PISCATAWAY, NJ–(NU Athletics Apr. 4)–A two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning lifted Rutgers to a 2-1 victory over the Nebraska softball team Sunday morning in Piscataway, N.J.
Freshman Billie Andrews provided the lone offense for the Huskers, giving Nebraska a short-lived 1-0 lead with a leadoff home run in the top of the sixth inning. But Rutgers (5-15) responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to salvage a split in the four-game series with the Huskers (11-9).
Senior right-hander Olivia Ferrell (6-6) took a tough loss, firing a five-hitter and allowing only two runs. Ashley Hitchcock (3-6) earned the complete-game win for Rutgers with a two-hitter.
In addition to Billie Andrews’ home run, junior Peyton Glatter had Nebraska’s other hit with a one-out single in the fourth inning. Senior Tristen Edwards walked three times to cap a perfect series that saw her go 1-for-1 with a home run, nine walks and five hit-by-pitches, reaching base safely all 15 times she came to the plate on the weekend.
There was little offense to be found for the first five innings. Nebraska left five runners on base through the first five frames, including a runner at second in the first inning and runners at first and second in both the third and fourth innings. Rutgers had only two base runners through the first five innings, stranding a runner at second in the first inning and a runner at first in the third inning.
That all changed in the sixth. Billie Andrews’ home run marked the first run of the game. Rutgers then produced three hits in the bottom of the inning – including the game-winning two-run homer from Gabrielle Callaway.
Down by one, Nebraska got its leadoff runner on base in the top of the seventh when freshman Abbie Squier was hit by a pitch. Ferrell then popped up a bunt and a diving attempt at a catch was dropped, but Rutgers recovered to get the force out at second base. Freshman Kaylin Kinney then hit a ball deep to the gap in right center, where center fielder Hailey Hoklotubbe made a terrific diving catch on the warning track. Freshman pinch runner Camyl Armendariz tagged up and advanced to second on the play, but on appeal she was ruled to have left first base early to end the game.
The Huskers return home next weekend to host Illinois in a four-game series at Bowlin Stadium.