Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Softball Wins First Big Ten Tournament Title

May 14, 2022

For the first time ever, the Nebraska softball team is the Big Ten champion. The Huskers—who entered the Big Ten tournament as the second seed—defeated Michigan, 3-1, in East Lansing, Michigan, to claim the tournament title on Saturday afternoon.

Nebraska (40-14) started the matchup against Michigan (36-16) with a home run from Cam Ybarra, but that wasn’t the end of things for the senior. Ybarra came up big for the Huskers on Saturday—much like she has all season—hitting the game-winning double in extra innings that brought Billie Andrews home from first base. Sydney Gray added an insurance run in the eighth inning too, singling to the left field and bringing Ybarra home.

Ybarra—whose home run in the first inning gave Nebraska a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth—was named the Big Ten Softball Tournament Most Outstanding Player for her performance. Four Huskers were names to the all-tournament team: Ybarra, Mya Felder, Courtney Wallace and Olivia Ferrell.

Michigan did give Nebraska a run for its money in the fifth inning when Wolverine rightfielder Audrey LeClair doubled, bringing Annabelle Widra home. Nebraska pitcher Olivia Ferrell helped limit further damage, stranding three Michigan runners on base.

Wallace came in on relief for Ferrell in the seventh inning, helping lead Nebraska into extra innings after a ground ball turned into a double play after a video review. Ybarra was able to tag out a Michigan runner on the way to second while also forcing an out on first. A pop-up from the Wolverines ended the seventh, taking the two teams to the eighth tied 1-1.

Michigan got two quick outs to start the eighth inning before walking Andrews. Ybarra’s double soon followed, and the rest quickly became history.

The Huskers were nearly guaranteed a trip to the NCAA Tournament prior to the Big Ten Tournament, but Saturday made it official. Nebraska is now guaranteed a berth as Big Ten champions and will find out its seeding on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT. The NCAA is set to announce the 64-team bracket on ESPN2.

While this was Nebraska’s first Big Ten title, it is not the Huskers’ first conference title. Nebraska now celebrates 20 conference championships in program history, last winning a Big 12 title in 2004.

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