Husker Softball Sweeps Iowa

Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

Lincoln – A 14-run second inning powered the 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team to an 18-0 five-inning victory over Iowa on Saturday, as the Huskers completed a three-game sweep of the Hawkeyes in front of a season-high 1,161 fans.

The 18 runs were the most Nebraska has ever scored in a conference game and marked the third-most runs in any game in program history. The 18-run margin of victory was also the Huskers' largest in a conference game and the fourth-largest overall in school history.

The 14-run second inning – believed to be a school record for most runs in an inning – featured 18 Huskers coming to the plate. The first 11 Huskers reached base in the inning and Nebraska totaled seven hits in the frame, including two doubles and a Tatum Edwards grand slam. NU also worked three walks in the inning and Taylor Edwards was hit by a pair of pitches.

The Edwards twins combined for three home runs in the win. Tatum was 2-for-4 with two homers, three runs scored and seven RBIs, one shy of Taylor's school record. Taylor finished 1-for-1 with a home run in her only official at bat, while she was hit by two pitches and drew one walk, tying the school record by scoring four runs.

The two-homer game capped a big weekend for Tatum Edwards, who hit three three-run homers and a grand slam in the three-game series. Edwards was 5-for-11 with four homers, 13 RBIs and six runs scored in the series.

Junior Kylee Muir, sophomore Hailey Decker and freshman MJ Knighten added two hits apiece on Saturday, as Nebraska out-hit Iowa 12-2. Sophomore Alicia Armstrong produced a two-run double in her only at bat, while Muir doubled twice and drove in a pair. Freshman Austen Urness, making her first appearance in 17 games since suffering a concussion, pinch hit in the big second inning and delivered a two-run single. Knighten also produced two RBIs, as five Huskers produced multiple RBIs, five players scored at least two runs and four Huskers recorded multiple hits.

Taylor Edwards opened the scoring when she led off the bottom of the first with her 13th home run of the season.

In the bottom of the second, Nebraska loaded the bases with none out on walks to Muir and sophomore Dawna Tyson and a sacrifice bunt from freshman Kat Woolman that turned into Woolman reaching first base safely on a fielder's choice. With the bases loaded, Armstrong worked the count to 3-2 before lacing a two-run double to center that gave Nebraska a 3-0 lead. Taylor Edwards was then hit by a pitch to again load the bases, before sophomore Hailey Decker grounded a 1-2 pitch through the left side for an RBI single.

Leading 4-0, Tatum Edwards cleared the bases with a grand slam that doubled the Huskers' lead to 8-0. Knighten followed the home run with a walk before sophomore Kiki Stokes singled. Muir then produced a two-run double to put the Huskers in front 10-0. A ground out marked the first out of the inning and snapped a streak of 11 consecutive Huskers reaching base safely. The ground out did move a pair of runners into scoring position for Urness, who delivered a two-run single through the right side to push Nebraska's lead to 12-0.

With two outs, Nebraska had runners on second and third when a Hawkeye error allowed a run to score. The error also prolonged the inning long enough for Knighten to produce a two-run single that capped the 14-run frame.

Nebraska was then retired in order in the third before adding three more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a three-run homer from Tatum Edwards. Taylor Edwards and Decker both scored on Tatum's second homer of the game, as Taylor Edwards had walked and Decker had doubled before Tatum's ninth home run of the year.

Lost in the offensive explosion was another solid outing from sophomore right-hander Emily Lockman. After firing a complete-game one-hitter in game two of the series, Lockman (15-4) tossed a two-hit shutout on Sunday, earning her 15th victory of the season. She needed only 53 pitches to post her 19th complete game this spring.

With the win, Nebraska improved to 30-13 on the season and 8-4 in Big Ten play. Iowa fell to 10-23 on the year and dropped to 5-9 in the conference. Shayla Starkenburg (3-8) took the loss, allowing nine runs on six hits in 3.1 innings.

Nebraska continues its homestand next weekend by hosting the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Bowlin Stadium. The World's Largest Softball Tailgate is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday. The tailgate will feature free food, fun, games and prizes, along with free admission into the Husker game at 1 p.m.