Melanie Nichols baffled Husker hitters on Sunday, throwing a three-hit shutout to lead Ohio state to a 4-0 victory over the Nebraska softball team in the final game of a three-game series at Buckeye Field.
Despite the loss, Nebraska posted its first series win on the road in Big Ten play after sweeping both games of Saturday's doubleheader. The Huskers were unable to complete the sweep as Nichols - the losing pitcher in Saturday's second game - kept the Big Ten's highest scoring team at bay all game long. Nichols (10-7) allowed only three singles and just three total base runners, while never allowing a Husker to advance past second base. Nebraska was shut out for the first time in conference play, as the Huskers had scored at least four runs in each of their first 14 Big Ten games, while averaging more than six runs per game.
Behind her effort, Ohio State snapped a seven-game conference losing streak, as the Buckeyes improved to 27-18 on the year and moved to 6-8 in Big Ten Conference play. Nebraska fell to 29-17 and 10-5 in league play.
Sophomore right-hander Tatum Edwards (7-4) took the loss for Nebraska. In 3.0 innings, Edwards allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits, while striking out two and walking a pair. Senior right-hander Ashley Hagemann was sold in relief, allowing only one hit in 3.0 innings. Both runs that Hagemann allowed were unearned and three of Ohio State's four runs in the game were unearned.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third when a single, a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases with only one out. Ohio State took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly before a Husker throwing error gave the Buckeyes a 2-0 advantage.
Nebraska got its first hit - and only its second base runner - in the top of the fifth, when junior Courtney Breault blooped a single to shallow center. But the next two Husker hitters were retired on three pitches.
Senior Nikki Haget then reached on a one-out single in the top of the sixth and was replaced on the base paths after junior Gabby Banda grounded into a fielder's choice. Banda then stole second before senior Ashley Guile lined a ball to the gap in left field that hung up just long enough for Vanessa Spears to make a running catch to end the inning.
Another error cost Nebraska more runs in the bottom of the sixth, when an error prolonged the inning before Megan Coletta lined a two-run homer over the fence in left field to double the Buckeye lead.
In the seventh, junior Brooke Thomason led off with a single before Nichols retired the final three hitters.
Nebraska wraps up its eight-game road trip on Wednesday with a midweek matchup against in-state rival Creighton in Omaha.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations