The 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team lost for just the second time in its last 10 road games, dropping a 6-2 decision at Iowa in the first game of a three-game series at Pearl Field.
With the loss, Nebraska fell to 26-8 on the year and dropped to 4-2 in Big Ten Conference play. Iowa improved to 22-13 overall and 2-5 in league action behind Megan Blank’s bat and a strong performance in the circle from Kayla Massey. Massey (12-7) fired a six-hitter and allowed only one earned run.
For Nebraska, junior right-hander Tatum Edwards suffered her first loss in 10 starts, falling to 17-6 on the season. Edwards never found her groove in the circle, and she struggled to work around Blank, the Big Ten Conference RBI leader, who homered and drove in four of Iowa’s six runs.
Nebraska fell behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run home run from Blank, marking the fifth straight game that the Huskers had allowed at least one run in the first inning.
Iowa added three more runs with two outs in the bottom of the second. A bases-loaded hit batter brought home a run, before Blank delivered a two-run up the single up the middle to give the Hawkeyes a 5-0 lead.
Iowa added another run in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out single from Michelle Zoeller. Overall, four of the Hawkeyes’ six runs in the game scored with two outs.
After stranding a pair of leadoff runners in the top of the sixth, the Huskers finally found the scoreboard in the top of the seventh. Freshman Dawna Tyson drew a leadoff walk before classmate Alicia Armstrong singled. Freshman Kiki Stokes then reached on an error, with sophomore pinch runner Jordan Bettiol scoring the Huskers’ first run on the error. Armstrong then came home with Nebraska’s second run on an RBI single from senior Gabby Banda. Trailing 6-2, the Huskers had runners at first and second with no outs, before a foul and a double play wrapped up Iowa’s third straight win over Nebraska.
Senior Brooke Thomason had two hits in the loss, as the Huskers were only out-hit, 7-6.
Nebraska and Iowa are scheduled to play game two of their three-game series on Saturday at 5 p.m.