Hoosiers hand Huskers a third straight loss
Bloomington, Ind. - A frustrating weekend for the Nebraska softball team ended with a 4-2 loss at Indiana in the final game of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at the IU Softball Field.
The Huskers, who entered the weekend series one-half game out of first place in the Big Ten Conference standings, were swept by the Hoosiers. Nebraska, which out-hit Indiana in every game and by a 24-15 margin on the weekend, never led in the series and the Huskers trailed after all 21 innings of play.
On Sunday, Nebraska fell behind in the first inning for the third straight game. After Nebraska wasted a two-out double in the top of the first, a bloop double, a bunt single and a three-run homer gave the Hoosiers a 3-0 lead three batters into the bottom of the first.
The Huskers answered in the top of the second. Junior Gabby Banda led off with a single, stole second and scored on an RBI double from senior Ashley Guile. Then with two outs, Guile scored from third on a two-out, RBI single from classmate Madison Drake. Drake then stole second before senior Nikki Haget singled up the middle. Drake tried to score on the play but was thrown out.
Nebraska missed another chance to tie the game in the top of the fourth when freshman Mattie Fowler reached on a two-out triple, but she was stranded on third base.
Indiana then added an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a Husker error.
Nebraska had a one-out hit in the fifth and a two-out single in the sixth, but the Huskers came up empty both frames. Then in the seventh, NU was retired in order for only the second time in the game.
Senior right-hander Ashley Hagemann (22-16) took the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits in a complete-game effort. Hagemann added five strikeouts and walked only one.
Offensively, Guile finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI as Nebraska out-hit Indiana, 8-7. Haget added two hits of her own, while Drake added Nebraska's other RBI. The Husker seniors combined for five hits, two RBIs and one run scored in the game.
But their effort was not enough to prevent Nebraska from being swept, as the Huskers fell to 31-21 on the season and dropped to 12-8 in league play. Indiana improved to 27-25 with the win and 11-10 in Big Ten action. The Hoosiers won behind Meaghan Murphy (13-11), who picked up her second complete-game victory over the Huskers on the weekend. Murphy scattered eight hits and allowed only two runs.
Nebraska wraps up its season next weekend with a three-game series against Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday at Bowlin Stadium. Saturday's final game will feature the World's Largest Softball Tailgate, where admission to the tailgate and the softball game will be completely free and a free hot dog, chips and Pepsi product is guaranteed to the first 2,000 fans in attendance.
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