Posted by: Sports
The 14th-seeded Nebraska softball team clinched a spot in Sunday's NCAA Lincoln Regional final with a 7-1 victory over Stanford in a winner's bracket matchup Saturday at Bowlin Stadium.
Nebraska broke open a 2-1 game with a five-run sixth inning that included four two-out runs. That was more than enough support for Tatum Edwards, who fired a complete-game two-hitter to improve to 28-8 on the year. Edwards worked around four walks and three hit batters by allowing three hits or fewer for her second straight postseason start.
Offensively, seven Huskers had a hit as Nebraska out-hit Stanford, 8-3. Taylor Edwards had two hits and two RBIs, giving her 50 RBIs this season. She joined three-time All-American Ali Viola as the only players in school history to produce more than one 50-RBI season. Courtney Breault added three RBIs of her own, while Alicia Armstrong and Tatum Edwards drove in one run each.
After Stanford stranded a pair of runners in the top of the first, Tatum Edwards led off the bottom of the frame with a double. Gabby Banda followed with a single and Taylor Edwards walked to load the bases with no outs. Following a pop out, Breault brought home Tatum Edwards with the game's first run on a sacrifice fly.
A pair of leadoff walks gave Stanford runners at first and second in the top of the second, before a strikeout and a double play ended the threat.
Nebraska then added to its lead with another run in the bottom of the second. Armstrong led off with a single before Mattie Fowler was hit by the first pitch thrown by new Stanford pitcher Kelsey Stevens. A ground out moved both runners into scoring position, before Stevens recorded a key strikeout. Banda then walked to load the bases before Taylor Edwards hit a hard ground ball to third that took a bad hop and deflected off the third baseman for an RBI infield single.
Tatum Edwards ran into trouble with her control in the top of the fifth, issuing a leadoff walk before hitting a batter to put runners on first and second with one out for the top of the Cardinal order. A strikeout marked the second out before the leadoff walk came around to score on a two-out RBI single from Leah White that cut the Husker lead to 2-1.
After Stanford cut the lead in half, Nebraska added four insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Mattie Fowler reached on a one-out double that was followed by a single from Jordan Bettiol. Tatum Edwards then lifted the first pitch she saw to the warning track in left field for a sacrifice fly that scored Fowler. Taylor Edwards then fouled off three two-strike pitches before producing an RBI single to center that scored Banda and gave the Huskers a 4-1 lead. A walk to Brooke Thomason loaded the bases before Breault lined a two-run single to left field.
Trailing 6-1, Stanford brought Nyree White into the game and she promptly walked Hailey Decker to load the bases, then walked Alicia Armstrong to force in the fifth and final run of the inning.
Tatum Edwards worked around an infield single and a walk in the top of the seventh to secure Nebraska's spot in the regional final. The region final is set to begin at 1:05 p.m. and will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. A Husker loss would force an if-necessary game at 3:30 p.m. that would also be televised live on BTN.
Stanford will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the regional final. The Cardinal fell to 38-20 with the loss to Nebraska. Teagan Gerhart took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in 1.0 inning of work.
Nebraska Head Coach Rhonda Revelle
"Well first of all I thought we came out with a really calm presence and I felt like we were prepared to execute a game plan—I thought we did that early. The fact that we scored in the first inning and hit some really solid balls off of (Teagan) Gerheart was really a good sign and then the story of the day on the other side of the ball was this young lady to my right had some phenomenal defense, we played great defense all day and Tatum (Edwards) once again gritted out a gutty performance."
On Alicia Armstrong's performance
"Today wasn't any different from what Alicia does. She is a great defender and she has great speed, great hands, great arm, so I think anything less from her and she would be disappointed. Her expectations of herself on defense are higher than anybody else."
On the sixth inning
"What we were just talking about as a team was we scored a run off each of their pitchers today and they have a good pitching staff. The fact that when the second pitcher came in she threw an off-speed at us, which got us out of rhythm for a little bit but we settled back in."
Freshman Shortstop Alicia Armstrong
On her defensive performance and if she was "in the zone"
"Yeah defense is my comfort zone; Tatum (Edwards) did really well feeding me so it's good."
Senior Designated Player Courtney Breault
On her offense today in the sixth inning
"It was nice, I popped out my previous two at-bats and I just wanted to get through a ball and she threw one and I did."
On how much fun the team is having
"It is really fun when you can trust not only in yourself as a player, but you can trust the pitcher and the defense and the rest of the team around you. We are all playing together so it is fun doing that."
Source: NU Media Relations