NORMAN, Okla. — Taylor Edwards homered and Ashley Hagemann held a powerful Oklahoma offense to one run, as the 14th-ranked Nebraska softball team began Big 12 Conference play with a 4-1 victory against the 12th-ranked Sooners on a chilly Saturday afternoon at the OU Softball Complex.
Taylor Edwards opened the scoring with a solo home run, her 13th homer of the season. Edwards has now tied the Nebraska freshman home run record, set by Ali Viola in 1995. Edwards finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in her Big 12 debut. Her homer came during Nebraska’s three-run third inning, which gave Hagemann all the runs she would need.
Facing a Sooner offense averaging more than six runs per game, Hagemann tossed a five-hitter, allowing only one run. She added eight strikeouts while improving her season record to 19-2.
The win improved Nebraska’s record to 27-3, the best 30-game record in school history. The win was also Nebraska’s fifth consecutive win against a ranked team and third consecutive victory against a top-10 team.
The Huskers out-hit the Sooners, 7-5. In addition to Taylor Edwards’ two hits, senior Heidi Foland was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while freshman Tatum Edwards went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Oklahoma, which lost at home for the first time in nine tries, fell to 26-9 overall with the loss. Keilani Ricketts (14-5) suffered the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits in a complete-game effort. She added 13 strikeouts.
“Honestly, I thought it was a well-executed games on both sides of the ball,” Head coach Rhonda Revelle said following Nebraska’s first win in a conference opener since 2004. “I thought Ashley (Hagemann) stuck to the game plan, and I thought our hitters stayed with their approach in their at bats against a tough pitcher who is going to get her share of strikeouts.”
The game was scoreless until Edwards’ stepped up to the plate with one out in the top of the third inning and blasted a 2-2 pitch over the scoreboard in left for a one-out, solo home run. Sophomore Brooke Thomason followed with a walk and scored on a two-out, RBI double from Foland. Foland then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out, RBI single from Tatum Edwards, giving the Huskers a 3-1 lead.
Oklahoma got a run back in the bottom of the frame, when Katie Norris began the frame with a solo home run to left.
The Huskers answered the run in the top of the fifth but missed a chance to blow the game open. Taylor Edwards walked to begin the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a single from Thomason. Senior Julie Brechtel then hit a grounder to Dani Dobbs at third base, who fielded the ball cleanly but threw wildly to second, allowing Edwards to score. Leading 4-1, the Huskers had runners at first and third with no outs and later had the bases loaded with one out, but were unable to add to the lead.
Hagemann then escaped a jam in the bottom of the fifth. The first two Sooners reached on singles, before a fielder’s choice gave Oklahoma runners at first and third with only one out. But Hagemann worked out of trouble with a pop up and a strikeout.
The Huskers took their 4-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Hagemann retired the first two batters of the inning before a single and an error brought Brittany Williams to the plate representing the tying run.