Clutch Hitting Completes Husker Comeback - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Clutch Hitting Completes Husker Comeback


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Junior Kylee Muir twice tied the game with late-inning base hits and sophomore Jordan Bettiol completed a comeback effort with a walk-off double in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the Nebraska softball team rallied past UIC, 4-3 in extra innings in the first of two games Sunday in Las Cruces, N.M.

Nebraska - which never led until Bettiol's final hit - trailed 2-1 until Muir hit her first career home run, a sixth-inning solo shot that tied the game. UIC then scored once in the top of the eighth, but Muir promptly tied the game with a leadoff single in the bottom of the frame that scored senior Brooke Thomason, who began the inning on second base in accordance with the international tie breaker.

A sacrifice bunt and a walk put Huskers on second and third with one out for Bettiol, who ripped a double to the wall in right, scoring pinch-runner Tatum Edwards with the winning run.

Bettiol, who found herself in the batting order for just the second time this season, finished 2-for-3 with the game-winning RBI. Bettiol's two hits tied her career high. Muir meanwhile kept up her incredible start to the 2013 season. The Portland, Ore., native finished 2-for-4 with a career-high-tying two RBIs. Muir is 6-for-8 this season with three doubles, one home run and four RBIs.

In addition to scoring the game-winning run, Tatum Edwards also picked up the win in relief to improve to 3-0 on the season. Edwards tossed the final 2.0 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits. Freshman right-hander Emily Lockman earned the start and pitched well, surrendering two runs on six hits in 6.0 innings.

Bridget Boyle (0-3) took the loss in relief for Illinois-Chicago (0-5). Boyle tossed the final 1.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned). Starter Devin Miller, who had surrendered 21 runs to Nebraska in the teams' first two meetings, allowed only two runs over the first 6.0 innings.

Just as it did in the first two meetings with Nebraska, UIC jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. A leadoff double was followed by an infield single to put runners at first and third with none out. The Flames then executed a double steal, with Natalie Hernandez swiping home with the game's first run. But Lockman settled down and retired the next three batters to limit UIC to just one run.

Nebraska answered with one run in the bottom of the frame. Freshman Kiki Stokes led off with a walk and scored on an RBI double from senior Gabby Banda. Junior Taylor Edwards then walked to put runners at first and second with no outs, but the Huskers were unable to plate another run.

UIC regained the lead in the top of the second when a one-out single was followed by a walk, before Hernandez drove in a run with a two-out, RBI single.

Neither team managed much offense over the next few innings. UIC stranded runners at second and third in the top of the sixth before Nebraska tied the game in the bottom of the frame, when Muir lined a one-out pitch over the fence in left for her first career game to tie the game at 2-2.

The Huskers then had runners on first and second with two outs following back-to-back singles from freshman Dawna Tyson, who finished 2-for-3 with a walk, and Bettiol. But the Huskers were unable to take the lead, as Armstrong was retired on a hard-hit lineout to left to end the inning.

Lockman then walked the first batter of the top of the seventh, prompting Tatum Edwards to enter the game. Edwards came in throwing strikes, retiring the next three hitters on 12 pitches to keep the game tied.

In the bottom of the seventh, Stokes drew a leadoff walk but Nebraska failed to advance her. With two outs, Thomason lifted a fly ball to deep center where Melissa Preish made the catch reaching up with her back against the wall.

With the international tie breaker in effect in extra innings, Kara Komp started the top of the eighth at second base. After twice failing to get a sacrifice bunt down, Preish reached on an infield single. Coryn Schmit then fell behind 0-2 before blooping a single down the right field line to score Komp and give the Flames a 3-2 lead. Following a strikeout, Jacki Fletcher blooped a single to shallow center, where Stokes fielded and threw home to record the second out. Taylor Edwards then threw to third to get another runner, completing an inning-ending double play following the base hit.

Thomason began the bottom of the frame on second base for NU and scored when Muir lined a 2-0 pitch into right field for an RBI single that tied the game at 3-3. Freshman Hailey Decker then sacrificed Tatum Edwards - who ran for Muir - to second base with one out. After Tyson walked following a great at bat, Bettiol lined a 1-0 pitch over the right fielder's head for the walk-off double.

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