Iowa City, Iowa - The 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team won in its final at bat for the seventh time this season, scoring once in the top of the seventh inning of a 3-2 victory over Iowa on Sunday afternoon at Pearl Field.
The win clinched a series victory over the Hawkeyes, while also wrapping up a 5-2 road trip for the Huskers. Nebraska has now won 11 road games this season - the third-highest total in school history - while winning its first two Big Ten Conference road series of the year. The Huskers improved to 28-8 on the year and 6-2 in league play. Iowa fell to 22-15 with the loss and 2-7 in conference play.
Freshman right-hander Emily Lockman earned the win in the first relief appearance of her career. Lockman (11-2) allowed only one hit while tossing 2.0 scoreless innings. Junior right-hander Tatum Edwards earned the start for the Huskers but did not factor into the decision, allowing two runs on four hits in 5.0-plus innings of work.
Kayla Massey (12-8) took the loss for Iowa, despite firing a three-hitter and allowing only one earned run.
The Huskers missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead in the top of the first inning. With one out, senior Gabby Banda walked, junior Taylor Edwards doubled to right center and senior Brooke Thomason walked to load the bases. But a strikeout and a ground out prevented any runs from scoring.
The Hawkeyes then failed to score after putting runners on first and second with one out, as Nebraska turned an inning-ending double play to hold an opponent scoreless in the first inning for the first time in seven games.
Neither team had a baserunner again until Tatum Edwards walked the first batter of the bottom of the fourth inning. A stolen base and a ground out moved the runner to third with one out before another walk and a hit batter loaded the bases. But Edwards rebounded, getting Sammi Gyerman to hit a ground ball back to the circle, where Edwards started a home-to-first, inning-ending double play.
The Huskers then scored the game's first runs in the top of the fifth. Tatum Edwards began the frame with a walk, before freshman Hailey Decker laid down a bunt to move Edwards to second, and Decker wound up safe at first on an error. Freshman Alicia Armstrong then reached on an infield single to load the bases with no outs. Following the first out, Banda delivered a two-run single down the left field line to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead.
Iowa tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when a hit batter brought Megan Blank to the plate as the tying run, and Blank, the Big Ten's RBI leader, delivered a two-run homer to right field on a 3-0 pitch.
Nebraska regained the lead with Iowa's help in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Banda reached on an error. Following a walk to Taylor Edwards, Thomason hit a hard ground ball down the first base line and Brianna Luna had the ball deflect off her glove and into right field, allowing Banda to score from second with the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the seventh, a one-out walk and infield single put Hawkeyes at first and second with only one out. The Huskers then retired the lead runner on a fielder's choice before a line out to Armstrong ended the game with Blank looming in the on-deck circle.
Armstrong had one of Nebraska's three hits, along with Banda and Taylor Edwards.
The Huskers return home on Wednesday, for a doubleheader with Minnesota beginning at 3 p.m. Both games will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.