Walk-off homer powers No. 14 Nebraska past No. 6 Washington
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Taylor Edwards blasted a 2-2 pitch well beyond the left field fence for a walk-off, two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Nebraska to a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against No. 6 Washington.
"Before the at bat, I was just really excited that Kiki [Stokes] got on base," Edwards said. "I was just telling myself 'this is my team.'
"I saw the ball in the air and saw the left fielder go back to the fence and not turn around, and that's when I knew [it was a home run]. I was excited going around the bases. Coming into home plate and celebrating with my teammates, that was just a once-in-a-lifetime moment."
A California native, Edwards' first career walk-off homer lifted Nebraska to its first victory against a top-10 opponent in four tries this season. It came just one day after NU watched sixth-ranked Arizona State celebrate an eighth-inning walk-off victory against the Huskers.
"It feels great," Edwards said of Nebraska's breakthrough victory over a top-10 team. "It's been just punch after punch with top-ranked teams, and it was just great to finally get over that and do it for each other."
Head coach Rhonda Revelle agreed, and she wouldn't have picked another player to have at the plate in that situation.
"I just felt like when Taylor got up, she was in a really good place," Revelle said. "She's been seeing the ball well. She was staying with them pitch for pitch. When she hit the ball, I knew it was out right away, I was just hoping it would stay fair."
The win was especially sweet for Edwards and her teammates, as Washington defeated Nebraska in the opening game of the 2013 Women's College World Series with a walk-off homer of their own.
Edwards' towering, game-winning blast made a winner of sophomore right-hander Emily Lockman, who was superb in the circle for Nebraska (15-7). Lockman (7-4) tossed a five-hitter and allowed just one run, striking out five while working around four walks. She held Washington to a season-low one run.
Although Nebraska was shut out until its final swing of the game, the Huskers had scoring chances early. Nebraska stranded a pair of runners in the bottom of the first, then failed to capitalize on another opportunity in the bottom of the second when the first two Huskers reached safely to start the inning. The Huskers then left two more runners on base in the bottom of the third.
In the top of the fourth inning, Washington had a pair of base runners for the third time in the game. Following a wild pitch, the Huskies had runners at second and third with two outs when Victoria Hayward lined a shot back up the middle. Lockman showed great reflexes to put her glove up and deflect the ball, and sophomore shortstop Alicia Armstrong quickly fielded the deflection and made a strong throw to first to retire Hayward and keep the game scoreless.
After both teams stranded a dozen runners over the first four innings, the game's first run came courtesy of a Kaitlin Inglesby solo home run with one out in the top of the fifth.
Taylor Edwards had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth, when she fouled out with Stokes on second base and two outs. She would not miss in her second opportunity.
After the first two hitters were retired in the bottom of the seventh, Stokes slapped a hard ground ball to third, that was misplayed by the Washington third baseman. Edwards then quickly fell behind in the count 0-2 and took two balls before delivering her game-winning homer.