Kinney leads Huskers past Terps
A breakout performance by Kaylin Kinney, combined with a five-run sixth inning powered the Nebraska softball team to an 8-4 victory over Maryland Saturday afternoon, as the Huskers clinched a series victory over the Terrapins.
Lincoln (Nebraska Athletics)– A breakout performance by Kaylin Kinney, combined with a five-run sixth inning powered the Nebraska softball team to an 8-4 victory over Maryland Saturday afternoon, as the Huskers clinched a series victory over the Terrapins.
Nebraska, which has won the first three games of the four-game series, improved to 19-16 on the year, while Maryland fell to 14-21.
Saturday’s star was Kinney. The freshman was a dual threat for the Big Red, contributing as a pitcher and hitter. In the circle, Kinney started and allowed only one run in 5.0 innings. Offensively, Kinney slugged two home runs, finishing 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs and three RBIs. Kinney produced her first career multi-hit game and also set career highs in runs and RBIs.
Kinney was in line for the win until Maryland scored three times in the top of the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. But the Huskers came right back with five runs in the bottom of the frame. Senior right-hander Olivia Ferrell (10-8) earned the win in relief, as she was charged with three runs in 2.0 innings.
Offensively, freshmen combined for five of Nebraska’s seven hits. In addition to Kinney’s big day, Billie Andrews was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, which came on a go-ahead two-run single in the decisive sixth inning. Abbie Squier also had two RBIs, as the Husker freshmen combined for seven RBIs. Senior Ally Riley produced Nebraska’s other RBI.
Courtney Wyche (3-7) took the loss for Maryland, allowing six runs (five earned) in 5.0 innings.
Maryland grabbed an early lead when Jaeda McFarland led off the game with a solo home run. The Terrapins then loaded the bases with two outs, but Kinney escaped the jam.
Kinney answered with a solo home run of her own with one out in the bottom of the second inning.
Kinney helped herself again in the bottom of the fourth. After the first two Huskers struck out, senior Cam Ybarra worked a two-out walk before Kinney blasted a two-run homer to left to put Nebraska on top 3-1.
In the top of the fifth, an infield single and a ground out gave Maryland a runner at second with two outs. Shelby Younkin then hit a ball to shallow right that fell for a hit, but Husker right fielder Caitlynn Neal threw out McFarland attempting to score from second.
The Terrapins threatened again in the sixth inning and came away with three runs to take a 4-3 lead. Ferrell came on in relief and gave up a leadoff single. A one-out single put runners on first and second before Ferrell struck out a pinch hitter. But with two outs, an RBI single up the middle and back-to-back RBI infield singles gave Maryland the lead.
Nebraska answered right back in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Tristen Edwards reached on an error to begin the inning and classmate Rylie Unzicker followed with a perfectly-placed bunt single. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base before Billie Andrews grounded a go-ahead two-run single up the middle to give Nebraska a 5-4 lead. Riley added an insurance run with an RBI single to stretch before Squier capped the five-run inning with a two-out, two-run single that stretched the lead to 8-4.
In the top of the seventh, Maryland got a one-out walk and a two-out single before Ferrell finished off the win.
Nebraska and Maryland wrap up their four-game series on Sunday at 11 a.m.