Nebraska Claims Series with 7-1 Victory in Finale
March 31, 2013
Urbana, Ill. - After a doubleheader split on Saturday, the Big Ten series was up for grabs, but it was No. 24 Nebraska who would go home with the victory. The Illini pitching staff surrendered a season-high 13 walks as the Huskers defeated Illinois, 7-1. With the win, Nebraska improves to 25-7 (4-1 Big Ten) while the Illini drop to 11-17 (1-5 Big Ten).
Alex Booker and Allie Bauch had the only two hits for the Illini, as Booker reached based twice and scored on Bauch's RBI double in the first. The Huskers' six hits were distributed evenly throughout the lineup, with Brooke Thomason leading the charge, going with a two RBI double and two runs scored.
Tatum Edwards threw the complete game in the circle, bouncing back from Saturday's blown save for a one-run, two-hit gem, walking four and striking out six. Shelese Arnold allowed six runs, three earned, on five hits and seven walks through five innings and a batter. Pepper Gay came in for the second batter of the sixth inning, allowing the leadoff batter and the following to score, being accountable for one run off three walks and a hit. Jackie Guy, making her first appearance since March 15, walked three batters but did not allow a hit or a run in the seventh inning.
The Huskers started the game with a pair of walks, and a wild pitch made it second and third with nobody out. Arnold struck out Taylor Edwards for the first out, but Thomason came up big with a two-run double to left center for a quick 2-0 lead. Dawna Tyson made the second out, and Mattie Fowler grounded to short for what should have been the third out, but the ball went right through Jessica Davis' legs, allowing Thomason to come around an score an unearned run, making it 3-0 before the Illini got to bat.
The Illini came right back in the bottom half of the inning, as Booker drew a leadoff walk to reach safely as the first batter of the game for the 12th time in 23 opportunities this season. Bauch drilled a 3-2 pitch to deep center for an RBI double to quickly get the Illini on the board. Jess Perkins was hit by a pitch, and Brittany Sanchez drew a two-out walk to load the bases, but Jenna Mychko grounded out to short to leave three on. Nonetheless, the Illini did get one, ending the first inning down 3-1.
After three fairly quiet innings, Taylor Edwards got things going again for the Huskers in the top of the fifth with a leadoff single. Thomason tried for a sacrifice bunt, but hit it right back to Arnold. She fielded it well, then bobbled it as she turned to throw, causing her to misfire to second and allow both runners to reach safely. Tyson popped up to Mychko just in front of the plate, then Fowler grounded to short. Davis tried to get the lead runner but wasn't in time, loading the bases. Hailey Decker then took the first pitch to left field for an RBI single. The runners moved up on a wild pitch, scoring a second run, then Armstrong re-loaded the bases on a walk. Muir came in to pinch hit, and Arnold shut her down with a called strike three to end the inning, but not before Nebraska extended its lead to 5-1.
The Huskers added to their lead again in the sixth inning as a leadoff single up the middle by Gabby Banda chased Arnold from the circle. Pepper Gay came in in relief, throwing to Stephanie Cuevas, and walked Taylor Edwards. She got the next two batters out, but Fowler singled to left for an RBI. Tatum Edwards walked to load the bases, and Decker walked to drive in run number seven, making it 7-1, before Armstrong grounded out to end the inning.
Edwards threw a perfect bottom of the sixth, then Jackie Guy came in for the seventh. She walked three batters but kept the Huskers from scoring another run. Mychko drew a one out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but that would be the end of the Illini offense, as Nebraska came away with the series on a 7-1 victory.
The Illini are back in action on Wednesday, April 3, when they host the nearby Sycamores of Indiana State in their first mid-week game of the season. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Eichelberger Field and will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network.