NU Softball uses long ball to beat Creighton

Freshman Taylor Edwards broke the Husker freshman home run record and senior Julie Brechtel added a home run of her own to power the 13th-ranked Nebraska softball team to a 7-2 victory over in-state rival Creighton on Wednesday night in front of 621 fans at Bowlin Stadium.

Taylor Edwards gave Nebraska a 2-0 lead two batters into the bottom of the first inning by blasting her 14th home run of the season, the highest total by any Husker since Jamie Fuente hit 15 home runs in 2000. The homer also broke the Nebraska freshman home run record of 13 homers, previously set by All-American Ali Viola in 1998. The home run was the only official at bat of the game for Edwards, as she was hit by a pitch and drew a pair of walks – including one intentional walk – in her other three plate appearances.

For Brechtel, her two-run homer was her third of the season, as she finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. In seven career games against Creighton, Brechtel is 9-for-20 with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs. Junior Nikki Haget produced the only multi-hit game in Nebraska's seven-hit attack, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

In the circle, junior right-hander Ashley Hagemann was dominant while becoming the fastest pitcher to reach 20 wins in school history. In improving to 20-3 on the season, Hagemann tossed a two-hitter and struck out a season-high 13 batters without allowing a walk. Hagemann struck out every Bluejay who earned an at bat, including eight of the game's first nine batters. Both of the hits she allowed were solo home runs.

With the win, Nebraska improved to 28-4 on the season and 3-0 at home. Creighton, which was playing for the first time in 10 days, fell to 11-14 on the season. Becca Changstrom (8-6) took the loss, allowing seven runs (five earned) in a complete-game effort.

After Hagemann struck out the side in the top of the first, Taylor Edwards gave Nebraska a quick lead by blasting a 3-2 pitch over the fence in center for a two-run homer. The two-run shot gave Edwards the Husker freshman home run record and snapped Changstrom's scoreless innings streak at 25.1.

Amy Baker cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth with a two-out, solo home run that trimmed the lead to 2-1.

The Huskers got the run back in the bottom of the frame. Freshman Tatum Edwards reached on an error to begin the inning. Junior Ashley Guile then delivered the Huskers' first triple of the year to score Edwards and push the lead to 3-1.

A Husker error in the top of the fifth nearly cost Nebraska a run. Hagemann hit the first batter of the inning before a sacrifice bunt attempt ended up giving Creighton runners at first and third with no outs. A fly ball marked the first out of the inning, before Taylor Edwards picked off the runner at third base for the second out. Hagemann then escaped the jam with her 11th strikeout of the game.

Brechtel then made it a 5-1 game in the bottom of the frame, scoring sophomore Brooke Thomason with a two-run homer to right center.

Creighton's second solo home run of the game came one inning later off the bat of Christa Ruff to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Huskers closed out the scoring with two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Gabby Banda began the inning with a single, before Haget recorded an infield double when she beat out a bunt and took second when no Creighton player covered the base. An intentional walk to Taylor Edwards then loaded the bases with one out, before a passed ball brought Banda home. Thomason then recorded an RBI ground out to score Haget and push the lead to 7-2.

Nebraska returns to Big 12 Conference play this weekend with a two-game series at Kansas.