Husker softball out-slugged by Arkansas

Posted By: Sports

Story Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

Fullerton, Calif. – A furious rally by the 23rd-ranked Nebraska softball team fell just short in an 11-10 loss to Arkansas on Saturday

The Huskers trailed 11-4 after five innings but scored three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Trailing 11-10, Nebraska had the tying run at third base and the winning run at second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but could not complete the comeback.

Nebraska, which lost two games on the same day for the first time all season, fell to 17-8 on the year. The Razorbacks (13-14) slugged three home runs that accounted for six of their 11 runs, and NU also tied its season high with three errors defensively.

Junior MJ Knighten homered for Nebraska – her 14th home run in 25 games this season – while sophomore Madi Unzicker hit her third home run and set a career high with three RBIs. Senior Kiki Stokes doubled, tripled and had two RBIs, joining freshman Alyvia Simmons, sophomore Laura Barrow and senior Mattie Fowler with a pair of hits.

Junior Cassie McClure (9-3) took the loss for Nebraska, allowing six runs in 3.0 innings. Sophomore Kaylan Jablonski gave up four runs in only one-third of an inning. Classmate Taylor Kadavy made her collegiate debut in the circle and pitched well, limiting Arkansas to one run on only two infield singles in 3.2 innings, adding four strikeouts.

Things started out well for Nebraska when McClure retired the side in order in the top of the first. The Huskers then jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Stokes tripled and Knighten followed with a two-run home run.

Arkansas answered back with a two-run homer of its own in the top of the third. Three straight singles then gave the Razorbacks a 3-2 lead before a bases-loaded double capped a six-run inning.

Trailing 6-2, Nebraska got two runs back in the bottom of the third. Knighten led off with a walk before moving up to third on a single from McClure. After a double play, Knighten scored on a wild pitch. Jablonski was then robbed of a home run when Arkansas center fielder Haydi Bugarin leapt at the wall and got her glove on the ball, although she was unable to catch it as Jablonski wound up at second base with a double. Jablonski then scored on an RBI single from Fowler.

Arkansas came right back with back-to-back home runs – including a three-run shot – to take a 10-4 lead in the top of the fourth.

A walk, a hit batter, an infield single and an error helped Arkansas stretch the lead to 11-4 in the top of the fifth. The Razorbacks still had the bases loaded with no outs after the run, but Kadavy then coaxed a foul out, a strikeout and a ground out to prevent any further runs.

Unzicker pulled Nebraska to with four at 11-7 when she slugged a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Nebraska brought the tying run to the plate when the Huskers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Stokes then lined a two-run double to left to trim the lead to 11-9. With first base open, Knighten was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Senior Dawna Tyson drove in a run with an RBI ground out, but Unzicker flew out to center to end the game.

Nebraska wraps up play at the Easton Tournament on Sunday with a pair of games against No. 13 Oklahoma and DePaul.