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The Nebraska softball team scored seven runs over the first three innings then held on for a 7-6 victory over Northwestern in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at Bowlin Stadium.
The win clinched a series victory for the Huskers in their first-ever Big Ten Conference series, after Nebraska came from behind for a 9-6 victory on Friday, capped by a walk-off grand slam from junior Brooke Thomason. The Huskers trailed again on Saturday, falling behind 3-0 after a half inning of play. But Nebraska answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the frame, two more in the second and two more in the third.
That was enough support for senior right-hander Ashley Hagemann, who picked up the win while making her 17th consecutive start in the circle. Hagemann (13-10) worked out of jams all day, scattering five hits and a career-high 11 walks. Only three of the six runs she allowed were earned.
Hagemann had to deal with base runners in every inning but one. Northwestern loaded the bases in each of the first four innings, but only scored in one of those frames. On the game, the Wildcats stranded 13 base runners, including 11 over the first four innings and the tying runner in the top of the seventh.
Northwestern jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first despite never hitting the ball out of the infield. Hagemann struggled with her control, walking three in the inning and Nebraska also missed a chance to get out of the inning down only 1-0.
A leadoff infield single was followed by back-to-back walks that loaded the bases with none out. Hagemann bounced back with a strikeout before Olivia Duehr hit a ground ball to short. Freshman shortstop Mattie Fowler decided to throw home, but her throw was late as Northwestern took a 1-0 lead. Nebraska did not get an out on the play, leaving the bases loaded which loomed large when Hagemann walked the next batter to force in a second run. Then after recording the second out, a second infield single brought home another run.
Nebraska answered with a two-out rally to tie the game in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Taylor Edwards ignited the rally by working a 12-pitch, two-out walk. Junior Brooke Thomason followed with a single before sophomore Tatum Edwards hit a pop up behind third base. Shortstop Emily Allard was in position to make the catch but lost the ball and couldn't make the catch. Taylor Edwards scored on the play before Guile ripped a two-run double to right to tie the game at 3-3.
After Northwestern left the bases loaded in the top of the second, Nebraska scored twice in the bottom of the frame to take a 5-3 lead. Senior Madison Drake began the inning with a single, before Taylor Edwards reached on a two-out single and Thomason walked to load the bases. Tatum Edwards then hit a two-run double off the fence in left.
The Husker defense then turned a crucial double play in the top of the third to help Hagemann escape a bases-loaded, none-out jam and preserve the two-run lead.
In the bottom of the frame, the Huskers added to their lead. An error allowed Fowler to reach second and she moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt from junior Courtney Breault. Drake then walked before Haget produced an RBI single up the minute. Banda was then hit by a pitch to load the bases before Taylor Edwards walked to force in Drake and give Nebraska a 7-3 lead.
Northwestern loaded the bases for the fourth straight inning in the fourth and was held scoreless for the third straight frame. A one-out single was followed by a pair of walks to load the bases before Hagemann struck out the next two batters.
Nebraska left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, missing a chance to add an insurance run. Hagemann then walked the first two batters she faced in the seventh before an error loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate with none out. An RBI ground out and a two-out, two-run single from Adrienne Monka cut the lead to 7-6 before Hagemann struck out Marisa Bast, the Wildcat cleanup hitter, to wrap up the victory.
Hagemann finished with eight strikeouts, while Nebraska struck out only once. Tatum Edwards and Guile had two RBIs each to pace the Husker offense.
The Huskers and Wildcats wrap up their conference-opening three-game series with game two of the doubleheader.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations