Nebraska softball improves to 5-0 with two wins Sunday

Posted by: Sports

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Courtesy: NU Media Relations

Game One

Cedar Falls, Iowa – Dominant efforts from a pair of juniors powered the Nebraska softball team to an 8-0 five-inning victory over the Green Bay Phoenix on Sunday morning inside the UNI-Dome.

At the plate, MJ Knighten homered for the fourth consecutive game, finishing 2-for-3 with a pair of two-run homers and five RBIs. Knighten tied her career highs in home runs and RBIs, while producing her third three-hit effort in the first four games of the season.

In the circle, Cassie McClure nearly recorded a perfect game, allowing only an infield single. She retired 15 of the 16 batters she faced, allowing only a one-out infield single in the top of the fourth inning while finishing with a one-hit shutout, the first shutout of her career. McClure retired the first 10 batters of the game, including eight consecutive strikeouts. She finished with a career-high 10 strikeouts in the win.

Nebraska (4-0) started fast by scoring multiple runs in the first inning for the third straight game. Senior Kiki Stokes worked a leadoff walk and scored two batters later when Knighten blasted a 3-1 pitch to right center for a two-run home run.

The Huskers added two more runs in the top of the third on another two-run homer for Knighten. Sophomore Laura Barrow singled with two outs before Knighten crushed the next pitch to left center to push the lead to 4-0.

With McClure cruising in the circle, the Huskers ended the game early with a four-run fifth inning. Sophomore Gina Metzler got the rally started with a single and Stokes followed with another single. Knighten then produced her fifth RBI of the game with a two-out, RBI single before senior Alicia Armstrong launched a walk-off, three-run homer that wrapped up the run-rule victory.

Armstrong and Knighten combined for five hits – including three home runs – and eight RBIs in the victory.

Game Two

Trailing by one in the top of the sixth inning, Dawna Tyson and Kaylan Jablonski slugged back-to-back to home runs, sparking a four-run frame that powered the Nebraska softball team to a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over Saint Louis in the Huskers’ final game of the UNI-Dome Classic on Sunday morning.

Nebraska hit three home runs in the game and out-homered its opponents 11-1 at the UNI-Dome Classic. The long ball helped the Huskers (5-0) cap a perfect opening weekend.

The home runs proved big in the win over the Billikens. Sophomore Madi Unzicker hit her first career home run to break a 1-1 tie and give Nebraska a 3-1 lead in the top of the second inning. Saint Louis then scored three straight runs to take the lead before the consecutive home runs from Tyson and Jablonski put Nebraska on top for good.

Unzicker, Tyson and Jablonski all homered for the first time this season. Tyson finished 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, tying her career high in hits. Unzicker also drove in a pair, while senior Kiki Stokes and junior MJ Knighten each finished with two hits.

In the circle, Jablonski earned the win in relief while junior Cassie McClure picked up the save. Jablonski allowed two runs in 1.2 innings before McClure tossed 2.0 shutout innings to register her second save. On the opening weekend, McClure threw 12.0 shutout innings while posting a 2-0 record with two saves. Senior right-hander Emily Lockman got the start and allowed two runs on only two hits in 3.1 innings.

Saint Louis grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a one-out, RBI double from Allie Macfarlane.

Nebraska answered back in the top of the second. McClure led off with a double and that was followed by an RBI double from Tyson to tie the game. Unzicker then gave Nebraska a 3-1 lead with a towering two-run homer to right center.

In the bottom of the third, back-to-back walks helped Saint Louis pull within 3-2. The first two batters walked and the Billikens had runners on first and third with one out. Lockman then recorded a big strikeout, but SLU literally stole a run, executing a double steal to produce its lone run of the inning despite not recording a hit.

The Billikens then tied the score when Alyssa Tarquinio hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Jablonski then relieved Lockman and was greeted by consecutive singles and a walk. With the bases loaded and only one out, a wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score before Jablonski retired the next two hitters to keep the deficit at 4-3. 

Tyson tied the game with a leadoff solo home run in the top of the sixth and Jablonski followed with another home run to give Nebraska a 5-4 lead. Sophomore Gina Metzler kept the rally going with a single, and she scored on an RBI double from Stokes. Stokes then scored on a two-out, RBI double from Knighten that capped the scoring and gave Nebraska a 7-4 lead.

Saint Louis managed only a pair of singles over the final two innings against McClure. The Billikens fell to 3-2 on the season, while Madi Baalman (2-1) suffered her first defeat of the season.

Following its opening weekend, Nebraska will travel to Raleigh, N.C., next weekend for a pair of games against North Carolina State and Louisville as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.