Softball: Wildcats drop two of three against Cornhuskers

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Softball: Wildcats drop two of three against Cornhuskers

Andrea Filler takes a lead. The junior infielder paced Northwestern with two RBI and a run in the team’s victory Sunday.

Andrea Filler takes a lead. The junior infielder paced Northwestern with two RBI and a run in the team’s victory Sunday.

Lauren Duquette/The Daily Northwestern

Andrea Filler takes a lead. The junior infielder paced Northwestern with two RBI and a run in the team’s victory Sunday.

Lauren Duquette/The Daily Northwestern

Lauren Duquette/The Daily Northwestern

Andrea Filler takes a lead. The junior infielder paced Northwestern with two RBI and a run in the team’s victory Sunday.

Max Gelman, Assistant Sports Editor

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Northwestern snapped its six-game losing streak in wild fashion Sunday, topping the Nebraska Cornhuskers 5-3 in the final game of their series to avoid being swept.

The Wildcats (21-17, 9-5 Big Ten) dropped the first two games of the weekend, but managed to come back from a 3-0 deficit to salvage the finale.

Despite starting ace pitcher Kristen Wood in the opener, the Cats lost game one 10-2 in five innings. Nebraska (25-19, 12-5) got off to a fast start on offense, jumping out in front 3-0 in the second inning mostly thanks to a 2-run double by senior right fielder Kylee Muir.

NU answered right away in the top of the third when senior right fielder Andrea DiPrima launched her ninth home run of the season, driving in Sabrina Rabin. The score remained 3-2 until the bottom of the fifth, when the Cornhuskers notched nine hits without an out, plated seven runs and ended the game early due to the eight-run rule.

Senior Olivia Duehr began game two in the pitcher’s circle for her first career college start with sophomore Nicole Bond hurting. For the most part, Duehr held the Cornhuskers’ bats in check, keeping them off the board for five of the six innings she pitched.

But in the fourth inning, much like in the series opener, Nebraska used a huge inning to put the Cats in the rearview mirror. The Cornhuskers ended up scoring nine runs in the fourth and ultimately won the game 9-5. For NU, Rabin continued her hot hitting by going 4-for-4 with 2 runs scored.

Game three was a much closer affair. Nebraska took an early 3-0 lead after the third inning with the Cats looking to avoid being swept. NU kept the game close, scoring one run in the fourth off an Andrea Filler solo home run and scratching another run across in the fifth to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Cats had an opportunity to score two more in the sixth, but Cornhuskers pitcher Emily Lockman worked out of a jam by getting pinch hitter Alcy Bush to ground into a fielder’s choice.

NU finally capped its rally in the top of the seventh, taking a 5-3 lead thanks to back-to-back doubles by DiPrima and Filler.

Those runs proved timely, as a uncommonly used rule almost ended game three prematurely. Because of travel restrictions, the last game would have ended at 5:50 p.m. no matter what, according to the Big Ten Network broadcast.

Had that rule come into play, the final score would have reverted to the last full inning played, which was the end of the sixth when the Cornhuskers led 3-2. After Nebraska loaded the bases against Wood in the seventh, it looked like that rule might give the Cornhuskers the sweep. But Wood buckled down, getting the next two batters to pop out in the infield, and Filler made a diving catch to end the game in a victory for the Cats.

With the regular season rapidly drawing to a close, losing two out of three to Nebraska hurts NU’s chances of obtaining a bye in the Big Ten Tournament in early May. After starting conference play with an undefeated 8-0 record, the Cats have dropped five of their past six conference games.

Email: maxgelman2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @maxgelman

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