Lincoln, Neb. – A poor defensive game cost the Nebraska softball team on Wednesday, as the Huskers fell to Kansas, 5-3, in eight innings in a game that lasted more than four hours following a lengthy weather delay.
Nebraska committed three errors in the game and two of the three runs Kansas scored in regulation were unearned. The errors spoiled a strong relief effort from junior right-hander Kaylan Jablonski, who allowed three runs (two earned) in 6.0 innings, posting seven strikeouts. Jablonski (10-12) took the loss in relief of senior Cassie McClure, who allowed two runs (one earned) in 2.0 innings.
Offensively, Nebraska had eight hits but stranded nine runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore Alyvia Simmons finished 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, while junior Austen Urness hit a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the third inning that proved to be the final run scored prior to extra innings.
With the loss, the Huskers fell to 19-23 overall while Kansas evened its record at 22-22. Alexis Reid (14-15) earned the complete-game win for the Jayhawks, allowing three runs on eight hits.
The game got off to an ominous start, as lightning in the area delayed the game by nearly an hour and a half just three pitches into the top of the first inning. Following the long weather delay, Kansas loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first on a walk and back-to-back singles. The Jayhawks then grabbed a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly. KU had runners at first and third following the sacrifice fly but had to settle for just the one run as McClure recorded a strikeout and a foul out to prevent further damage.
In the bottom of the first, senior MJ Knighten and freshman Tristen Edwards reached on consecutive one-out singles, but a strikeout and a diving play by KU third baseman Jessie Roane ended the threat.
Brittani Reid began the top of the second with a double and advanced to second on a passed ball before scoring on a single from Taylor McElhaney.
In the bottom of the second, McClure reached on a one out single. Junior pinch runner Gina Metzler then tried to advance on a ball in the dirt but was thrown out at second. Following the second out, freshman Alexis Perry walked and junior Laura Barrow singled to put Huskers on first and second for Simmons, who lined a game-tying two-run double over the left fielder’s head.
After tying the game at 2-2, Nebraska allowed an unearned run for the second straight inning in the top of the third. Jablonski entered the game to start the inning and quickly retired the first two batters before a walk, an error and a two-out RBI single put the Jayhawks back on top, 3-2.
Urness tied the game in the bottom of the frame, beginning the inning with a leadoff home run.
Nebraska hit the ball hard several times over the next few innings and Kansas stranded five runners from the fourth through sixth innings, as the game remained tied heading into the seventh inning. In the top of the seventh, Becki Monaghan led off with a double. Pinch runner Annie Mehringer moved up to third with two outs but was stranded there following a ground out.
In the bottom of the seventh, an error and a hit batter put Huskers on first and second with one out. Nebraska then loaded the bases with two outs but a foul out sent the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth a walk and a misjudged fly ball put Jayhawks on second and third with only one out. Roane then grounded a sharp double down the left field line that scored two to put Kansas on top 5-3. The Huskers were then retired in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Following its final mid-week home game of the season, the Huskers close out a seven-game homestand by welcoming Illinois to Bowlin Stadium for a three-game series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.