Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

After Beating Badgers, Huskers Turn Attention to Northwestern

April 25, 2023

In a three-game series where every game was decided by one run, Nebraska edged out Wisconsin to take the series win with a 2-1 victory on Sunday at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln.

Caitlynn Neal drove in both runs on a double in the bottom of the second inning and Courtney Wallace held Wisconsin to five hits and one earned run while striking out five and walking five in a complete-game effort.

Wallace improved to 21-8 with the win.

The series began on Friday night with a 10-inning marathon. Freshman Alina Felix drove in the winning run with a single to left field to give the Huskers a 7-6 victory.

Wallace went the distance for the longest outing of her career. The senior surrendered six earned runs on nine hits, struck out four and walked eight.

Nebraska outhit Wisconsin 12-9 and eight players record a hit. Neal drove in two runs on two hits and Abbie Squier finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Billie Andrews and Katelyn Caneda also contributed with two hits each.

Game two on Saturday didn’t go Nebraska’s way. The Huskers struggled to deliver timely hitting and surrendered a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh to lose 4-3.

Sarah Harness fell to 10-5 despite only giving up three earned runs on nine hits. She also struck out three and walked five.

The loss on Saturday came after first-place Northwestern was trounced 15-0 by Michigan. Instead the Huskers still find themselves three games back of the Wildcats entering this weekend’s crucial matchup in Evanston.

Game times for the Huskers and Wildcats are set for 4 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m.on Sunday.

Nebraska is in control of its own destiny and a series win could set the Huskers up for a potential conference championship and better postseason positioning.

Here is what the Huskers need to do this weekend at Northwestern.

Take advantage of the mismatch

Statistically speaking, Nebraska is the better team.

The Huskers are second in the conference in team batting (.318), the Wildcats are seventh (.279). Nebraska pitching has the seventh-best ERA (2.91), Northwestern is eighth (2.96).

Offensively, Nebraska rank in the conference top-10 in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, runs scored, hits, RBIs, doubles, home runs and at-bats. Defensively, the Huskers rank in the top 10 in opposing batting batting average, inning pitched, batters struck out looking, wins and saves.

Timely hitting

The lack of timely hitting was evident in the series against Wisconsin. The Huskers loaded the bases with no outs and couldn’t score.

Northwestern has veteran pitching in Danielle Williams who has also been named an All-American in her career. While she hasn’t had the same dominance as years before, she is still one of the best lefties in the country. She also has an off-speed pitch that will keep the Huskers off-balance.

The Huskers will have to be more disciplined in the box and hit their pitch. They should not chase or swing at change-ups with less than two strikes.

Limit Shellmyer, Cuchran, Zedak and Rudd

Skyler Shellmyer leads the Northwestern offense with a .342 average, 41 hits and 15 stolen bases. Nikki Cuchran and Jordyn Rudd both have 38 hits, Rudd leads the team with 34 RBIs and Angela Zedak leads the team with nine home runs.

Outside of those four hitters, Hannah Cady has scored a team-high 32 runs but the production is significantly lower.

If Nebraska pitching and defense can keep those four players in check, things may be a little easier for the Huskers.

  • Never miss the latest news from Hail Varsity!

    Join our free email list by signing up below.