Bloomington, Ind. – The Nebraska softball team (21-31) battled back and forth with Illinois (32-22) on Thursday in the first round of the 2019 Big Ten Tournament, but ultimately fell to by a score of 6-4. The Huskers trailed 6-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but never gave up. Nebraska scored two runs and brought the winning run to the plate twice, before Illinois snatched the victory.
Alyvia Simmons was impressive in the final game of her career, going 2-for-4 with one run. Samantha Owen went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, one run and three RBIs. As a team, Nebraska recorded nine hits. Peyton Glatter recorded two hits as well, while Tristen Edwards, Lindsey Walljasper, and Madi Unzicker each had one. The Huskers had a lot of opportunities to score runs, but couldn’t come through in the big moments, leaving 10 runners on base.
Courtney Wallace (4-7) started and pitched 5.0 innings. She gave up three runs – two earned – on seven hits. Wallace also had one walk and three strikeouts. Lindsey Walljasper pitched 2.0 innings of relief. She gave up three runs on five hits.
The Fighting Illini threatened in the second, putting runners on second and third, but Wallace got a big strikeout to help the Huskers get out of the jam. In the bottom of the inning, Glatter doubled with one out, recording Nebraska’s first hit of the game. Wallace drew a walk to put another runner on with two outs, but the Huskers missed an opportunity as a ground out ended the inning.
Nebraska got on the board in the third. Simmons singled and Owen doubled to put runners in scoring position. Then Walljasper singled through the left side to score one run.
In the top of the fourth, Illinois took advantage of a Husker miscue and scored one unearned run on two hits and an error, tying the game 1-1. In the bottom of the inning, Bri Cassidy reached on an error with two outs and Anni Raley pinch ran for her. Then Simmons singled up the middle to put a pair of runners on. Both Raley and Simmons advanced one base on a wild pitch. With first base open, the Illini chose to intentionally walk Edwards, loading the bases. Owen drew another walk to plate the go-ahead run. A pop up ended the inning, leaving three runners on base, but not before Nebraska regained the lead.
A pair of singles for the Illini put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the fifth. A double scored two and gave Illinois a 3-2 lead.
Illinois extended the lead to 6-2 in the seventh, scoring three runs off four hits, including a solo home run. Nebraska never gave up, attempting a comeback in the bottom of the inning. Edwards hit a leadoff single and Owen homered to score a pair of runs and cut the lead to 6-4. Madi Unzicker hit a one-out single and Glatter followed her lead to put a pair of runners on. However, Illinois retired the next two batters to spoil the Huskers’ comeback.
With the loss, Nebraska’s 2019 season comes to a close.