Huskers fall late to Minnesota at Big Ten Softball Tournament
Lincoln - The 14th-ranked Nebraska softball team produced more hits than Minnesota, but the Golden Gophers delivered the only run-scoring hit of the game, as Minnesota edged the Huskers 1-0 in a Big Ten Semifinal at Bowlin Stadium on Saturday.
Both pitchers dominated in a battle of All-Big Ten selections Sara Moulton of Minnesota and freshman Emily Lockman from Nebraska. Moulton, the league leader in shutouts, tossed her fourth shutout in her last five starts to improve to 31-9 on the year. She scattered four hits and did not walk a batter.
Lockman (14-5) suffered her second straight loss, despite an outstanding effort. Lockman went the distance for NU, firing a three-hitter with five strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
With the loss, Nebraska fell to 40-13. The Huskers will learn their postseason fate when the field of 64 is announced for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night. Minnesota improved to 35-16 with the win, and the Golden Gophers will face Wisconsin in Sunday's Big Ten Tournament final.
It was a pitcher's duel from the start. After each team was retired in order in the first three half-innings, Minnesota threatened in the bottom of the second. A leadoff walk, a single and aggressive base running put runners at second and third with no outs. A strikeout marked the first out, before Nebraska recorded the second out at home on a ground ball to first. A groundout to first then ended the threat.
The Huskers didn't get their first hit or base runner until a two-out single from freshman Hailey Decker in the top of the fifth inning. Then in the top of the sixth, three consecutive one-out singles from sophomore Jordan Bettiol, junior Tatum Edwards and senior Gabby Banda loaded the bases with one out. But junior Taylor Edwards struck out and senior Brooke Thomason grounded out to first, as Moulton escaped the jam.
A leadoff hit batter then came back to cost Nebraska in the bottom of the sixth. The hit batter, a ground out and an RBI single from Kari Dorle gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
That was enough for Moulton, who retired the Huskers in order in the top of the seventh for the fifth time in the game.
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