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HUSKERS FALL TO HOOSIERS IN 8 INNINGS

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Courtesy of Husker Athletics

The Nebraska softball team took a one-run lead into the seventh inning Friday but Indiana tied the game with a single run in the seventh and then scored six times in the eighth to rally for a 9-5 victory in a Big Ten Tournament semifinal matchup in Iowa City.

With the loss, Nebraska (30-23) came up one game short of making the Big Ten Tournament Championship game. The Huskers will now wait to see if their name is called on Sunday when the 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament is announced.

Nebraska jumped on Indiana starting pitcher Brianna Copeland, hitting two home runs in five batters while building a 3-0 lead after two innings. But the Huskers struggled against reliever Sophie Kleiman (14-4) in regulation, as Kleiman gave up only three hits from the second through the seventh innings – all singles to Billie Andrews. Kleiman earned the win after giving up three runs in 7.0 innings.

Sarah Harness (9-6) took the loss for Nebraska. Harness threw every pitch for Nebraska at the Big Ten Tournament and tossed her second complete game in two days against the Hoosiers. Harness allowed just two runs in the first 6.0 innings.

Offensively, Billie Andrews went 4-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Ava Bredwell and Peyton Cody also homered for the Big Red.

Nebraska grabbed a 1-0 lead when Billie Andrews hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning.

In the bottom of the second inning, Ava Bredwell led off with a home run to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead. Following a pitching change, Caitlynn Neal drew a one-out walk and Katelyn Caneda worked a two-out walk. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch before an RBI infield single from Billie Andrews scored Neal and put the Huskers on top 3-0.

Indiana got a run back in the top of the fourth when Sarah Stone led off with a home run to left center that cut the Husker lead to 3-1.

In the top of the fifth, a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt put a Hoosier on second base with one out for the top of the order. Brianna Copeland then delivered an RBI single up the middle to make it a one-run game.

In the bottom of the inning, Bella Bacon was hit by a pitch, Billie Andrews singled with one out and Sydney Gray drew a two-out walk but the Huskers left the bases loaded.

In the top of the seventh, a miscommunication led to a dropped foul ball which proved costly as two pitches later Brooke Benson hit a game-tying home run to right center.

In the top of the eighth, a leadoff walk, a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt gave Indiana runners at second and third with one out. Aaliyah Andrews then lined a 1-2 pitch into center field for a two-run single that gave Indiana a 5-3 lead. An RBI single and a three-run homer capped the six-run inning and gave Indiana a 9-3 lead.

As it has done all season, Nebraska continued to fight in the bottom of the eighth. Emmerson Cope was hit by a pitch to start the inning and with two outs, Cody hit a long pinch-hit home run to cut the lead to 9-5 but the Huskers would get no closer.

Post-Game Notes

  • Nebraska played its 10th extra-inning game of the season. The 10 extra-inning games are one shy of the school record of 11 extra-inning games during the 1982 season.
  • Billie Andrews hit her 18th home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the first inning. The 18 home runs rank in a tie for fourth in school history.
  • The home run was the 61st of Andrews’ career, moving her into a tie for fifth place on the Big Ten’s all-time home run list.
  • The home run was Andrews’ third home run of the Big Ten Tournament. Her three home runs rank in a tie for second for most home runs in a single Big Ten Tournament, as Andrews became the fifth player to hit three home runs at a Big Ten Tournament.
  • The home run was also the 100th extra-base hit of Andrews’ career.
  • With two RBIs in the game, Andrews moved into seventh place on Nebraska’s all-time list with 157 career RBIs.
  • Billie Andrews also had a stolen base in the game, the 50th steal of her career. Andrews is the first player in program history with 50 career home runs and 50 career stolen bases.
  • Billie Andrews went 4-for-4 to tie her career high in hits.
  • Ava Bredwell hit her eighth home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the second inning.
  • Peyton Cody hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh inning, her fourth home run of the season.
  • Sarah Harness tossed her second complete game in as many days and her third complete game of the season. Her 8.0 innings were a season high.

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