Nebraska softball overcomes chilly temperatures, errors with six-run inning

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s bats stayed hot Saturday despite having to stay on ice a little longer than planned in a 12-6 Big Ten softball victory over Michigan State.

The 23-9 Huskers had 11 hits in the first four innings that helped them build a 12-4 lead before 542 at Bowlin Stadium crowd of 542.

Nebraska won its fifth straight despite two more errors, which bring the Huskers’ two-game total to seven. In their first 30 games, the Huskers were charged with only 16 total miscuesThey had 16 in their first 30 games.

“We’re doing some really good things on offense, and in the past we’ve been doing some really good things on defense. But we’re not putting it together,” Revelle said. “If we can put this thing together, it can be really special.”

After the introductions were madeplayer introductions and the national anthem was played, the teams had to leave the field because the real-feel temperature for Lincoln according to accuweather.com was only 27 degrees.

Big Ten Conference rules mandate that softball and baseball games can’t begin until the real-feel temperature is at least 28degrees. So the teams retreated to the Gordon Training Complex to wait for the real-feel temperature to rise.

That happened at 2:08 p.m., and the teams returned to the field to again go through pregame drills. The temperature held, and the game began promptly at 2:38.

Michigan State wasted little time opening the scoring when left fielder Ebonee Echols hit a solo home run to right field, her second round-tripperof the season.

Nebraska responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Alyvia Simmons and Tristen Edwards led off with back-to-back singles, with Simmons racing to third on Edwards’ hit.

A two-out single up the middle by Laura Barrow brought home both Simmons and Edwards, who stole second base on the previous pitch.

Michigan State (11-15) continued to rough up starting pitcher Regan Mergele, scoring three runs in the second on two hits with an assist from Nebraska’s second error, an errant throw by Barrow. The run-producing plays were a groundout to second base by Kaitlyn Eveland and a two-run single by Caitie Ladd to give MSU a 4-2 lead.

“Both of our errors today were by veteran infielders, and they were really routine balls,” Revelle said. “Lots of time, they weren’t in a hurry or anything.”

If not for a base-running snafumistake, Nebraska would have had aled 5-4 leadat the end of the second inning. Taylor Otte led off with a double to left field, then Lexey Kneib singled through the right side.

With two outs, Simmons hit the ball out of the park to deep center field. Spartans center fielder Lea Foerster leaped for the ball but couldn’t corral it, and she pumped her fist in frustration.

Kneib wasn’t sure if that first pump was out of frustration or a celebration, so she began to return to retreated toward first base. Simmons was rounding first base and went past Kneib before the two got in the right order and finished circling the bases.

Instead of a three-run home run, Simmons was credited with a two-run single and was called out when she crossed home plate for passing Kneib on the base path. That tied the game 4-4.

The Huskers blew things open in the bottom of the third, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring six runs on two hits, five walks and a wild pitch to build a 10-4 lead.

Singles by Kaylan Jablonski, who took over for Mergele in the circle in the third inning, and Simmons were the two hits, and two of NU’s runs came on bases-loaded walks.

Nebraska scored two more runs in the fourth inning to take a 12-4 lead and potentially end the game two innings early because of the mercy rule. But Spartans pinch-hitter Kelcey Carrasco clubbed a two-run home run in the fifth that bounced off a garage door of the Gordon Complex.

A double play in the sixth inning, and Jablonski striking out the side in the seventh after MSU opened with a walk and a single, sealed the victory for the HuskersThe Huskers turned a double play in the sixth inning, and Jablonski, who had taken over in the circle in the third, struck out the side in the seventh after a walk and a single to seal the victory. Jablonski is now16-5 after earning the victoryvictories in the first two games of the series.

“I think sometimes she just gets ahead of herself,” Revelle said of Jablonski. “It’s very natural for your adrenaline to amp up, but it’s the regulation of that adrenaline that’s important. Those last three hitters, she did a really nice job with that.”

The final game of the three-game series is scheduled to begin at noon Sunday with the annual Bark in the Park promotion. Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the game.

Michigan St. (11-15)………130 020 0— 6 7 1

At Nebraska (23-9)………..226 200 x—12 12 2

W: Kaylan Jablonski (16-5). L: Jordan Watson (2-3). 2B: NU, Taylor Otte, Bri Cassidy. HR: MSU, Ebonee Echols, Kelcey Carrasco. A: 542.

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