Nebraska Softball Drops Opener at Rutgers

Photo Credit: Nebraska Athletics Photo Credit: Nebraska Athletics

Rutgers scored the game's final seven runs en route to a 9-3 victory over the Nebraska softball team Friday in Piscataway, N.J.

The Scarlet Knights, who lead the Big Ten in runs scored, put up multiple runs in four of their six turns at bat. Rutgers hit three home runs and had five extra-base hits while also stealing four bases.

It was Nebraska who hit a home run in each of the first two innings to lead 3-2 early. But the Huskers were shut out the rest of the way in a game of missed opportunities offensively.

Nebraska (23-16, 6-3 Big Ten) out-hit Rutgers 9-8 but stranded eight runners. The Huskers were 0-for-2 with the bases loaded, 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-12 with runners on base. Nebraska had its leadoff runner on base in five of its seven innings but only scored in two of those five frames.

Katelyn Caneda went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and two RBIs, while Billie Andrews also homered. Peyton Cody was 2-for-3 with a sacrifice and Samantha Bland was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.

Sarah Harness (4-3) took the loss for the Big Red, allowing six runs (five earned) in 5.0 innings. Emmerson Cope tossed 1.0 inning of relief and allowed three runs.

Mattie Boyd tossed a complete game for Rutgers, which improved to 26-16 on the year and 8-4 in conference play. Boyd (15-6) scattered nine hits and four walks to allow only three runs while striking out five.

Nebraska jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Billie Andrews led off the game with a home run. The Huskers had a chance for more with runners on second and third with two outs, but NU could not push another run across.

In the bottom of the first, a leadoff single and a two-run homer from Big Ten home run leader Morgan Smith gave Rutgers a 2-1 lead.

The Huskers answered back in the top of the second. Caitlynn Neal drew a leadoff walk and scored two batters later on a two-run homer from Caneda.

Nebraska nearly scored for a third straight inning in the top of the third. Sydney Gray singled with one out before Bland doubled. But on the double, Gray was thrown out at home attempting to score.

In the bottom of the third, Rutgers took advantage of the Husker defense to score twice and take a 4-3 lead. A dropped line drive allowed the tying run to score before an errant throw on a double steal scored the go-ahead run. The Scarlet Knights scored twice in the inning despite recording only one hit and one walk, as the error and four stolen bases fueled the inning.

In the top of the fifth, Brooke Andrews led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Cody. Gray and Bland then walked to load the bases with one out. But Nebraska was unable to score as a pop out and a fly out ended the inning.

After the Huskers left the bases loaded, Rutgers hit two home runs in the bottom of the frame to stretch its lead to 6-3.

The Scarlet Knights added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a double, an RBI single and a two-run triple.

In the top of the seventh, Cody led off with a single but was out trying to stretch the hit into a double. The next two Huskers were then retired to end the game.

Nebraska got its leadoff runner on base for the fourth time in the top of the sixth when Bella Bacon singled. 

Nebraska and Rutgers play game two of their three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. (Central).

Post-Game Notes

The Huskers allowed a season-high-tying three home runs in the loss.
Nebraska lost its third straight game at the Rutgers Softball Complex.
NU went 0-for-2 with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. The Huskers are just 11-for-60 with the bases loaded this season.
Billie Andrews led off the game with a home run. The homer was her 15th of the season as she became the first Husker to have three seasons with 15 or more home runs.
The homer was the 58th of Andrews' career, as she moved into a tie for sixth place in Big Ten history.
Katelyn Caneda hit her first home run of the season in the second inning.
Caneda also doubled in the game, marking the first game of her career with multiple extra-base hits.
Kaylin Kinney did not pitch in the game, snapping her streak of appearing in the circle in 11 consecutive games.