A pair of big innings powered the 20th-ranked Nebraska softball team to a season-high run total, as the Huskers completed a doubleheader sweep over Northwestern with a 14-1, five-inning win in game two at Bowlin Stadium.
The Huskers batted around in both the first and third innings, scoring eight times in the first inning and six times in the third. The 14 runs were not only a season high but marked the second-highest run total Nebraska has ever scored in a conference game, trailing only the 15 runs the Huskers scored against Kansas in a 1996 Big 12 Conference game.
Nebraska exploded for eight runs in the first, its biggest inning of the year. Freshman Kiki Stokes worked a leadoff walk to open the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from senior Gabby Banda. Junior Taylor Edwards then walked to put runners on first and second with one out, before senior Brooke Thomason delivered an RBI single to right field. Freshman Dawna Tyson was then hit by a pitch to load the bases before sophomore Mattie Fowler lined a pitch that deflected off the first baseman’s glove and into right field for a two-run single. Freshman Hailey Decker made it 4-0 with an RBI double to the gap in left center, before classmate Alicia Armstrong produced an RBI single.
Leading 5-0 with two outs and runners on second and third, Stokes laid down a perfect bunt single just in front of home plate. On the play, Decker held at third base but Armstrong took off for third. In an attempt to get Armstrong, the catcher threw to second, but her throw was wild and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Decker, Armstrong and Stokes to all score and cap the eight-run inning.
The Wildcats cut the lead to 8-1 with an unearned run in the top of the third.
The Huskers responded by loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame on consecutive singles from Fowler, Decker and Armstrong. Fowler then came home on a wild pitch to make it 9-1, before Bettiol reached on a fielder’s choice where no out was recorded to keep the bases loaded. Stokes then grounded an 0-2 pitch through the right side for a two-run single that gave the Huskers an 11-1 lead.
Banda then drove Armstrong and Stokes home with a two-run double to left center. Thomason then brought Banda home with an RBI single to push the lead to 14-1.
Five Huskers produced two hits in the game, including Stokes, Thomason, Fowler, Decker and Armstrong. Stokes, Thomason, Fowler and Banda all produced two RBIs, while Stokes scored three runs and Fowler, Decker and Armstrong added two runs scored each.
The offensive firepower overshadowed another outstanding effort in the circle from freshman right-hander Emily Lockman. Lockman (8-2) fired a five-hitter and did not allow an earned run, helping the Huskers improve to 22-6 on the season and 2-0 in conference play. Lockman added nine strikeouts in only 5.0 innings, a career high.
Meghan Lamberth (6-4) took the loss for Northwestern, which fell to 14-12 on the season and dropped to 0-2 in Big Ten play. Lamberth allowed 14 runs (11 earned) on 10 hits in 2.0 innings.
The Huskers and Wildcats hope to play game three on either Saturday or Sunday.