Ashley Hagemann posted another impressive pitching performance as the Nebraska softball team held on for a 4-2 win over Loyola-Chicago on Saturday afternoon to close out a 3-1, weather-shortened weekend at the Mizuno Classic.
The Huskers were scheduled to appear in Sunday's championship game, but that contest has been cancelled due to the threat of inclement weather. Nebraska will take a 13-12 overall record heading into Tuesday's home opener with South Dakota.
In her 12th straight start for Nebraska, Hagemann (8-10) allowed only one earned run while scattering five hits in a winning effort. She kept the Ramblers scoreless until the seventh inning, when Loyola-Chicago scored twice and had the tying runners in scoring position before Hagemann recorded back-to-back strikeouts to wrap up the win. Earlier Saturday, Hagemann tossed a five-inning shutout against the Ramblers.
With Hagemann in control in the circle, the Husker offense tallied 12 hits and scored four runs, despite stranding nine runners. Junior Gabby Banda led the way with a 3-for-3 day that included a double and an RBI. Classmate Brooke Thomason went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer. In the two games Saturday against Loyola-Chicago, Banda and Thomason combined to go 9-for-12 with one double, two home runs and seven RBIs.
Amanda Ciran (0-5) took the loss for the Ramblers, who fell to 3-8 on the year.
After the Ramblers were retired in order in the top of the first, the Husker offense missed a chance to jump out to an early lead. Senior Nikki Haget led off with a single and Banda and sophomore Taylor Edwards followed with back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases with none out. But Ciran retired the next three hitters without allowing a run to cross the plate.
The Huskers did crack the scoreboard in the third. Banda led off with a single and senior Ashley Guile reached on a one-out single and stole second to put runners at second and third. Banda scored on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Tatum Edwards before Thomason blasted an opposite field, two-out, two-run homer that stretched the lead to 3-0.
NU missed a chance to add to its lead in the bottom of the fifth, recording three hits without scoring a run for the second time in the game. Banda led off with a double and was at third with one out before she was tagged out in a rundown following a missed squeeze.
The Huskers threatened again in the sixth. Junior Megan Southworth pinch hit and began the inning with a single, before senior Madison Drake followed with a bunt single and Haget reached on another infield single to load the bases with none out. Banda then brought Southworth with a sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Loyola-Chicago scored twice and threatened to tie the game. A walk, two singles and an error cut the Husker lead to 4-2 and gave the Ramblers runners at second and third with one out. But Hagemann dug deep and struck out the next two batters to end the game. She finished the game with three strikeouts.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations