBI single from Destinee Martinez and a two-run single from Shults, who finished with three RBIs. Ricketts then helped herself with a two-run single to cap the seven-run inning.
Nebraska did not go quietly to end the game, forcing Ricketts from the game after loading the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh following walks by Banda and Taylor Edwards and a single from Thomason. But lefty Michelle Gascoigne came on in relief and retired the next three Huskers to preserve the victory.
Banda led Nebraska's offense by finishing 1-for-1 with a walk and two hit-by-pitches, while producing the Huskers' lone RBI.
The Huskers and Sooners wrap up their Saturday doubleheader with game two at the OU Softball Complex.