Wichita, Kan. – Wichita State recorded the key hits that eluded Nebraska all night, as the Shockers scored five times in the sixth inning to rally for a 7-5 win over the Husker softball team on Monday night.
Nebraska benefitted from four Wichita State errors but could never deliver the timely hit to fully take advantage of the miscues. On the flip side, Wichita State took advantage of three consecutive walks to begin the sixth inning, erasing a three-run deficit with a two-run single and a two-run triple.
The late loss snapped Nebraska’s season-high three-game winning streak, as the Huskers fell to 7-17 with their 12th consecutive road loss. Wichita State, the defending Missouri Valley Conference champion, won its fourth straight game to improve to 16-10 on the year.
Junior Kaylan Jablonski (3-9) took the loss for Nebraska. Jablonski entered the game in relief and faced three batters in the sixth inning, allowing two walks and a two-run single. She was charged with three earned runs without recording an out. Senior Cassie McClure started and finished the game, throwing 6.0 innings and allowing four runs on only five hits.
Offensively, sophomore Alyvia Simmons went 2-for-4 and scored twice out of the leadoff spot in the Husker lineup, while senior MJ Knighten was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI out of the No. 2 spot in the order. Simmons and Knighten accounted for all five Husker hits, as the rest of the Nebraska lineup was 0-for-19.
Nebraska jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a pair of Wichita State errors. Simmons reached on an error to start the game and another error put Simmons at third base and Knighten on first. The Huskers then executed a double steal, with Knighten staying in a rundown long enough for Simmons to score. Knighten moved to third on a passed ball and was there with no outs, but the Huskers could not get her home.
Another error aided Nebraska in the top of the third. Freshman Alexis Perry reached on an error to begin the inning. Freshman pinch runner Bree Boruff advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Bri Cassidy. Simmons then singled – producing the game’s first hit – to put Huskers on first and third with one out. Knighten followed with an RBI single up the middle that scored Boruff to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead. The Huskers had a chance for more but stranded runners at second and third.
Wichita State picked up its first hit with a bunt single to begin the bottom of the third. A single put Shockers on first and second with no outs before McClure retired the next three batters.
The Shockers then pulled within one when Macklin Hitz led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run.
In the top of the sixth, Cassidy walked with one out before Simmons and Knighten followed with consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. That brought Katie Malone into the circle and McClure helped herself with an RBI ground out that pushed the lead to 3-1. Wichita State’s fourth error of the game then resulted in Simmons and Knighten scoring on an errant throw to first base as the Husker lead grew to 5-1.
Wichita State answered back in the bottom of the frame. A leadoff single, a walk and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. Junior Laura Barrow then made an outstanding stop on a ground ball up the middle and Perry made a great stretch at first base for a huge second out, although one run did score on the play to cut the lead to 5-2. Madison Perrigan, the Shockers’ cleanup hitter, then hit a fly ball into a strong wind in left field. The wind knocked down the ball, but junior Austen Urness came in to make a diving catch to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Nebraska walked the first three batters of the inning – one by McClure and two by Jablonski, who entered the game after a leadoff four-pitch walk. A two-run single then cut the lead to 5-4 and after Jablonski fell behind the next batter, 2-0, the Huskers re-entered McClure. McClure, inheriting a a 3-0 count after Wichita State was awarded a ball for an extra warmup pitch from McClure, worked the count full before McKenzie Adams delivered her third hit of the game, a two-run triple that put the Shockers in front 6-5. Adams then scored on a sacrifice fly from Mackenzie Wright to add an insurance run.
The Huskers brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the second following a two-out single from Knighten, but a lineout ended the comeback bid.
Following its quick trip to Wichita, the Huskers return to Lincoln for four home games this week, beginning with matchup against Omaha at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Bowlin Stadium.