Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics
Urbana, Ill. - The 20th-ranked Nebraska softball team earned a split of its Saturday doubleheader at Illinois with a 9-4 victory in game two at Eichelberger Field.
The Huskers produced 11 hits in game two, finishing the doubleheader with 23 hits. Freshman MJ Knighten finished 3-for-3 in the win with a pair of RBIs, and the Buena park, Calif., native was 4-for-6 in the doubleheader with four RBIs. Sophomore Alicia Armstrong was 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored in the nightcap, as she produced three hits in the doubleheader. Junior Kylee Muir produced a game-high three RBIs in game two and drew a pair of walks.
Tatum Edwards bounced back from a game one loss to earn the win in game two. Despite fighting her control all day, Edwards (14-8) battled in the circle and allowed four runs on five hits in 5.0 innings. Sophomore right-hander Emily Lockman pitched the final 2.0 innings, and she did not allow a run while surrendering three hits.
Nebraska moved to 25-12 with the win and evened its Big Ten Conference record at 4-4. Illinois fell to 18-14 overall and dropped to 2-6 in conference play. Shelese Arnold (4-7) took the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) in 2.0 innings of work.
NU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with help from Illinois. Taylor Edwards began the game with a double and was still there with two outs when Armstrong reached on an error. An illegal pitch then scored Edwards with the game's first run and moved Armstrong to second. Armstrong then went to third on another illegal pitch before Knighten delivered an RBI single through the right side.
Illinois cut the lead in half when Jenna Mychko led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run.
The Huskers answered back in the top of the third. Tatum Edwards drew a leadoff walk before Armstrong doubled off the wall in left. An illegal pitch then scored Edwards with the first run of the inning before Knighten brought Armstrong home and gave Nebraska a 4-1 lead with an RBI single through the left side.
Nebraska extended its lead to 8-1 with four more runs in the top of the fourth. Tatum Edwards began the inning with a bunt single. A pair of one-out walks to Knighten and sophomore Kiki Stokes loaded the bases with one out for Muir, who lined a bases-clearing, three-run double into left center field. Muir then scored when freshman Kat Woolman produced an RBI single to center.
Illinois cut into the lead with a three-run bottom of the fourth. A hit batter, a walk, a triple and a ground out trimmed the Huskers' advantage to 8-4.
NU got a run back in the top of the sixth when sophomore Hailey Decker doubled with one out and scored on a two-out, RBI single from Armstrong.
On a day where nothing came easy for Nebraska, Illinois loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, trailing by five. But Lockman bounced back and retired the next three hitters to wrap up the victory.
The Huskers and Fighting Illini wrap up their series on Sunday at Noon.