The Husker offense scored in four straight innings and Tatum Edwards held the nation’s highest scoring team to just one run as the 16th-ranked Nebraska softball team snapped Michigan’s nation-leading 22-game win streak with a 6-1 victory over the ninth-ranked Wolverines on Friday night at Bowlin Stadium.
Nebraska improved to 36-10 with the win, handing Michigan (40-8) its first loss since March 14. The Huskers also gained ground on the Wolverines in the Big Ten standings, improving to 13-4 in league play. Michigan fell to 16-1 in Big Ten action with its first conference loss of the season and its first defeat in 21 consecutive conference games dating back to 2012.
Tatum Edwards fired a two-hitter, improving to 22-7 on the year. A sixth-inning solo home run was the only blemish on her stat line, as she effectively worked around nine walks and one hit batter. Michigan tied its season low with one run and two hits, while Edwards struck out six, including striking out the side in the top of the seventh. Entering the game, Michigan was averaging 10.3 runs per game in Big Ten play entering Friday, scoring at least five runs in each of its first 16 conference games this season.
Offensively, seniors Courtney Breault and Brooke Thomason each homered. Breault finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while homering for the fourth time in five games. Thomason hit her seventh home run of the season as part of a 1-for-2 effort that included two runs scored. Thomason homered for the second consecutive game while becoming the first Husker to produce four seasons with at least seven home runs. Tatum Edwards also helped herself out at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI on her 21st birthday.
Thomason gave Nebraska a 1-0 lead when she led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run. Breault followed with an infield single before sophomore Mattie Fowler moved freshman pinch runner Kiki Stokes into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Stokes then scored to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead on an RBI single from Tatum Edwards.
Senior Gabby Banda then began the bottom of the third with a double, winning an 11-pitch at bat. She moved up to third with one out on a ground out from junior Taylor Edwards. Left-hander Haylie Wagner relieved starting pitcher Sara Driesenga and recorded a foul out before Breault produced a clutch two-out, RBI single to left to stretch the lead to 3-0.
The Huskers scored for a third straight inning in the bottom of the fourth. Tatum Edwards began the frame with a single. She stole second with two outs and moved to third on a single from freshman Alicia Armstrong. Tatum Edwards then scored when Armstrong took off for second and stayed in a rundown long enough for Edwards to cross home plate.
Nebraska plated two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-0 lead. Thomason worked a two-out walk before Breault blasted a 1-0 pitch off the scoreboard in left for a two-run homer.
Michigan scored its first run with one out in the top of the sixth, when Lauren Sweet lined a 3-2 pitch over the fence in center for a solo home run.
In the bottom of the frame, Tatum Edwards led off with a double and moved to third on a line out to right field from freshman Hailey Decker. The Huskers were unable to score Edwards, as pair of ground outs ended the inning.
Edwards would not need any insurance runs however, as she struck out the side in the top of the seventh to record her only 1-2-3 inning of the game.
Nebraska and Michigan continue their series on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on the Big Ten Network. The Huskers will host the World’s Largest Softball Tailgate beginning at 10 a.m. The tailgate is free and includes free admission into the game and free hot dogs, Pepsi products and chips while supplies last.