The Nebraska softball team closed out the regular season with its 17th run-rule victory of the season, defeating Illinois, 9-1, in five innings Sunday afternoon at Bowlin Stadium.
On Senior Day, Husker seniors Kylee Muir and Steph Pasquale combined to go 2-for-4 with four runs and four RBIs, leading a Husker offense that out-hit Michigan State, 7-3. Junior Mattie Fowler added two hits and two RBIs to help the Huskers improve to 32-20 on the season. Nebraska finished with a 17-6 record in the Big Ten Conference, recording a third-place finish.
Junior right-hander Emily Lockman earned the win, as she did not allow an earned run in a complete-game effort. Lockman, who did not allow an earned run in either of her two starts against Illinois on the weekend, improved to 16-12 with the victory.
Nebraska jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Kiki Stokes drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a ground out from sophomore MJ Knighten. Junior Alicia Armstrong then walked before Muir walked to load the bases with two outs. Sophomore Cassie McClure scored Stokes with the Huskers’ fourth walk of the inning before an illegal pitch brought home another run. Fowler then capped the inning with an RBI single to left that gave Nebraska a 3-0 lead.
The Huskers added five more runs in the bottom of the second. Stokes once again got the rally started, this time with a one-out walk. Knighten followed with another walk before Armstrong reached on an infield single to load the bases. Pasquale then cleared the bases with a three-run double to center. Muir made it 7-0 with an RBI single to right before Fowler brought Muir home with a two-out, RBI single to cap the five-run inning.
Following a 30-minute lightning delay, Illinois got on the scoreboard in the top of the third. A two-out Husker error extended the inning before Nicole Evans produced a two-out, RBI single up the middle.
Nebraska then wrapped up the run-rule victory with a two-out run in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman Laura Barrow doubled with two outs and scored on an RBI single from Stokes.
Illinois finished the regular season with a 26-26 record. The Fighting Illini finished in fifth place in the final Big Ten standings with a 14-9 league record. Shelese Arnold (4-7) took the loss for Illinois, allowing seven runs on three hits in 1.1 innings.
With the regular season complete, the Huskers turn their attention to the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska will open play at the tournament on Friday.