Lincoln - Freshman Kiki Stokes hit a walk-off, three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the 21st-ranked Nebraska softball team to a 4-1 victory over New Mexico State in the first game of a home-opening doubleheader at Bowlin Stadium Friday afternoon.
After the score was tied 1-1 following the first seven innings, neither team had a base runner in extra innings until junior Kylee Muir led off the bottom of the 10th with a pinch-hit single. A one-out infield single from sophomore Jordan Bettiol put Huskers at first and second with one out before Stokes, primarily a slapper, ripped the first pitch she saw the opposite way for a game-ending, three-run homer to left center.
The walk-off homer was the first by a Husker since senior Brooke Thomason hit a seventh-inning grand slam in Nebraska's 9-6 victory over Northwestern last season in NU's first-ever Big Ten game. Stokes' homer helped Nebraska win its sixth straight game, as the Huskers improved to 17-5 on the year. Nebraska also won its home opener for the eighth straight seasons and for the 11th time in the 12 seasons the Huskers have called Bowlin Stadium home.
Stokes' first over-the-fence home run and second career shot was her only hit of the game. Classmate Dawna Tyson finished 2-for-4 and her fourth inning, RBI single gave Nebraska a 1-0 lead.
In the circle, junior right-hander Tatum Edwards (10-4) earned her 10th victory by tossing 3.0 innings of perfect relief, retiring all nine batters she faced. Freshman right-hander Emily Lockman did not factor into the decision in her home debut, allowing one run on six hits over the first 7.0 innings.
Alex Newman (7-6) took the loss in relief for New Mexico State, which fell to 15-11 on the year. Newman allowed three runs on four hits in 4.0 innings.
The game's first base runner didn't come until the bottom of the third inning, and the game's first hit wasn't recorded until Stacy Rodriguez's blooper landed on the left-field foul line with two outs in the top of the fourth.
Junior Taylor Edwards delivered Nebraska's first hit in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out single. She moved to second on a ground out from senior Brooke Thomason, before scoring on a clutch, two-out single from Tyson.
New Mexico State responded with a ground ball single that bounced off the first base bag and over the head of first baseman Mattie Fowler and a bloop single to shallow right to put runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the fifth. The Aggies had runners at the corners with one out following a fielder's choice. After a strikeout, Emma Adams hit another soft blooper that fell in shallow left field for a two-out, RBI single that tied the game at 1-1.
Still tied in the top of the seventh, a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt gave New Mexico State a runner at second with one out. Adams then hit a grounder to freshman Alicia Armstrong at short and she went to third for a crucial second out. Malena Padilla then popped out to first to end the threat.
It remained a pitcher's duel into extra innings, as neither team had a base runner in the extra innings until Nebraska's three-run 10th inning.
The Huskers and Aggies wrap up their doubleheader with game two.