LINCOLN, Neb. - In a back-and-forth battle, the Nebraska softball team (13-24, 2-8 Big Ten) fell to Purdue (29-15, 6-6 Big Ten) on Friday night by a score of 9-4.
Nebraska had five hits on the night. Alyvia Simmons, Tristen Edwards, Samantha Owen, Madi Unzicker and Bri Cassidy each had one hit. Simmons had two RBIs, while Madi Unzicker had one RBI and a double. Edwards and Owen recorded doubles, while Cassidy also had an RBI.
Olivia Ferrell (3-5) started and pitched 3.0 innings. She gave up six runs - four earned - on five hits and had one strikeout. Courtney Wallace pitched 3.0 innings of relief. She gave up three runs on three hits.
Purdue's Kaitlynn Moody improved to 10-6 on the season. She pitched 3.2 innings and gave up four runs - one earned - on five hits. She also had three strikeouts. Sydney Bates picked up her third save of the season, pitching 3.1 innings of relief. She didn't allow any runs or hits.
Nebraska threatened early. In the top of the first, Edwards hit a one-out double. With two outs, she moved to third on a wild pitch. Walljasper drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Walljasper stole second to put both runners in scoring position, but the Boilermakers got out of the jam with a strikeout. Purdue got on the board in the bottom of the inning after a two-run homer to go up 2-0.
In the top of the second, Nebraska tied the game 2-2 with help from of pair of Purdue errors and some clutch hitting. Ferrell reached on an error and advanced to second on Cassidy's sac bunt. Bree Boruff also reached on an error and Ferrell moved to third on the play. With runners on the corners and two outs, Simmons singled up the middle to score both Ferrell and Boruff and tie the game. In the bottom of the inning, Purdue went down in order.
The Huskers took the lead in the third. Madi Unzicker reached on an error and stole second to get in scoring position. A groundout allowed her to reach third. Cassidy singled up the middle to bring her home. Purdue took back the lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs - including two unearned - off four hits and one Husker error.
In the fourth, Owen doubled and Walljasper drew a walk to put two runners on with two outs. Madi Unzicker doubled down the left field line to score Owen and cut the lead to 6-4. Wallace came into pitch in the bottom of the inning and retired the first three batters to get a quick three outs.
In the bottom of the fifth, Nebraska got in a jam, but was able to work out of it. Purdue got runners on first and second with no outs after a single and an NU error. However, the defense stepped up, getting back-to-back force outs at third. Then, Purdue hit a ground ball to the right side and Sarah Yocom made a diving stop to get the out at first and help the Huskers end the inning without giving up any runs.
The Boilermakers extended their lead to 9-4 after a three-run homer in the sixth and the Huskers were unable to score in the top of the seventh.
The series continues tomorrow when the teams play a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. CT. A live radio broadcast will be available for both games on Huskers.com. Due to weather, the teams will not play on Sunday anymore as originally scheduled.