Nebraska softball picked up another fall exhibition win Thursday night, shutting out in-state opponent Nebraska-Kearney 10-0.
The Huskers didn’t light it up offensively to the same extent as their 19-1 win over Creighton on Sunday, but the pitching remained just as strong. Pitchers Kaylin Kinney, Sarah Harness and Kendall Mangel combined to allow one hit and just four total baserunners.
“I thought we had really great energy. It’s fun to play a night game, it’s nice weather, and I thought our defense played really well,” head coach Rhonda Revelle said postgame. “Any time you shut out a team, it’s a good feeling. I thought we had three good pitching outings from our pitchers.”
Kinney — who started the game — and Harness pitched three innings each, while Mangel closed it out.
The only hit for the Lopers came on the first at-bat of the game. After allowing the leadoff single, Kinney retired the next nine batters to finish her outing. She struck out two Lopers in that timeframe.
Nebraska’s offense couldn’t get a runner on base in the first inning, but picked up in the second with the help of a pair of errors. Mya Felder led off the inning with a double, then was replaced by freshman Dakota Carter as a pinch runner.
Kinney reached via error on the following at-bat, sending a ball off the pitcher’s glove. Brooke Andrews then grounded a ball to reach first on a fielder’s choice and advance Carter to third base. Andrews attempted to steal second, prompting an errant throw that allowed Carter to come home for the first score of the game.
That was the only run Nebraska scored in the bottom of the second inning, but the Huskers scored in every inning after as well.
The lead was extended to 3-0 in the third inning when Sydney Gray hit a two-run homer following a single from Courtney Wallace. Nebraska-Kearney put in Faith Gaynor at pitcher to start the fourth, but she surrendered a two-out walk and an RBI double from Caitlynn Neal in the inning. The order came back around to Gray with two outs the next inning, and she hit a single to set up a home run from Felder.
All of Nebraska’s runs through the first five innings, and all but one in the game overall, were scored with two outs.
Meanwhile, Harness shut down the Lopers from the fourth through the sixth inning. She walked a batter in each frame, but collected six strikeouts. Revelle said the transfer from Bowling Green looked more comfortable on the mound.
“She’s starting to get comfortable,” she said. “Against Creighton, she had she had a decent outing, she had a good outing tonight. She even said at the end when she came out, ‘I felt like myself out there,’ so it’s coming.”
The Huskers’ highest scoring inning was the sixth, where Neal hit an RBI double and Wallace later hit a two-RBI triple. Magnus finished off the game for the Huskers defensively, retiring three Lopers in order.
Despite Nebraska having clinched the win, the teams played through the bottom of the seventh inning. After two strikeouts, freshman Talia Tokheim hit a home run to center field. While the stats from the fall aren’t officially counted, and it happened when the game was already decided, it was her first home run in a Nebraska jersey.
“It was great,” Tokheim said. “It was awesome.”
The Huskers have seven freshmen on their roster this year, and several have made plays in the fall so far. All of them have saw the field at some point during tonight’s game. Revelle praised the group’s energy and work ethic, and Tokheim said the team has made her feel included from the start.
The freshmen, along with the rest of the team will try to continue their momentum through the rest of the fall slate, as the team has an intra-squad scrimmage next week and a game against Kansas on Oct. 2. Revelle said she wished the team had made some quicker adjustments on offense with the Lopers playing four different pitchers, but that there’s time to make those adjustments moving forward.
“That’s what the fall is all about,” she said. “Trying to get back in that rhythm and that groove.”