The Nebraska softball team saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, as Minnesota had all the answers in a 13-7 victory in Minneapolis.
The game was tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning before Minnesota used four hits and three Husker errors to score six times and take control of the game. Nebraska responded with a five-run sixth inning to pull within one, before the Gophers answered with six runs in the bottom of the frame to end any thoughts of a Husker comeback.
Minnesota won to even its Big Ten Conference record at 2-2, while improving to 20-9 overall. Sara Moulton, the conference leader in ERA, earned the victory to improve to 15-7 on the year. In a complete-game effort, Moulton won despite allowing a season-high six runs.
Nebraska lost for the first time in conference action, falling to 20-13 on the year and 3-1 in Big Ten play. Senior right-hander Ashley Hagemann (13-11) took the loss, allowing a career-high totals of 13 runs, 12 earned runs and 12 hits.
The teams combined to strand five runners over the first two innings, before Kaitlyn Richardson gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a two-out, solo home run to right center.
The Huskers tied the game in the top of the fourth. Senior Ashley Guile began the inning with a single and was replaced on the basepaths with two outs by junior Brooke Thomason, who reached on a fielder's choice. Freshman Mattie Fowler then blooped a single into shallow left center field to put runners at the corners. With junior Courtney Breault at the plate, Fowler took off for second base and stayed in a rundown long enough for Thomason to score from third and tie the game at 1-1.
Minnesota grabbed the lead right back in the bottom of the frame. A leadoff walk and a bloop single put runners at first and second. Erica Meyer then lined an RBI single to right field to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead. An error allowed the runners to move up to second and third before Hannah Granger delivered a two-run single through the right side. Then with two outs, a pair of Husker errors, a wild pitch and a two-run single contributed to three more Gopher runs, as Minnesota stretched its lead to 7-1.
Nebraska's offense got going again in the top of the sixth. Junior Gabby Banda began the inning with a double, sophomore Taylor Edwards walked and Guile followed with a bloop single. With the bases loaded and none out, sophomore Tatum Edwards hit a ground ball that bounced off the third baseman, allowing two runs to score on the error. Trailing 7-3, the Huskers had runners on first and second with one out but could not cut into the lead any further.
Minnesota answered again with six runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 10-6 lead and put the game away.
Nebraska scored once in the top of the seventh on a Minnesota error. Breault led the offense with a 1-for-1 day that included her three-run home run, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Banda went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored, while Guile was 3-for-4.
The Huskers and Gophers wrap up Saturday action at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium with game two of the doubleheader.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations