It was a game of missed opportunities for the 16th-ranked Nebraska softball team on Friday, as the Huskers fell to Fresno State, 1-0, in 10 innings in the first game of the Stanford Regional. The Bulldogs managed only two hits in the game, and their lone run scored on a Husker error. Nebraska stranded 12 runners in the loss and tied a season high by committing three errors.
The errors and lack of timely hitting spoiled a superb effort in the circle from junior right-hander Ashley Hagemann. In a losing effort, Hagemann fired a two-hitter, did not allow an earned run and struck out a season-high 17 batters. She allowed only two singles and only seven total base runners in 10.0 innings.
Michelle Moses earned the win for Fresno State, which improved to 35-17. Moses matched Hagemann’s effort, scattering seven hits while tossing the shutout. She added 10 strikeouts and worked around six walks.
Offensively for Nebraska, juniors Nikki Haget and Ashley Guile each finished 2-for-4. Senior Heidi Foland, sophomore Brooke Thomason and freshman Taylor Edwards added one hit each, as Thomason extended her season-long hitting streak to eight games.
Fresno State threatened to take an early lead in the top of the first inning. Haley Gilleland led off the game with a single. She was at third with only one out following a stolen base and a Husker throwing error, but Hagemann retired the next two batters to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard.
The leadoff single would mark Fresno State’s only base runner until a two-out hit batter in the top of the fifth inning. Nebraska meanwhile had a base runner with less than two outs in each of the first seven innings.
The Huskers had two base runners in the bottom of the sixth. Thomason led off with a single before Guile followed with a one-out single to put runners at first and second. Moses then retired the next two batters after a pair of long battles at the plate.
After Hagemann worked around a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh, Nebraska threatened again in the bottom of the inning. Senior Julie Brechtel drew a two-out walk, before Taylor Edwards singled. Thomason then hit a high fly ball to shallow left field and left fielder Andrea Ortega held on to the ball for the final out, despite a full-speed collision with center fielder Demi Walker.
Fresno State got its leadoff runner on base for the fourth straight inning in the top of the 10th. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second before Hagemann recorded the second out.
Walker then hit a line drive to third that Foland made a nice diving attempt at before deflecting the ball. Shortstop Gabby Banda picked up the ball and tried to get Walker at first base, but her throw was wild, allowing the go-ahead run to score on the error.
In the bottom of the 10th, Thomason drew a one-out walk but the Huskers’ next two hitters were retired, as Nebraska was just 2-for-20 with runners on base in the game.
With the loss, Nebraska will face the loser of the Stanford-Pacific on Saturday at 5 p.m. in an elimination game.