Nebraska knocks off Missouri twice behind Hailey Decker's four home runs
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Nebraska capped an incredible run to the NCAA Columbia Regional title by beating 15th-seeded Missouri for a second consecutive game on Sunday afternoon 8-1.
The Huskers captured a regional championship for the second consecutive season and for the eighth time in school history. Nebraska defeated Missouri by a combined score of 19-5 on Sunday, winning a road regional for only the second time in school history and for the first time since 2002. After losing to Kansas in Friday's opener, Nebraska won four consecutive games in less than 23 hours, outscoring its opponents 30-6 during the four-game run to the title.
"We didn't focus on four games, we focused on one game at a day because we didn't want to go home," head coach Rhonda Revelle said. "I think what really helped us is that we weren't even thinking about how many games it was - it really was one game at a time.
"I think this was the most complete softball we've played this year. It started with the decision that we are going to fight after Friday's [loss to Kansas]."
After winning 11-4 in Game 1 to force the if-necessary game, the Huskers jumped out to a quick lead in Game 2. Sophomore Alicia Armstrong drew a four-pitch walk to begin the game before classmate Hailey Decker launched a two-run homer to center. The home run was one of four two-run homers for Decker on Sunday.
Decker's homer was Nebraska's only hit until the fourth inning, when senior Taylor Edwards walked and junior Kylee Muir reached on a two-out error to extend the frame. Sophomore Kiki Stokes then produced the Huskers' second hit, a three-run homer to right field that stretched Nebraska's lead to 5-0.
Missouri cracked the scoreboard with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the fifth, but the Tigers missed a chance to get even closer when Muir made a terrific reaching catch in right field to rob Missouri of a probable two-run double.
The Huskers then added three more insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Dawna Tyson led off with a single and with two outs, Decker blasted another two-run homer, this one to right field. Tatum Edwards then walked before her twin sister Taylor gave the Huskers an 8-1 lead with an RBI double.
Decker then turned a double play in the bottom of the seventh before Edwards coaxed a game-ending pop out to Armstrong.
Decker was phenomenal on Sunday for the Huskers, finishing the day 5-for-8 with four homers and eight RBI. In Game 2, Decker was 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run homers and four RBI.
"I think that we set the tone in the first inning with Alicia drawing a four-pitch walk and Hailey hitting another home run," Revelle said. "That really swung momentum our way. I thought Emily Lockman gave us five very tough innings and Tatum came in and got a rush of adrenaline to close out the game."
Lockman (20-4) earned the victory, allowing only one run on six hits in 5.0 innings. Tatum Edwards pitched the final two innings, and she did not allow a run while surrendering just one hit.
With the win, Nebraska improved to 44-16 on the season, while posting their school-record 18th road win of the year. The Huskers advanced to the NCAA Tuscaloosa Super Regional, where they will face No. 2 Alabama. The dates and times for the super regional will be announced later Sunday.