Huskers on to softball regional final
Lincoln - The 14th-seeded Nebraska softball team clinched a spot in Sunday's NCAA Lincoln Regional final with a 7-1 victory over Stanford in a winner's bracket matchup Saturday at Bowlin Stadium.
Nebraska broke open a 2-1 game with a five-run sixth inning that included four two-out runs. That was more than enough support for Tatum Edwards, who fired a complete-game two-hitter to improve to 28-8 on the year. Edwards worked around four walks and three hit batters by allowing three hits or fewer for her second straight postseason start.
Offensively, seven Huskers had a hit as Nebraska out-hit Stanford, 8-3. Taylor Edwards had two hits and two RBIs, giving her 50 RBIs this season. She joined three-time All-American Ali Viola as the only players in school history to produce more than one 50-RBI season. Courtney Breault added three RBIs of her own, while Alicia Armstrong and Tatum Edwards drove in one run each.
After Stanford stranded a pair of runners in the top of the first, Tatum Edwards led off the bottom of the frame with a double. Gabby Banda followed with a single and Taylor Edwards walked to load the bases with no outs. Following a pop out, Breault brought home Tatum Edwards with the game's first run on a sacrifice fly.
A pair of leadoff walks gave Stanford runners at first and second in the top of the second, before a strikeout and a double play ended the threat.
Nebraska then added to its lead with another run in the bottom of the second. Armstrong led off with a single before Mattie Fowler was hit by the first pitch thrown by new Stanford pitcher Kelsey Stevens. A ground out moved both runners into scoring position, before Stevens recorded a key strikeout. Banda then walked to load the bases before Taylor Edwards hit a hard ground ball to third that took a bad hop and deflected off the third baseman for an RBI infield single.
Tatum Edwards ran into trouble with her control in the top of the fifth, issuing a leadoff walk before hitting a batter to put runners on first and second with one out for the top of the Cardinal order. A strikeout marked the second out before the leadoff walk came around to score on a two-out RBI single from Leah White that cut the Husker lead to 2-1.
After Stanford cut the lead in half, Nebraska added four insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Mattie Fowler reached on a one-out double that was followed by a single from Jordan Bettiol. Tatum Edwards then lifted the first pitch she saw to the warning track in left field for a sacrifice fly that scored Fowler. Taylor Edwards then fouled off three two-strike pitches before producing an RBI single to center that scored Banda and gave the Huskers a 4-1 lead. A walk to Brooke Thomason loaded the bases before Breault lined a two-run single to left field.
Trailing 6-1, Stanford brought Nyree White into the game and she promptly walked Hailey Decker to load the bases, then walked Alicia Armstrong to force in the fifth and final run of the inning.
Tatum Edwards worked around an infield single and a walk in the top of the seventh to secure Nebraska's spot in the regional final. The region final is set to begin at 1:05 p.m. and will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. A Husker loss would force an if-necessary game at 3:30 p.m. that would also be televised live on BTN.
Stanford will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the regional final. The Cardinal fell to 38-20 w
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