Piscataway, N.J. – The Nebraska softball team stretched its winning streak to eight games and completed its second straight three-game Big Ten Conference road sweep by defeating Rutgers 7-2 on Sunday in Piscataway, N.J.
The Huskers, who are 6-0 on their eight-game Big Ten Conference road trip, improved to 16-20 on the season and moved to 6-3 in league play. Senior right-hander Cassie McClure earned the win in relief to move to 7-6 on the season. McClure retired the first 14 batters she faced and allowed only one run on four hits in 6.0 innings. Junior Kaylan Jablonski earned the start and allowed one run on one hit in 1.0 inning.
Offensively, seven Huskers produced a hit and six drove in at least one run. Junior Taylor Otte went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. In addition to hitting her first career home run, Otte tied her career high with two hits and two RBIs. Sophomore Bri Cassidy was 2-for-3, producing her first career multi-hit game. Sophomore Alyvia Simmons, senior MJ Knighten and freshman Tristen Edwards all produced one hit, one run and one RBI batting out of the top three spots in the Husker lineup.
Shayla Sweeney (8-12) suffered her third loss of the weekend, allowing five runs in 4.0 innings for the Scarlet Knights, who fell to 10-27 overall and dropped to 1-8 in conference play.
Nebraska jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Knighten reached on a one-out bunt single and scored one pitch later when Edwards lined an RBI double to the gap in right center. Then with two outs, junior Austen Urness brought Edwards home with an RBI double of her own that pushed the lead to 2-0.
Rutgers answered right back in the bottom of the frame. A leadoff walk, a bunt single and a ground out put runners at second and third with one out before a sacrifice fly trimmed the lead to 2-1.
Neither team mounted much offense again until the top of the fifth, when freshman Alexis Perry walked and Cassidy followed with a bunt single to put runners at first and second. Simmons then delivered an RBI single to right field that scored freshman pinch runner Bree Boruff. Junior pinch runner Gina Metzler scored one batter later on a sacrifice fly from Knighten that pushed the Husker lead to 4-1. Nebraska then executed a double steal which proved big when junior Kaylan Jablonski scored Simmons on a sacrifice fly that stretched the lead to 5-1.
The Huskers plated two more runs in the top of the sixth. Junior Laura Barrow drew a leadoff walk and scored on a two-run home run from Otte that made it 7-1.
After McClure retired the first 14 batters she faced, three consecutive two-out hits plated a run for Rutgers in the bottom of the sixth.
The Scarlet Knights trailed 7-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh and the first two batters reached on a leadoff single and a walk. But McClure escaped the jam with a strikeout, a ground out and a nice pickoff of the runner at second base by Cassidy.
Following the sweep of Rutgers, Nebraska wraps up its eight-game Big Ten Conference road trip with a doubleheader at Iowa on Wednesday.