COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Kansas posted a 3-1 upset against Nebraska Friday to advance to the winner's bracket of the Columbia Regional of the 2014 NCAA Division I Softball Championship at University Field. The Jayhawks (34-21) will play the winner of Friday afternoon's Mizzou-Bradley game on Saturday, while the Cornhuskers (40-16) take on the loser at 6 p.m.
Kansas pitcher Kelsey Kessler scattered one run and five hits over seven innings to improve to 20-14 on the season. Kessler also worked around numerous Nebraska, as the Huskers stranded eight on the day.
The Jayhawks took a quick 3-0 advantage with a two-out rally in the top of the first. With two outs, Kansas' Maddie Stein poked a single through the right side that scored Ashley Newman, who led off the game with an infield single and stole second. Taylor Hatfield then blasted her fourth home run of the season for a 3-0 Jayhawk lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Nebraska looked poised for a big inning but managed just one run on three hits. The Huskers got singles from MJ Knighten and Alicia Armstrong to put runners on first and second with one out. Kiki Stokes singled up the middle to score Knighten and cut Kansas' lead to 3-1. But Kessler forced a strikeout and foulout to end the inning without further damage.
The Huskers had a change to tally more runs in the bottom of the sixth after putting two on with no outs. However, Kessler buckled down to record three straight outs to thwart the attempt.