Lincoln - Taylor Edwards and Brooke Thomason hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning and the Husker pitching staff combined for a three-hitter, as the Nebraska softball team opened its fall season with a 8-2 victory over South Dakota in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader at the Doris Bair Complex.
The game was tied 1-1 in the fifth before Taylor Edwards launched a two-run homer. Three pitches later, Thomason followed with a solo shot, giving Nebraska a 4-1 lead. The Huskers then produced four hits and three walks in a four-run sixth inning that put the game out of reach.
Nebraska finished with nine hits in the win. Thomason and freshman Kiki Stokes each finished with two hits and both of Thomason's hits went for extra bases. Four Huskers also produced an RBI in the win, led by two from Taylor Edwards.
In the circle, freshman right-hander Danica Bishop earnerd the win in relief. Bishop did not allow an earned run in 2.0 innings, surrendering only one hit and striking out a pair. Junior right-hander Tatum Edwards earned the start and did not allow a hit or a run over the first 3.0 innings. Freshman right-hander Emily Lockman closed out the win, allowing one run on two hits over the final 2.0 innings.
Erica Denney took the loss in a complete-game effort for South Dakota. Denney was hurt by six Coyote errors, as only five of the eight runs she allowed were earned.
The game's first scoring chance came in the bottom of the third. Stokes reached on a one-out infield single and advanced to second on an error. She was at third with two outs, but the Huskers were unable to score.
One inning later, Thomason led off with a double and freshman Hailey Decker followed with another double. Thomason held up to make sure the ball would fall in the left-center field gap, leaving Huskers on second and third with none out. A ground out to second base failed to plate a run before senior Gabby Banda lifted a deep fly ball to left that scored Thomason on a sacrifice fly for the game's first run.
South Dakota answered back in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 1-1. After walking the leadoff batter in her second inning of work, Bishop rebounded by striking out the next two batters. Katie Cochran then stole second base, and she scored when freshman shortstop Alicia Armstrong was unable to hold on to an infield popup for a two-out error.
A South Dakota two-out error in the bottom of the frame allowed Nebraska to take the lead for good. With two outs, sophomore Jordan Bettiol reached on an error by the shortstop. Taylor Edwards then fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before launching a 1-2 offering just over the fence in center for a two-run homer. Thomason followed with a deep line-drive home run to right three pitches later as Nebraska extended its lead to 4-1.
Once again the Coyotes responded in their next at bat. An infield single and an RBI double trimmed the lead to 4-2 and left a runner on third with none out in Lockman's first inning of work. But the freshman bounced back, recording a strikeout and a ground out to prevent any further damage.
The Huskers then blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Tatum Edwards and Banda reached on back-to-back walks to open the frame. Armstrong then poked a single to right field and the ball was bobbled, allowing Decker to score. The throw to third was then dropped, allowing Tatum Edwards to score and Armstrong wound up at third. Leading 6-1, freshman Dawna Tyson ripped a double to the wall down the left-field line, scoring Armstrong. Tyson advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error following Stoke's infield single to push the lead to 8-2.
Lockman then retired the side in order in the seventh to earn the save.