Husker win streak snapped at Purdue
Posted By: Sports
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
West Lafayette, Ind. – Playing its first game in a week, the Nebraska softball team looked sluggish in a 4-3 loss to Purdue in the opening game of a three-game series Saturday night at Bittinger Stadium.
The Huskers committed three errors in the game, including an error with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning that allowed the game-winning run to score. Three of the four Nebraska allowed also scored with three outs, while the Huskers were just 4-for-16 with runners on base.
The loss snapped Nebraska’s five-game winning streak, while Purdue put an end to its seven-game losing streak. The Huskers fell to 24-26 overall and dropped to fifth place in the Big Ten standings with a 13-8 record in league play. Purdue improved to 18-35 overall and clinched a spot in the Big Ten Tournament by improving to 7-14 in conference play.
Senior Cassie McClure provided a big boost for the Huskers off the bench, but her effort was not enough to help Nebraska improve to .500 for the first time all season. McClure (11-8) tossed 5.2 innings of relief, allowing only three hits and one unearned run. She also went 2-for-2 at the plate, producing both of Nebraska’s RBIs. Junior Kaylan Jablonski added two hits of her own and scored two of the Huskers’ three runs. Jablonski also earned the start in the circle, allowing three runs on five hits in 1.0 innings.
Nebraska was retired in order in the top of the first inning before three consecutive singles gave Purdue the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the frame. A fourth straight single put the Boilermakers in front 1-0 before a strikeout marked the second out of the inning. Brooke Perry then delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single pushed the lead to 3-0.
The Huskers were held hitless until the top of the of the fourth when senior MJ Knighten and Jablonski began the inning with back-to-back singles. After a force out, junior Laura Barrow singled to load the bases before McClure helped herself with an RBI single to right field. Trailing 3-1, Nebraska had the bases loaded with one out before Kaitlynn Moody entered the game and struck out the next two Huskers but not before junior Taylor Otte scored on a two-out wild pitch to trim the lead to 3-2.
Nebraska came back and tied the game in the top of the sixth. Jablonski began the inning with a single and was at second base with two outs when McClure lined an RBI single just past the second baseman to tie the game at 3-3.
In the top of the seventh, sophomore Bri Cassidy led off with a single and moved up to second base on a ground out from sophomore Alyvia Simmons. Cassidy was still at second with two outs when Purdue elected to intentionally walk Knighten to face Jablonski, who flew out to center to end the inning.
Purdue matched Nebraska with a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh. Like the Huskers, the Boilermakers had a runner at second with two outs when Alexa Binckes hit a soft liner to first that got past freshman Alexis Perry and Maya Hughes scored all the way from second on the error to give Purdue the victory.
Kaitlynn Moody (8-14) earned the win for the Boilermakers, allowing only one run on just three hits in 3.2 innings of relief.
Nebraska, which can still earn a first-round bye for the Big Ten Tournament by winning the final two games of the series, will look for a better result on Sunday when the teams play game two of the series at Noon (Central).