Posted by: Sports
A record-breaking performance from junior Taylor Edwards powered the Nebraska softball team to a 13-4, five-inning victory over Illinois-Chicago on Saturday at the NMSU Softball Complex.
Edwards finished 2-for-3, but both of her hits were grand slams, as Edwards set a school record with eight RBIs in the victory. Edwards, who had never had a multi-homer game entering Saturday, hit her first two career grand slams. Her first shot broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the second inning while her second slam - a walk-off shot - ended the game, giving Nebraska the necessary eight-run margin to wrap up the run-rule victory.
In addition to Taylor's two home runs, her twin sister Tatum Edwards hit a solo home runs - her third of the season - and senior Brooke Thomason followed Taylor's second-inning grand slam with a solo shot of her own. The trio of power hitters - all of whom rank among the top 12 home run hitters in school history - homered in the same game for the third time since 2011. The home runs, which accounted for 10 of the Huskers' 13 runs, helped Nebraska move to 3-0 on the season.
Tatum Edwards also picked up the victory in the circle, improving to 2-0 on the season. In a complete-game effort, Edwards allowed four runs on six hits.
Other offensive stars for Nebraska included junior Kylee Muir who went 2-for-2 with a double and she was also hit by a pitch. Muir is 4-for-4 on the year with three doubles. Freshman Alicia Armstrong finished 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, while classmate Kiki Stokes scored three times out of the leadoff spot. Senior Gabby Banda was also instrumental in the victory, walking three times while adding a sacrifice bunt. Banda worked a two-out walk to bring Edwards to the plate before both of her grand slams.
Despite Nebraska's offensive explosion, it was UIC who struck first. A a pair of infield singles with the aid of a hard infield surface set the Flames up for a two-run first inning. A one-out hit batter then loaded the bases, before a walk to Laura Swan forced in the game's first run. Nebraska then failed to record an out on another ground ball - throwing late to home plate - as the Flames took a 2-0 lead. Tatum Edwards then struck out the next two batters to leave the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the frame, Stokes led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Banda and moved to third on a wild pitch. Taylor Edwards then walked to put runners on first and third with one out, before Thomason delivered an RBI single up the middle that scored Stokes.
The Flames nearly added another run in the top of the second. A leadoff walk and an error put runners on first and second. After two quick outs, Coryn Schmit hit a check-swing single to left field, where sophomore Jordan Bettiol fielded the ball cleanly and threw a perfect strike to Taylor Edwards at home plate to throw out the runner attempting to score.
Muir then led off the bottom of the frame with a double to the wall in center. Freshman Alicia Armstrong followed with a one-out single, before Banda walked to load the bases with two outs. Banda's walk gave Taylor Edwards a chance to bat with the bases loaded, and Edwards delivered by lining a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left center for her first career grand slam. Leading 5-2, Thomason followed with a solo home run of her own, another line-drive shot to left.
UIC got a run back in the top of the third. A leadoff walk and a one-out single put runners at first and third. The Flames then attempted a double steal and Nebraska tagged out the runner going from first to second in a rundown, but on the play, Swan came home from third to trim the lead to 6-3.
The Flames continued to cut into the lead, adding another run in the top of the fourth on an RBI double from Kara Komp.
Nebraska answered the run in the bottom of the frame when Stokes scored from third after Thomason was caught in a rundown attempting to steal second base.
Tatum Edwards pushed it back to a four-run lead with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fifth, setting the stage for a six-run inning. A hit batter, a double and a walk loaded the bases with two outs, before Banda walked for the third time to force in a run. Taylor Edwards then ended the game by lining a 1-2 pitch well over the wall in right for her second grand slam.
Bridget Boyle (0-2) took the loss for Illinois-Chicago, which fell to 0-3 on the year. Boyle allowed six runs on six hits in 2.0 innings. Devin Miller pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing seven runs on only four hits.
Nebraska wraps up its season-opening weekend with a pair of games on Sunday. The Huskers face UIC for a third time at 10:30 a.m. (Central) before facing New Mexico.