Ava BredwellAva Bredwell

13-Run Inning Powers Huskers Past Griz

Behind a 13-run fourth inning, the Nebraska softball team rallied for a 15-4 five-inning victory over Montana in the first of two games Saturday at the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M.

The scoring outburst helped Nebraska overcome a shaky defensive start, as the Huskers trailed 4-1 after allowing four unearned runs in the first inning. Nebraska sent 17 batters to the plate in the fourth inning, producing 10 hits, including six doubles and home run. The Huskers also benefitted from three walks and one error in the inning.

Behind the big inning, Nebraska (4-3) set season highs for hits (16) and runs (15). The Huskers also had eight extra-base hits, another season high. All 10 Huskers who had an at bat produced a hit, with nine players scoring a run and eight producing an RBI.

Samantha Bland, Brooke Andrews, Ava Bredwell, Bella Bacon, Alina Felix and Ashley Smetter all had two hits apiece. Bland added a career-high two doubles, while Bredwell had a double and a home run as both players drove in two runs. Sydney Gray and Caitlynn Neal each had three RBIs to lead the Huskers.

In the circle, Nebraska’s three pitchers did not allow an earned run. Sarah Harness made the start and was charged with four unearned runs in 2.2 innings. Emmerson Cope (1-0) relieved Harness and earned the first win of her career by tossing 1.1 innings of two-hit, shutout relief. Caitlin Olensky then pitched a perfect fifth inning to wrap up the victory.

Grace Haegele (2-2) took the loss for Montana, which fell to 3-5 on the season. Haegele gave up five runs (four earned) in 3.0-plus innings.

Nebraska took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Andrews reached on a one-out single and was at second base with two outs following a stolen base. Bacon then brought Andrews home with a two-out RBI single to right field.

The Husker defense faltered in the bottom of the frame as Montana took a 4-1 lead, scoring four unearned runs. The first two batters reached on throwing errors before Nebraska missed a chance at an out on a soft infield single. Riley Stockton then hit a hard ground ball that deflected off a Husker glove for a two-run single. Following a wild pitch and a ground out, Jessica Stanfield delivered an RBI single to right with the first ball hit to the outfield in the inning. Grace Hardy capped the inning with an RBI single to left that made it a 4-1 game.

Nebraska still trailed by three until erupting for its 13-run fourth inning. The Huskers loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of walks and an error. Felix then drove in the first run with a bases-loaded walk that marked the end of the day for Haegele. Peyton Cody came on to pinch hit and greeted new pitcher Emmalyn Brinka with a two-run double that tied the game at 4-4. Neal gave Nebraska the lead with a sacrifice fly that scored Cope. Bland followed with an RBI double that scored Ashley Smetter before an RBI bunt single from Andrews put Nebraska on top 7-4. Bredwell brought Andrews home with an RBI double, Nebraska’s fifth consecutive hit.

Leading 8-4, Montana finally recorded the second out of the inning but Nebraska was not done. After Cope singled, Gray hit a three-run homer to make it 11-4. Felix followed with a single and Smetter doubled to put Huskers on second and third. Neal then had a two-run double to make it 13-4 before Bland capped the 13-run inning with an RBI double that scored Neal.

Nebraska added to its lead in the fifth when Bredwell led off with her first home run of the season. Leading 15-4, the Huskers loaded the bases with only one out but could not produce another run. But it did not matter after Olensky made quick work of the Griz in the bottom of the fifth.

Nebraska takes on Sacramento State in its second game on Saturday.

Post-Game Notes

  • Nebraska scored 15 runs in the game, marking its first time scoring 15 or more runs since Feb. 25, 2023 against New Mexico (15).
  • NU also set season highs with 16 hits and eight extra-base hits.
  • All 10 Huskers who had an at bat produced a hit, while nine players scored a run and eight had an RBI.
  • Six Huskers produced multiple hits in the game, while five had multiple RBIs.
  • The Huskers scored 13 runs on 10 hits in the fourth inning. Through the first six games of the season, Nebraska’s season highs for a game were seven runs and eight hits.
  • Alina Felix had two hits for the second straight game, the first two multi-hit games of her career.
  • Bella Bacon produced a multi-hit game for the second straight game, a first in her career.
  • Ashley Smetter, who made her first career start at second base (second career start overall) went 2-for-3 to produce her first career multi-hit game.
  • Samantha Bland set career highs with two doubles and two RBIs.
  • Emmerson Cope and Ashley Smetter each set a career high with two runs scored.
  • Nebraska's freshmen pitchers Emmerson Cope and Caitlin Olensky combined for 2.1 scoreless innings against Montana. The two have thrown 7.1 scoreless innings through Nebraska's first three games in New Mexico.