Iowa City, Iowa - Not even a nearly two-hour rain delay could slow the Husker offense on Saturday, as the 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team produced a season-high 17 hits in an 11-1 five-inning victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Pearl Field.
The Huskers bounced back from a disappointing loss in the series opener on Friday, scoring runs in each of the first four innings on Saturday. Nebraska plated four runs in the first inning, three runs in the second, one run in the third and three runs in the fourth, following the lengthy rain delay. Every Husker starter had at least one hit by the second inning and all 10 batters who had an at bat collected at least one hit, including five Huskers who had at least two hits. Eight Huskers also drove in at least one run in the victory.
Junior Taylor Edwards led the way with a 3-for-4 performance that included two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Freshman Kiki Stokes also finished with three hits and a pair of runs, while classmates Alicia Armstrong and Dawna Tyson and senior Brooke Thomason each produced two hits. Thomason and Tyson also added two RBIs.
Lost in the offensive explosion was a solid outing in the circle from freshman right-hander Emily Lockman. Lockman improved to 10-2 with a complete-game victory, as she limited Iowa to only one run on five hits, after the Hawkeyes scored six runs in Friday's opener.
The win moved Nebraska to 27-8 on the season and 5-2 in Big Ten Conference play. The victory was also the Huskers' 10th road victory of the season, tying for the fourth-highest total in school history.
Iowa fell to 22-14 overall and 2-6 in league action with the defeat. Chelsea Lyon (8-7) took the loss for Iowa, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in just 1.0 inning of work.
Nebraska jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Stokes began the game with a bunt single before stealing second base. Taylor Edwards then brought Stokes home with an RBI double to the gap in right center. Tyson then scored Edwards with a clutch two-out, RBI single. Tyson then showed off some strong base running, advancing to second and third on wild pitches, before scoring on another two-out RBI single from classmate Hailey Decker. Armstrong then reached on an infield single before sophomore Jordan Bettiol went after the first pitch she saw and beat out a slow grounder to second for an RBI infield single.
The Huskers nearly added more, as Stokes' second at bat of the inning was a hard grounder to the right side where Hawkeye second baseman Brandi Wall made an outstanding diving play to rob Stokes of a hit and at least one RBI.
Iowa came right back in the bottom of the first, plating one run. A leadoff single was followed by a double to bring home the Hawkeyes' first run. A walk then put runners on first and second with one out before senior Gabby Banda snared a hard-hit one hopper, stepped on third base for the first out and threw to first to complete a double play. That allowed Lockman to escape the first without any further damage.
Banda led off the top of the second with a single off the wall in left center, before Taylor Edwards ripped her second double in as many innings to put runners at second and third. Thomason then brought Banda home with an RBI single that gave the Huskers a 5-1 lead. Tyson and sophomore Mattie Fowler followed with back-to-back RBI singles of their own, as Nebraska stretched its lead to 7-1. Nebraska had runners on first and second with no outs, but the Huskers were unable to extend their lead as Micaela Whitney came on in relief and retired the next three hitters.
In the bottom of the second, Lockman kept it a six-run game by getting Megan Blank, the Big Ten RBI leader, to fly out to shallow left field with the bases loaded and two outs.
Nebraska's offense kept scoring, adding another run in the top of the third. Stokes began the inning with a single, advanced to second on a hard ground out from Banda and moved up to third on a passed ball. Stokes then scored to give Nebraska an 8-1 lead on a two-out, RBI single from Thomason.
In the top of the fourth, Fowler began the inning with a walk before rain began to fall, resulting in a one-hour-and-forty-eight-minute rain delay. The delaly did not slow the Huskers. With one out, Armstrong produced an RBI double to give Nebraska a 9-1 lead. Then senior Courtney Breault produced a pinch-hit RBI double that scored Bettiol. Stokes followed with a single and she stole second to put Huskers on second and third. Taylor Edwards then scored Armstrong with an RBI single, stretching the lead to 11-1.
Neither team scored again, as Lockman did not allow a run over the final 4.0 innings, retiring the Hawkeyes in order in the bottom of the fifth.
The Huskers and Hawkeyes wrap up their three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.