Nebraska Softball vs Michigan Photo No. 4

Nebraska's defense takes the field during the game against Michigan at Bowlin Stadium on Saturday, April 1, 2023, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nebraska softball continued its quest to defend its Big Ten Tournament championship on Friday, but it hit a snag against the league’s top seed. Northwestern, ranked No. 18 nationally, run ruled the Huskers, 8-0, in five innings.

The Wildcats started the scoring spree early, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning. The Wildcats’ second batter up, freshman designated hitter Kansas Robinson, singled up the middle, but two outs surrounding the hit made the inning’s prospects appear bleak. However, Northwestern rattled off a huge two-out rally to take a sizable advantage. After a walk to put runners on first and second, the Wildcats hit back-to-back doubles to score three runs.

Nebraska couldn’t answer back in the top of the first, as a quick three-up, three-down inning put Northwestern right back on offense. After pitching just one inning, Nebraska head coach Rhonda Revelle made the decision to sub junior pitcher Sarah Harness in for Wallace on the mound. That decision worked early on, throwing the Wildcats off their rhythm in the bottom of the second to keep the score 3-0.

Despite subbing off the mound, Wallace stayed in the batting lineup in the top of the third. Leading off, she ripped off a single up the middle for the Huskers. Despite the positive start, three straight outs followed, leaving Wallace on base.

Northwestern got right back to business in the bottom of the third. A walk and a single for the Wildcats put runners on first and second. After a fly out to left field, senior left fielder Angela Zedak hit a double to plate two runs before senior shortstop Maeve Nelson homered, but Zedak was called out at third going for the triple, putting the score at 6-0. Northwestern recorded one more hit in the inning, but it couldn’t bring the runner home.

In the top of the fourth, another three-up, three-down inning ensued for Nebraska, allowing the Wildcats to extend the lead 8-0 and put the game in run-rule territory. A single followed by two walks loaded the bases with zero outs put Northwestern in prime position to put the game away. Junior third baseman Hannah Cady wasted no time, hitting a single up the middle to bring home two more runs, putting the Huskers in danger of a run-rule.

In the top of the fifth, needing a run, junior left fielder Abbie Squier singled to the right side of the field with freshman Dakota Carter pinch running for her after. But an unfortunate hit right at the third baseman allowed Northwestern to convert a double play, as Cady caught the ball and then threw Carter out at first. Nebraska wasn’t done, however. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for freshman second baseman Katelyn Candeda, but she couldn’t capitalize, striking out swinging to end the game in a run-rule 8-0.

Wallace picked up the loss despite only pitching one inning, allowing three runs on three hits. Harness pitched the rest of the game, allowing five runs on seven hits. Nebraska ended the game with four hits to Northwestern’s 10.

With the loss, Nebraska falls to 34-20, and its Big Ten Tournament run has come to an end. The Huskers now await to see if they receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament, which they are  currently projected to receive.