Huskers Rally for Thrilling Win Over No. 8 Arizona

By: Courtesy: NU Media Relations
By: Courtesy: NU Media Relations

Courtney Breault delivered a two-out, walk-off RBI single in her first career start to lift the 20th-ranked Nebraska softball team to a dramatic 11-10 victory over eighth-ranked Arizona in a thrilling matchup at the Kajikawa Classic on Friday.

Breault's single capped the second of Nebraska's two comebacks in the game. The Huskers trailed 6-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, but responded with nine straight runs to take a 9-6 lead heading into the seventh inning. But a two-out, three-run double gave the Wildcats a 10-9 lead in the top of the seventh, setting the stage for Breault's dramatics.

In the final inning, Nebraska tied the game on an RBI single from sophomore Tatum Edwards and with the bases loaded and two outs, Breault lined a 1-2 pitch into right field to score sophomore Taylor Edwards with the winning run.

The Huskers' comeback effort started after Arizona used three home runs to build a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. Nebraska answered with five runs in the fourth, capped by a grand slam from junior Gabby Banda. After pulling to within one, Nebraska tied the game with a single run in the fifth and scored three times in the sixth to take its first lead.

Clutch hitting then allowed Nebraska (1-1) to complete the comeback. The rally made a winner out of senior right-hander Ashley Hagemann (1-1), who delivered a gutsy complete-game performance. Hagemann struck out seven and allowed seven earned runs, as three of the four runs that scored in the top of the seventh were unearned.

Shelby Babcock (1-2) took the loss for Arizona (1-2), in relief of two-time All-American Kenzie Fowler. Babcock allowed two runs on five hits in 1.1 innings, while Fowler gave up nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits over the first 5.1 innings.

Offensively, Nebraska out-hit Arizona, 12-11. Guile and Tatum Edwards each went 3-for-4, with Guile driving in a pair and Edwards producing her lone RBI with the game-tying single in the bottom of the seventh. Breault finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, while Taylor Edwards was 2-for-3 and tied a school record by scoring four runs. Banda added a career-high four RBIs with her grand slam, the first by a Husker since March of 2010.

For Arizona, Lini Kori was 3-for-4 with three home runs and four RBIs, while Hallie Wilson was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, including the go-ahead three-run double in the top of the seventh inning.
After Hagemann struck out three in the top of the first inning, Koria blasted a 2-0 offering over the fence in left center to lead off the top of the second. Three batters later, Hagemann again fell behind Shelby Pendley 2-0 before she hit a two-run home to center field to give Arizona a 3-0 lead.

Koria hit her second home run of the game one inning later, sending a 3-2 changeup from Hagemann over the fence in right center, giving the Wildcats a 5-0 lead.

Arizona added to its lead with another run in the top of the fourth. A pair of singles and a hit batter loaded the bases with only one out, before Jessica Spigner was hit by a two-out pitch to force in a run and push the lead to 6-0.

The Huskers began their comeback in the bottom of the frame. Taylor Edwards was hit by the first pitch of the inning, Guile followed with a walk and Tatum Edwards singled to shallow center to load the bases. Junior Brooke Thomason then worked a five-pitch walk to score Edwards. After a strikeout, Banda capped an outstanding at bat with a grand slam to center field.

The bottom of the fifth inning began in similar fashion. Taylor Edwards walked, Guile singled and Tatum Edwards surprised the Wildcats with a bunt that she beat out for a single. With the bases loaded and none out, Taylor Edwards came home to tie the game on a wild pitch.

Nebraska's offense continued to produce in the sixth. Senior Nikki Haget reached on an error to begin the frame, and the Huskers had runners at second and third following a one-out double from Taylor Edwards. Guile then delivered a clutch two-run single to right center that gave Nebraska an 8-6 lead. Back-to-back walks then loaded the bases before Breault recorded an RBI, infield single to give Nebraska a three-run cushion.

Koria added her third home run - a one-out solo shot - in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to two. Then with two outs, an error and an infield single loaded the bases for Wilson, who delivered a bases-clearing, three-run double that just eluded a diving Tatum Edwards in left. The double put Arizona in front 10-9 and set the stage for a memorable bottom of the seventh.

Nebraska immediately returns to action and closes day two of the Kajikawa Classic on Friday night against Idaho State.

Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations


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