NEB Softball: Huskers Fall to BYU in Season Opener

Posted By: Sports

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – The first international game in program history was a forgettable one for the Nebraska softball team on Thursday, as the Huskers began their 2017 season with a 12-1 five-inning loss to BYU at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

BYU (1-0) used 14 hits to build a 12-0 lead after three innings of play. The Cougars scored two runs in the first inning on only one hit, before scoring five runs in both the second and third innings. Junior Kaylan Jablonski (0-1) took the loss for the Huskers, who lost their season opener for the first time since 2012. Jablonski allowed 11 runs (10 earned) on 11 hits in 2.0-plus innings of work. Senior Cassie McClure worked the third inning, allowing one run on three hits. Junior Caitlin Bartsch pitched a scoreless fourth inning for the Big Red with one strikeout.

Offensively, Nebraska managed only one hit, one run and two base runners against BYU ace McKenna Bull, a three-time all-region selection and the reigning two-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Bull, the nation’s active leader with 78 career victories, added seven strikeouts in her 5.0 innings. Junior Austen Urness hit a solo home run off Bull in the top of the fourth inning to account for Nebraska’s lone hit and run.

After Nebraska was retired in order in the top of the first inning, BYU scored twice in the bottom of the frame despite recording only one hit. A single, an error and a seven-pitch walk loaded the bases before BYU then scored the game’s first run on a ground ball to short, where Nebraska failed to get an out, throwing late to second base in an attempt to get a force out. A sacrifice fly made it 2-0 before Jablonski worked out of further trouble with an infield pop out and a strikeout.

The Cougars added to their lead in the bottom of the second, plating a pair of runs on four consecutive one-out singles. Leading by four runs, BYU’s fifth straight hit was a three-run homer from Libby Sugg that pushed the lead to 7-0.

BYU then began the third inning with seven consecutive hits, which plated five runs as the Cougars stretched their lead to 12-0.

Nebraska got on the board in the top of the fourth when Urness lined a solo home run down the left field line for the Huskers’ first hit of the game.

The Huskers held BYU scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, before Nebraska was retired in order in the top of the fifth, failing to score the necessary four runs to keep the game going.

Following a tough season opener, Nebraska continues play in its season-opening tournament on Friday, when the Huskers face No. 1 Oklahoma at 11 a.m. (Central) before taking on No. 2 Auburn at 2 p.m. (Central).