Nebraska hands No. 1 Oklahoma its first loss
Norman, Okla. - Behind a seven-hit shutout from freshman right-hander Emily Lockman and a solo home run from junior Tatum Edwards, the 25th-ranked Nebraska softball team handed No. 1 Oklahoma its first loss, 1-0, in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader at the OU Softball Complex.
The win marked Nebraska's second victory against a No. 1 opponent in school history, as the Huskers also upset No. 1 Florida, 1-0, on March 12, 2011. Saturday's win over the previously undefeated Sooners marked the first win over a No. 1 opponent in that team's home stadium, as the Florida victory came at a neutral site.
"I thought it was a really gutsy effort by Emily, and I felt like we came back out in the second game and responded well after a tough loss in that first game," Head Coach Rhonda Revelle said. "Offensively, Tatum gets a 2-0 pitch and puts a great swing on it. I had a feeling when that thing went out that that might be enough for that game.
"It really started with Emily keeping the ball down. After Tatum hit that home run, it seemed like Emily hit a different gear. It was a great win."
A native of Corona, Calif., Lockman was simply superb, scattering seven singles and working around five walks to post her third shutout of the season. Lockman added three strikeouts while improving to 5-1.
Ultimately, the Sooners' best chance to score came in the bottom of the first inning, when Shelby Pendley blooped a two-out single into shallow center field. On the hit, Jessica Shults attempted to score from second, but she was thrown out on a perfect throw from freshman center fielder Kiki Stokes.
Lockman escaped another jam in the fourth, when the Sooners had runners at second and third with no outs but failed to score. Oklahoma would not get a runner past second base the rest of the game.
Lockman wrapped up the upset by showing tremendous poise and maturity in a seventh inning that saw her face three Sooner All-Americans. She retired first-team All-American Lauren Chamberlain for the first out following a leadoff single. After walking Shults, another All-American, with two outs to put Sooners on first and second, Lockman had to face Keilani Ricketts, the reigning USA Softball Player of the Year. Lockman quickly jumped ahead of the nation's top player 0-2, before Ricketts fouled off six consecutive two-strike pitches. Lockman countered with a perfectly place 0-2 changeup that caught Ricketts looking for strike three and prompted a big celebration from the Huskers.
"I knew that I had to keep going at her every pitch because I knew that she could win the game with one swing," Lockman said of her final battle with Ricketts. "It felt pretty awesome (to get that last out). It was great.
"I felt really great all game because I knew that my team was behind me. I knew that we could do it, so I was pretty confident that we could do it if we made some plays."
While Lockman was impressive in shutting out a Sooner squad that was averaging seven runs per game and had not been held below two runs all season, the freshman did need some help from the Husker offense.
Nebraska managed only two hits in the game and had just three base runners, but Tatum Edwards gave Lockman all the support she would need by hitting a towering home run down the left field line to lead off the top of the fifth inning.
The home run was Edwards' fourth of the season and marked the first time in eight games against ranked opponents that Oklahoma had trailed.
"I was looking for something down because I had gotten beat on up pitches (early)," Edwards said. "I just tried to stay calm and keep my eyes steady. I just wanted to get my swing off. Right when I hit it I knew it was square on my barrel, but I wasn't sure how far or high it went until I got to first base."
With the win, Nebraska improved to 12-5 on the year, notching its second win over a top-25 opponent. The Sooners fell to 17-1 with the loss. Michelle Gascoigne (7-1) fired a two-hitter and struck out seven in a losing effort.
Nebraska wraps up its Oklahoma road trip with a pair of games on Sunday in Stillwater against Oklahoma State.
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