Husker comeback not enough against Gophers


After a dynamic doubleheader win against the Iowa Hawkeyes on March 25th, the Nebraska softball team stubbed their toe in an 8-7 loss to no. 12 Minnesota on Friday night at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln. The Huskers had hoped to have a better showing against the Gophers who sit in first place in Big Ten softball. The Big Red rally proved not to be enough.

Junior pitcher Emily Lockman earned the start for the Huskers but ran into trouble immediately. Minnesota grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st. The first two hitters reached base on a hit batter and a walk, followed by back-to-back ground balls. Minnesota plated 3 more runs in the top of the 2nd, and one more in the 3rd, to lead 5-0.

Huskers were held scoreless for 2 innings by Minnesota starting pitcher Sara Groenewegen, the reigning B1G Ten Pitcher of the Year. Big Red finally broke through with a run via a leadoff walk and double from MJ Knighten in the bottom of the 3rd. Holding Minnesota scoreless in the 4th, Nebraska was able to plate another run to close the deficit to 5-2. Once again, Lockman was able to hold the Gophers scoreless in the 5th.

Nebraska continued to battle back, scoring two more runs to pull within one at 5-4. Dawna Tyson connected with a double and scored on a two-run homer off the bat of MJ Knighten.

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Unfortunately, Nebraska just couldn’t stop the Minnesota offensive juggernaut as Lockman served up a two-run homer in the top of the 6th but the Huskers matched it with a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame. Kat Woolman and Dawna Tyson scored when Tyson homered to center. The Huskers were clinging to a one run deficit at 7-6, hoping to come from behind for a victory in the seventh.

Having already allowed seven runs in 6.0 innings, Emily Lockman came out to start in the seventh. She needed to shut down the Gopher bats to give the Huskers an opportunity to earn a comeback win. It was not to be as she gave up a solo home run to left. NU Coach Revelle lifted Lockman, and Sophomore RHP Cassie McClure entered the game. She pitched 3 quick outs to retire Minnesota.

Now it was Nebraska’s turn and they needed the bats to come alive. NU short stop Alicia Armstrong belted a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the frame. Cassie McClure kept it going when she reached on a error, but Steph Pasquale grounded into a double play to end the game, giving Minnesota an 8-7 victory.

The story of the game was pitching. Emily Lockman did not have her good stuff and Minnesota was quick to capitalize. Nebraska offense was slow to get started and while they mounted a comeback, it was not enough. Three ladies provided most of the offense for the Big Red. MJ Knighten went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and three RBIs. Dawna Tyson doubled, homered with 2 RBIs and Alicia Armstrong added a home run.

Nebraska and Minnesota meet again Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Huskers will need to bring a stronger pitching performance and “rev up” the bats to hopefully earn a win. It will be “Pepsi Pack the House Day” so there should be a big crowd at Bowlin Stadium.

They will want to celebrate a WIN!! Stay tuned for further updates and as always, GO BIG RED!!