Denton, Texas – No. 21 Nebraska overcame its own mistakes to rally for a 4-3 win against Tennessee Tech on Friday in the first of two games at the Sleep Inn Classic in Dayton, Texas.
Nebraska was unable to catch a pair of foul balls in the top of the first and then lost a routine fly ball to right in the sun that turned into a two-out, RBI single as Tennessee Tech jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later Nebraska quickly retired the first two batters of the top of the third. But Husker pitchers walked the next five batters, forcing in a pair of runs, as Nebraska fell behind 3-0. On the game, NU pitchers walked a season-high eight batters, while hitting one batter.
Nebraska began to turn things around in the bottom of the third. Junior Nikki Haget reached base on a one-out walk and stole second base. Senior Julie Brechtel then brought Haget home with an RBI single up the middle to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Huskers then loaded the bases with only one out in the bottom of the fourth on a walk to senior Heidi Foland and back-to-back singles from sophomores Megan Southworth and Gabby Banda. Claudia Harke then entered the game to pitch for the Golden Eagles and coaxed a pair of ground outs back to herself to preserve the two-run lead.
Nebraska finally took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Edwards led off the inning with her third home run of the season to cut the lead to 3-2. Her sister Tatum then reached on a one-out single and moved to second with two outs on a sacrifice from sophomore Brooke Thomason.
Foland then lined an RBI single down the left field line to tie the game at 3-3. On the play, Tennessee Tech threw behind Foland at first base in an attempt to catch her off the bag. But the throw was wild, rolling all the way to the wall, allowing Foland to come around to score the go-ahead run and give Nebraska a 4-3 lead.
Junior right-hander Ashley Hagemann preserved the lead by working out of a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the sixth before running into problems in the seventh thanks to a leadoff walk. A sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch moved the runner to third with only one out before Hagemann struck out the next two batters to wrap up the win.
Hagemann earned the victory, improving to 5-1 on the season. Hagemann tossed 4.1 innings of shutout relief, allowing only one hit and striking out five. Junior right-hander Haley Workman earned the start but did not factor into the decision, allowing three runs on two hits in 2.2 innings.
Offensively, eight Huskers had a hit and three produced an RBI. Southworth had the lone multi-hit game with a 2-for-3 effort, while Haget drew a pair of walks.
Harke (0-2) took the loss for Tennessee Tech, which fell to 1-3 on the season with its third one-run loss of the year. Harke allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in 2.2 innings of relief.