NU Rallies to Top Rutgers, Win Series


The Nebraska softball team erased a late five-run deficit and rallied for a 7-6 win over Rutgers in eight innings Sunday in a series-clinching victory for the Big Red.

Nebraska trailed 6-1 before tying the game with a five-run sixth inning. In the eighth, Peyton Cody drove in Billie Andrews with the winning run with a two-out RBI single. Sarah Harness then worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the eighth to wrap up the win.

With the victory, Nebraska improved to 25-16 on the season and moved to 8-3 in Big Ten play, including a 5-1 record on the road.

Cody finished with two RBIs including the game-winner. Samantha Bland tied the game with a two-out, two-run double in the sixth inning and was 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.

Nebraska finished with 11 hits in the game and overcame stranding 11 base runners.

The comeback was made possible thanks to a terrific relief outing from Harness. She entered the game in the fourth inning and allowed one run on just two hits in 5.0 innings. Harness (5-3) retired 11 of the final 12 batters. Kaylin Kinney started and allowed five runs (three earned) on three hits in 3.0-plus innings.

Mattie Boyd (15-7) took the loss, throwing a complete game. She gave up 11 hits but only three of the seven runs she allowed were earned. Rutgers fell to 26-18 with the loss and dropped to 8-6 in conference play.

Nebraska gave up four runs in the first three innings despite only allowing just one hit – a single.

Meanwhile Nebraska was frustrated by early missed opportunities offensively. The Huskers stranded two runners in the first inning and left another runner in the second. NU then stranded runners at second and third in the third inning.

Trailing 4-0 after three innings, Caitlynn Neal cut the lead to 4-1 when she led off the top of the fourth inning with a home run. Bella Bacon followed with a single and Ava Bredwell drew a one-out walk to put runners on first and second with one out. After a fly out, Katelyn Caneda lined a single to right field and Sydney Gray thought she had scored on the play but was ruled out at home plate to end the inning.

Rutgers answered the run in the bottom of the fourth. A double, a bunt single and an RBI single plated a run as the Scarlet Knights pushed their lead to 5-1.

A solo home run then pushed the lead to 6-1 after five innings.

Nebraska tied the game with five runs in the top of the sixth aided by a pair of Rutgers errors. Neal drew a leadoff walk before an error put Huskers on first and second with no outs. Gray then hit an RBI double off the wall in left to score Neal and cut the lead to 6-2. With one out, Billie Andrews won a 10-pitch at bat by drawing a walk to load the bases. Another error on an RBI fielder’s choice from Caneda cut the lead to 6-3 and kept the bases loaded. A fielder’s choice brought home another run to make it 6-4. Bland then hit a two-run double to center field that scored pinch runner Mckinley Malecha and Billie Andrews to tie the game.

After Harness retired Rutgers in order in the bottom of the seventh, Billie Andrews drew a one-out walk in the top of the eighth. Caneda then put down a sacrifice bunt to move Andrews to second base with two outs before Cody came through with an RBI single over the center fielder’s head that gave Nebraska its first lead of the game at 7-6. Bland and Brooke Andrews followed with singles to load the bases but the Huskers could not add to their lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Harness retired the first two batters before issuing a two-out walk. With the tying run on first base and the winning run at the plate, Harness coaxed a pop out to end the game.

Nebraska remains on the road next weekend, when the Huskers travel to Ann Arbor for a three-game series with the Michigan Wolverines.

Post-Game Notes

  • Nebraska played its seventh extra-inning game of the season, including its second straight Sunday extra-inning game.
  • The Huskers improved to 4-3 in extra-inning games this season.
  • By rallying from a five-run deficit, the Huskers have now come from behind in 15 of their 24 wins this season.
  • NU won when trailing after five innings for just the third time this season.
  • Caitlynn Neal homered, her second home run in four games. In her last five games, Neal has produced 10 RBIs.
  • Billie Andrews scored both the game-tying and game-winning runs.