Strong Pitching Powers Huskers to Sweep
Lincoln - Behind impressive all-around performances from Kaylan Jablonski and Cassie McClure, the Nebraska softball team swept both games of a doubleheader from South Dakota on Sunday at Bowlin Stadium.
The Huskers used a three-run fifth inning to rally for a 4-2 win in the opener, before early offense powered Nebraska to a 9-0 victory in game two. Jablonski earned the complete-game win in game one, while McClure tossed 5.0 shutout innings in game two before junior Caitlin Bartsch closed out the win with 2.0 shutout innings.
Jablonski and McClure combined to throw 12.0 innings on Sunday without allowing an earned run. Offensively, the duo combined to produce seven of Nebraska's 11 RBIs on the day. Jablonski finished 4-for-8 in the two games with three RBIs, while McClure was 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a pair of walks.
Junior Gina Metzler was another offensive star for the Huskers, as she finished the doubleheader 5-for-8 and scored five times. Senior MJ Knighten and junior Austen Urness both homered for Nebraska in the doubleheader to highlight a Husker offense that produced 23 hits in the two games, including nine extra-base hits.
Nebraska is now 3-0 through its seven-game fall exhibition schedule. The Huskers wrap up their fall season this weekend by hosting the Big Red Fall Classic at Bowlin Stadium. Play begins on Friday when Nebraska faces Creighton at 6 p.m. and continues with three games on Saturday (including two non-Nebraska games) before wrapping up with three more games on Sunday (including one non-Nebraska game). Admission into all seven games of the Big Red Fall Classic is free.
Nebraska - 4
South Dakota - 2
In game one, Nebraska used a three-run fifth inning to rally for a 4-2 win. Junior right-hander Kaylan Jablonski earned the win, as she did not allow an earned run in a complete-game effort. Jablonski scattered seven hits in the win, but allowed only two hits after the second inning.
Offensively, junior Gina Metzler finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a stolen base and two runs scored. Senior MJ Knighten was 2-for-4 with a solo home run, while freshman Lexey Kneib was 2-for-3 with a double. Senior Cassie McClure drove in two runs in her only at bat of the game.
South Dakota used a key Husker error and a dropped foul ball to plate two unearned runs and take a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
The Huskers had runners at second and third in the bottom of the frame following a leadoff single from junior Austen Urness and a one-out double from Kneib. But freshman Bree Boruff was thrown out at home on an attempted squeeze bunt from senior Rachel Arthur before freshman Marinda Bryant popped out to short to end the threat.
Nebraska did get a run back in the bottom of the third. Metzler doubled with one out - her second double of the game - and scored one batter later when Jablonski doubled to the gap in left center to put the Huskers on the scoreboard.
Neither team mounted much of an offensive threat again until Knighten, a 2016 first-team All-American, led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a towering home run off the scoreboard in left. Metzler followed the game-tying homer with a single and freshman Alexis Perry blooped a double to right field to put Huskers on second and third with one out. Then with two outs, McClure delivered a two-run, pinch-hit single to give Nebraska its first lead at 4-2.
That was enough cushion for Jablonski, who retired 10 of the final 11 Coyotes.
Nebraska - 9
South Dakota - 0
In game two, Nebraska scored in four of its six turns at bat, while senior Cassie McClure and junior Caitlin Bartsch combined on a four-hit shutout in the Huskers' 8-0 win. McClure earned the win with 5.0 shutout innings, while Bartsch pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings.
Offensively, three Huskers produced multiple hits in Nebraska's 12-hit attack. Junior Kaylan Jablonski was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while classmate Gina Metzler finished 2-for-4 and scored three times. Freshman Bree Boruff also produced two hits as part of a 2-for-3 performance.
Nebraska jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With the bases loaded, Jablonski grounded a two-run single up the middle to give the Huskers an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Lexey Kneib then drove in the third run of the inning with an RBI fielder's choice that scored senior pinch runner Rachel Arthur.
McClure helped herself in the bottom of the second inning, scoring Metzler with a clutch two-out, RBI single to center that pushed the Husker lead to 4-0. Arthur then scored her second run of the game, coming home after Jablonski was intentionally caught in a rundown between first and second base on an attempted steal.
Trailing 5-0 after two innings, South Dakota threatened for the first time in the top of the third but was unable to plate a run. A Husker error and consecutive singles to load the bases with one out before Nebraska recorded a force out at home and a ground out to short to end the inning.
The Huskers then grabbed a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a one-out solo home run from junior Austen Urness.
Nebraska was held scoreless for the first time in the bottom of the fourth inning, despite loading the bases with two outs. The Huskers then scored twice in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore Bri Cassidy led off with a single and senior pinch runner Lotte Sjulin scored on a Coyote error following an infield single from Metzler. Leading 7-0, Metzler then scored on an RBI double from senior MJ Knighten.
After Bartsch pitched a scoreless top of the sixth, Kneib led off the bottom of the frame with a single. Then with two outs, three consecutive walks forced in a run to give the Huskers a 9-0 lead.
Bartsch then worked around a pair of base runners in the top of the seventh to wrap up the victory.