DENTON, Texas — No. 21 Nebraska matched the best 10-game start in school history, defeating Northwestern State 7-0 on Saturday afternoon to open the 2011 season with nine wins in its first 10 games.
Nebraska has opened a season with a 9-1 record for the fourth time in school history. The Huskers also claimed at least a share of the Sleep Inn Classic title, winning each of their first four games as part of a larger seven-game winning streak.
Junior right-hander Ashley Hagemann posted Nebraska’s first shutout of the season, while improving to 7-1 on the year. Hagemann fired a two-hitter and worked around six walks with the help of 10 strikeouts.
Offensively, Nebraska posted a season-high hit total for the second time on Saturday, out-hitting Northwestern State 14-2. Three Huskers had three-hit games, including senior Heidi Foland, junior Ashley Guile and sophomore Brooke Thomason. Thomason also added two RBIs as did freshman twins Tatum and Taylor Edwards. Taylor Edwards also homered for the fifth consecutive game, while drawing a pair of walks.
Kelee Grimes (0-3) took the loss for the Demons (5-3). Grimes allowed two runs on three hits in 2.0 innings.
Nebraska jumped out to an early lead in the first inning thanks to another home run from Taylor Edwards. Junior Nikki Haget led off the game with a walk and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt from senior Julie Brechtel. Edwards then launched a two-strike, two-run homer to right field for a 2-0 Husker lead.
In the bottom of the third, Hagemann gave up a leadoff double followed by a walk. She retired the next two batters before a second walk loaded the bases. Hagemann then escaped the jam with a strikeout.
Hagemann cruised from there, retiring 12 of the final 14 batters she faced. She did not allow a hit after the second inning, surrendering only a pair of walks.
Nebraska tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Taylor Edwards walked on four pitches to lead off the inning before Guile doubled off the wall in right field. Freshman Tatum Edwards then reached on an error that allowed freshman pinch-runner Morgan McCann to score from third base and give Nebraska a 3-0 lead.
Thomason followed with an RBI single to score junior pinch-runner Saige Wright. Foland then singled through the left side to force a pitching change. Leading 4-0 with the bases loaded and no outs, Kaitlin Holloway entered the game for Northwestern State and kept her team in the game by retiring the next three batters without allowing an additional run to score.
Nebraska continued to add to its lead in the seventh. Brechtel began the inning with a single and the Huskers had runners at second and third with one out following a single and a stolen base from Guile. Tatum Edwards then cleared the bases with a two-run double that gave NU a 6-0 lead.
Thomason produced her third hit of the game with an RBI single that scored Edwards, before Foland followed with her third hit in as many at bats to put runners at first and second with one out, but Nebraska had to settle for the 7-0 lead.