Posted by: Sports
The 14th-ranked Nebraska softball team stranded 12 runners on base, failing to deliver a clutch hit in a frustrating 3-2 loss at Penn State on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three innings of play, but produced only three hits the rest of the way. Nebraska out-hit Penn State, 9-6, but the Huskers were just 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and 4-for-18 with runners on base.
Freshman right-hander Emily Lockman (14-4) took the loss in a complete-game effort. Lockman allowed three runs on six hits, pitching well outside of a three-run fifth inning by the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Huskers fell to 38-12 with the loss and dropped to 15-6 in conference play.
Penn State improved to 15-32 overall and 5-16 in Big Ten action by winning in front of 768 fans, the largest crowd in Beard Field history. Marissa Diescher earned the win in relief, tossing 5.0 innings of three-hit, shutout relief.
Nebraska jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Freshman Alicia Armstrong led off with an infield single and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt from senior Gabby Banda. Junior Taylor Edwards then reached on an infield single before senior Brooke Thomason singled to left to load the bases with one out. From there, Nebraska hit into a bit of tough luck. Senior Courtney Breault lined a 3-1 pitch right at the left fielder for a sacrifice fly. Junior Tatum Edwards then hit another shot right at a Nittany Lion, lining out to short to end the inning.
The Huskers missed a chance to add to their lead in the top of the second. Freshman Hailey Decker led off with a single. She moved to second on a sacrifice from sophomore Mattie Fowler, and Fowler reached first base safely on an error. A fielder's choice put Huskers on first and third, before a failed double steal attempt resulted in Decker being thrown out at the plate. Armstrong then lined out to right to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second, a one-out hit batter was followed by a single. A ground out then gave Penn State runners on second and third with two outs, before Lockman kept the Nittany Lions off the scoreboard with an inning-ending strikeout.
Nebraska stretched its lead to 2-0 in the top of the third but missed a chance to extend the lead. Banda began the frame with a single, before Taylor Edwards doubled off the wall in right center. On the double, the relay throw was bobbled, allowing Banda to score. Leading 2-0, the Huskers loaded the bases with only one out but failed to add to the lead, hitting into a pair of ground outs.
In the bottom of the fourth, Penn State nearly scored its first run. The inning began with a pop up that fell for an infield single when the ball was lost in the sun. Then with two outs and a runner on second, Alyssa Sovereign lined a ball to center. It appeared sophomore Jordan Bettiol had made the catch, but no out call was made and the runner came home to score. But following an umpire's conference, Bettiol was ruled to have made the catch and the inning was over.
The Nittany Lions cracked the scoreboard and grabbed a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. A leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt, another single and a walk loaded the bases with only one out. Lauren Yao then fouled off 10 two-strike pitches before lacing the 16th pitch of her at bat into the gap in left center for a bases-clearing, three-run triple. Leading 3-2, another single gave Penn State runners at first and third before Lockman kept it a one-run game by coaxing an inning-ending ground ball double play.
Nebraska stranded its 10th and 11th runners of the game in the top of the sixth inning. A leadoff hit batter, a sacrifice bunt and a single from Banda gave the Huskers runners on first and second with only one out. But Taylor Edwards struck out and Thomason grounded out.
In the top of the seventh, Tatum Edwards reached on a one-out single, but she was stranded there as Nebraska dropped game two of a three-game series for the fourth time in conference play.
The Huskers wrap up the regular season and their three-game series with Penn State on Monday at Noon.
Source: UNL Sports Information Department