Huskers beat Creighton 3-0

Ashley Hagemann tossed a one-hit shutout and tied her season high with 14 strikeouts, as she pitched the Nebraska softball team past in-state rival Creighton, 3-0, on Wednesday at Bowlin Stadium.

Hagemann allowed only a sixth-inning single, two walks and a hit batter, as she earned her fourth straight victory to improve to 17-11 on the season. Her 14 strikeouts marked her 10th double-digit strikeout performance of the season and tied her season high, which came against Nebraska's other Division I softball program, UNO, on March 20. The strong start continued a recent trend for Hagemann, the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. In her last three starts, Hagemann tossed a no-hitter against Illinois last Friday, a two-hitter the next day against the Illini and Wednesday's one-hitter against Creighton.

Hagemann's sixth shutout of the season propelled the Huskers to their fifth straight victory, as Nebraska improved its record to 25-14. NU also remained unbeaten at Bowlin Stadium this season, moving to 11-0 at home. Overall, the Huskers have won 14 straight home games, the longest streak in the 11-year history of Bowlin Stadium.

With Hagemann in control in the circle, the bottom of the Husker lineup produced the runs for the NU offense. Senior Madison Drake finished 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs out of the No. 8 spot in the lineup, while freshman Jordan Bettiol went 1-for-3 with an RBI out of the No. 9 spot, while making her first start in 17 games. Sophomore Tatum Edwards tied her career high with three walks in the win, and she scored two of Nebraska's three runs.

Creighton suffered its sixth straight loss to Nebraska, while the Bluejays fell to 20-16-1 on the season. Becca Changstrom pitched well in a losing effort, as she fell to 11-9 on the year. In a complete-game effort, Changstrom fired a five-hitter and allowed only two earned runs while striking out four and working around five walks. Creighton's offense was unable to give Changstrom any support, as the Bluejays were shut out for the fifth time this season.

One of Hagemann's biggest jams came in the top of the first inning, when she worked around a walk, a hit batter and an error.

Changstrom then pitched a scoreless bottom of the first when senior Ashley Guile flew out to the fence in right center with two outs and sophomore Taylor Edwards on first base.

In the bottom of the second, Tatum Edwards began the frame with a walk before freshman Mattie Fowler put down a bunt single. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third with one out, and  Drake brought Edwards home with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt. Bettiol then slapped an 0-2 pitch to shallow left for an RBI single that scored Fowler to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead.

After being retired in order in the third, the Huskers manufactured another run in the fourth. Tatum Edwards again walked to begin the inning and was at second with two outs following a sacrifice bunt from junior Courtney Breault. Drake then scored Edwards for the second time with a clutch two-out, RBI single to left.

Leading 3-0, the Huskers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fifth but were unable to add to their advantage.

Then in the top of the sixth, a leadoff error and a one-out single from Amy Baker – Creighton's only hit of the game – put Bluejays at first and second with one out. But Hagemann bounced back to strike out the next two hitters and end the inning.

The Huskers then loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the frame on a walk, an error and a bunt single from senior Nikki Haget. But Nebraska was again unable to add to its lead, as Changstrom recorded a foul out and a strikeout to keep it a 3-0 game.

But the three runs proved more than enough for Hagemann, who struck out the side in the seventh. Overall, Hagemann struck out the final five batters she faced, while striking out the side in the second, fourth and seventh innings.

Nebraska returns to conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Iowa.