Nebraska softball welcomed the Minnesota Golden Gophers to Bowlin Stadium on Friday afternoon, seeking to extend its 15-game winning streak.
The Huskers did just that, winning comfortably 7-0 to keep the impressive streak alive. For the first game of Alumni weekend, the stands were full of Husker fans who brought energy from the first pitch to the final out.
“The crowd has been awesome,” Nebraska manager Rhonda Revelle said postgame. “They have just great energy.”
Senior pitcher Olivia Ferrell got the start in the circle for the Huskers. She pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits. She added four strikeouts in the victory.
The Huskers brought defensive intensity for the entire game. On what looked like Ferrell’s first strikeout of the day, the first base umpire called a check on the batter’s swing. Ferrell dialed in and earned the third strike two pitches later. She pumped her fists passionately as the inning came to a close.
“I like the way that [Ferrell] has been competing,” Revelle said. “She’s very confident. She’s got a great demeanor on the mound. She’s leading us well from the circle.”
Senior second baseman Cam Ybarra got the first hit of the day for the Huskers. With one out in the bottom of the first, Ybarra knocked a double into the right-field gap. The ball rolled to the fence as Husker fans rose to their feet in celebration.
One batter later, sophomore third baseman Sydney Gray brought Ybarra home. On a 1-1 pitch, Gray drove a home run over the fence in the corner of right field. The two-run blast gave the Huskers an early 2-0 lead.
“We scored early which gave me some relief,” Ferrell said. “They just kept tacking on. It wasn’t every inning, which we strive for, but it was every other. That was good.”
The Golden Gophers got their first hit of the game in the top of the third. With one out, sophomore catcher Sara Kinch hit a fly ball deep into center field. Sophomore center fielder Caitlynn Neal attempted a difficult catch as she tracked the ball backward. The ball tipped off of her glove, and fell to the ground, allowing Kinch to reach second base.
Ferrell walked the next batter, putting two Golden Gopher runners on base. Thanks to an impressive running catch by Neal in center and a ground out, Nebraska escaped the inning without allowing any runs.
The Huskers continued their pressure in the bottom of the third. They started the inning with a single and a walk to quickly put two runners on base. With two outs, junior first baseman Mya Felder popped up into left. It dropped into a gap in left field for a single, allowing one run to score. Felder advanced to second on the throw.
With runners on second and third, sophomore left fielder Abbie Squier came to the plate. She hit a ball down the left-field line that clipped the chalk to stay fair. Two runs scored as she reached second on the play. After the third inning, Nebraska led 5-0.
“I was able to keep them off the board,” Ferrell said. “That’s all I’m trying to do, put up zeros for my team. When they put up seven runs, it makes it a little easier.”
In the fourth, both teams had a batter reach on error before turning double plays. In the top of the inning, one Golden Gopher reached first on a Husker throwing error. Ferrell followed with two straight looking strikeouts to end the inning.
To start the bottom of the fourth, Neal reached on an infield error. The Golden Gophers doubled her up at first after catching a center field pop fly.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Ybarra knocked a home run over the right-field fence. The solo blast was her eighth of the season and it extended the Nebraska lead to 6-0.
The Huskers added yet another run in the bottom of the sixth. After two Nebraska singles, junior utility Peyton Glatter singled up the middle, allowing one run to score.
Ferrell finished off the Golden Gophers in the top of the seventh. The Huskers finalized a 7-0 victory for their 16th straight win.
“It shows our consistency,” Ferrell said about the win streak. “We’ve been working for that every day since last season. We knew we had this potential. We’re not thinking about it too much, just one game after the next.”
The Huskers are back in action on Saturday. The second game of the series against Minnesota is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. It can be watched on Big Ten Plus.