Huskers Claim Big Ten Tournament Title After 3-1 Victory
The Nebraska softball team (40-14) claimed the Big Ten Tournament title after beating No. 23 Michigan (36-16) 3-1 in eight innings on Saturday afternoon. This marked the Huskers first Big Ten Tournament title since joining the conference and first conference tournament title since 2004.
Courtney Wallace (17-6) picked up the win after coming in for relief in the middle of the seventh inning. Wallace held the Wolverines to no hits and no runs through 2.0 innings. Alex Storako (23-8) pitched 7.2 innings, earning the loss after giving up four hits and three runs.
Cam Ybarra, who was named the Most Oustanding Player of the tournament, led the Huskers on offense with two hits and two RBIs while Sydney Gray added another RBI.
The Huskers get on the board early with one run in the first inning. Ybarra hit a solo homer down the right field line to put NU up 1-0 early.
The Wolverines looked to respond in the bottom of the first. After a lead-off double down the right field line and a sacrifice bunt put a runner on third, Ferrell and the Huskers were able to hold Michigan scoreless.
Nebraska reached scoring position in the top of the second. Abbie Squier led off with a single to center field. With one out, Kaylin Kinney was walked to put runners on first and second. A fly out from Ava Bredwell advanced Kinney to third, but the Huskers were unable to capitalize and the score remained 1-0 going into the bottom of the second.
The Wolverines tied it up with one run in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, a batter was hit by a pitch to put a runner on first. The runner stole second to reach scoring position. With two outs, a runner was walked to put runners on first and third. A double to left center from Audrey LeClair scored one to make it 1-1 headed into the sixth inning.
The Huskers reached scoring position in the top of the sixth. Billie Andrews reached on an error and then stole second. Ybarra lined out followed by a fly out from Gray, but Andrews advanced to third. But, with two outs, NU was unable to capitalize and went into the bottom of the inning, tied 1-1.
Nebraska worked out of runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh. After a hit by pitch and a walk, Courtney Wallace entered the game. UM grounded into a double play and a pop up sent the game into extra innings.
The Big Red took the lead in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs, Billie Andrews was walked. Ybarra followed with a double to right center, scoring Andrews. Gray added a single to left field, and a bobbled fielding play scored Ybarra. Lauren Derkowski came in to relieve Storako. The Huskers went into the bottom of the eighth inning ahead, 3-1.
Michigan looked to respond, but three straight outs secured the Big Ten title for Nebraska in a 3-1 victory in eight innings.
Mya Felder, Courtney Wallace, Olivia Ferrell and Cam Ybarra were all named to the 2022 Big Ten Softball All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the game for their performances throughout the tournament.
The Huskers secured the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Softball Championship Selection Show is set for Sunday, May 15, at 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2.