Nebraska softball was on the losing end of a pitcher's duel on Sunday, falling 2-1 to Rutgers.
Senior pitcher Olivia Ferrell got the start for the Huskers. Ferrell struck out one, allowed five hits and walked zero batters over six innings pitched.
Rutgers Sophomore pitcher Ashley Hitchcock earned the complete game victory for the Scarlet Knights. She had two strikeouts and allowed just two hits over seven innings.
The game was scoreless through the first five innings, and neither team advanced a runner to third base in the game. The Huskers advanced two runners to second base, but both times the subsequent batter flew out to end the inning.
Senior right fielder Tristen Edwards drew three walks for the Huskers, successfully reaching base in all 15 of her plate appearances over the weekend series.
Nebraska’s first hit came in the top of the fourth inning on a single by junior left fielder Peyton Glatter, giving Nebraska much-needed momentum. Sophomore third baseman Brooke Andrews was up next and fouled out to sophomore third baseman Payton Lincavage. Now with two outs in the inning, Glatter tagged up from first attempting to steal second base, but Lincavage’s throw from the fence made it in time, ending the frame.
The first score of the game came in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by freshman shortstop Billie Andrews. The homer was Andrews’ second of the season, and it broke the scoreless tie, putting the Huskers in front 1-0. Hitchcock retired the next three batters to end the inning and kept the Scarlet Knights in striking distance for a late rally.
Hitchcock got the offense started for the Scarlet Knights in the bottom of the sixth, leading off the inning with a single. The next batter, Lincavage reached first on a fielder's choice after an out at second base.
Senior first baseman Gabrielle Callaway — who hit the go-ahead grand slam in Saturday’s victory — hit another clutch home run with a two run shot to left field, putting the Scarlet Knights up 2-1 late.
The Huskers had the potential tying run on base early in the top of the seventh, when leadoff batter freshman utility Abbie Squier was hit by a pitch. Ferrell bunted, but Lincavage sprinted from third base and dropped the diving catch attempt in fair territory, putting the ball in play before it rolled into foul territory. Lincavage threw the ball to second, getting the force out after Squier was late to run, thinking the ball was foul.
The baserunning confusion continued on the next at-bat, when freshman utility Kaylin Kinney hit a fly ball into deep center field. Senior center fielder Hailey Hoklotubbe made a spectacular full-extension diving catch, frustrating the Huskers further.
Ferrell’s pinch-runner, freshman infielder Camyl Armendariz, ran to second without tagging up, not knowing the ball was caught. Hoklotubbe threw the ball to the infield, and Rutgers got the force out at first base, ending the game.
Nebraska returns to play on Friday April 9 against Illinois in Lincoln, Nebraska.