Nebraska Forces Second Regional Game with Missouri

Posted By: Sports
Story Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

Columbia, Mo. – Four homers powered the 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team to an 11-4 victory over No. 15 Missouri on Sunday afternoon at University Field. With the win, the Huskers forced the if-necessary game to determine the champion of the NCAA Columbia Regional. Nebraska jumped out to a 2-0 lead just two batters into the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Alicia Armstrong began the frame with a leadoff single before classmate Hailey Decker launched a 2-2 changeup over the fence in left for a two-run homer.

A Husker error then allowed Missouri to cut into the lead in the top of the second. Corrin Genovese led off with a single and she stole second. On the stolen base, no one covered second base and Genovese moved up to third when catcher Taylor Edwards’ throw went into center field. Genovese then scored on a sacrifice fly to trim the lead to 2-1.

In the top of the third, an infield single and another Husker error gave Missouri runners at first and second with one out. The error loomed large as a strikeout should have ended the inning, but the Tigers took advantage of the extra out when Angela Randazzo lined a two-out, two-run double off the wall in left to put Missouri on top, 3-2.

Nebraska answered right back, scoring seven times in the bottom of the frame. Similar to the first inning, Armstrong began the inning with a single before Decker blasted a two-run homer to left to give Nebraska the lead back. Senior Tatum Edwards, freshman MJ Knighten and junior Kylee Muir all singled to load the bases with one out, before sophomore Kiki Stokes worked a walk to force in a run and give the Huskers a 5-3 lead. Nebraska made it 6-3 on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Dawna Tyson, before freshman Austen Urness lined a three-run homer to left to cap the inning and give the Huskers a 9-3 advantage.

The Huskers added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Taylor Edwards hit Nebraska’s fourth home run of the game, a one-out solo shot to left. Knighten followed the home run with a single, and she scored from second on a two-out, RBI single from Stokes that gave Nebraska an 11-3 lead and brought the run-rule into effect.

Missouri took the run-rule out of play in the top of the fifth. Three consecutive singles, including an RBI double, cut the lead to 11-4 and gave the Tigers runners on second and third with no outs. But Edwards dug in and prevented Missouri from adding another run.

Nebraska missed chances to end the game early by being shut out in the fifth and sixth innings, but Edwards secured the victory by retiring eight of the final nine Missouri hitters.

Edwards (24-11) earned a complete-game victory, allowing only one earned run. She allowed nine hits and struck out three.

Offensively, Decker finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs in her first career multi-homer game. Knighten was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs, while Taylor Edwards was 2-for-4 with a homer, an RBI and a walk. Urness was 1-for-3 with a career-high three RBIs, while Stokes finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.

The Huskers (43-16) will be looking for their second consecutive regional title in the if-necessary game. Missouri fell to 43-17 with the loss, and the Tigers are seeking their seventh consecutive regional title.