Lincoln - The Nebraska softball team earned a third-place finish in the final Big Ten Conference standings with a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin in front of the third-largest crowd in school history on Saturday at Bowlin Stadium.
The Huskers unofficially set a new record for the World's Largest Softball Tailgate on Saturday, drawing 1,752 fans to the event. Illinois held the record with 1,445 fans in attendance at its 2007 World's Largest Softball Tailgate. Saturday's Husker crowd was the third-largest in school history.
With the win, Nebraska ended the season with a 33-22 record, including a 15-1 record at Bowlin Stadium. The Huskers finished 14-9 in conference play, finishing third in the league standings. Wisconsin fell to 34-19 with the loss and dropped to 13-10 in Big Ten play.
Senior right-hander Ashley Hagemann (23-17) earned the win in her final start. She fired a three-hitter, allowing only one run and striking out six. Cassandra Darrah (22-13) took the loss for the second straight game, as Nebraska won the series over Wisconsin, 2-1. On Saturday, Darrah allowed four runs on three hits in 3.2 innings, although none of the runs she allowed were earned as Wisconsin committed two key errors.
Offensively, junior Brooke Thomason was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Freshman Mattie Fowler added Nebraska's other hit, an RBI double.
Nebraska jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Senior Ashley Guile reached on a two-out error and scored on an RBI double from Thomason. Leading 1-0, sophomore Tatum Edwards walked to put runners on first and second before Fowler hit a hard liner to short, where Stephanie Peace made a nice diving grab to end the inning.
The Huskers threatened again in the fourth before leaving the bases loaded. Nebraska then got some help to take a 4-0 lead after five innings of play. A pair of walks, a sacrifice and a stolen base put runners on second and third with two outs. Tatum Edwards then hit a ground ball to short and Peace's throw to first would have been in time, but it was dropped by Michelle Mueller, allowing two runs to score. Fowler then drove in freshman pinch-runner Jordan Bettiol with an RBI double to the gap in left center to put Nebraska in front by four runs.
Wisconsin answered in the top of the sixth with back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 4-1. The Badgers had a runner on second with none out, before Fowler made a nice leaping grab at short and threw to junior Courtney Breault at second for a double play. Hagemann then got the next batter to pop out to Breault to end the inning.
In the seventh, the first two Badgers were quickly retired before an infield single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with two outs. Hagemann then preserved the victory by coaxing a game-ending strikeout.
Following the game, Nebraska honored its six seniors who were playing their final game.