LINCOLN — The Nebraska softball team got another clutch performance from Mattie Fowler on Tuesday, edging the University of Nebraska at Omaha 3-2.
In a chilly wind at Bowlin Stadium, Fowler knocked in the last two runs with a sharp single to center field in the seventh inning, giving the Huskers their eighth straight win.
The heroics were nothing new for Fowler, who drove in the go-ahead run for NU five times during conference play last season.
The Huskers (19-5), who won both their games Friday against New Mexico in their last at-bat, needed all seven innings to get past the Mavericks on Tuesday.
Fowler opened the scoring with a bizarre solo homer in the third inning. The ball was carried by the wind to the warning track in right field, where it tipped upward off the outstretched glove of a back-pedaling Lindsay Redding and cleared the fence.
“If you play hard and put the ball in play, good things will happen,” Fowler said.
Umpires had to check the rules to determine if Fowler's hit was a homer.
“It does change things a little bit,” UNO coach Jeanne Scarpello said of Fowler's homer.
But Scarpello quickly pointed out that her team was rewarded in the sixth inning, scoring two runs without hitting the ball out of the infield.
In an inning reminiscent of putt-putt golf, six straight UNO batters reached base, the biggest blast being a ball that dribbled to right field off the pitcher's glove.
Redding reached on a lead-off error. Campbell Ditto reached on a fielder's choice which forced Redding out at second. Ditto was then forced out at second on an Amber Lutmer grounder to third.
With Lutmer on first, Molly Negrete hit a chopper towards the mound that deflected off of Tatum Edward's glove into shallow right field for a double. Tonya Peterson and Sydney Hames singled in the infield to get Lutmer and Negrete across. Neither hit got halfway to third base, but both led to a 2-1 Maverick lead.
With the same one-run lead going into the final inning, the Mavericks (22-3) were poised for their first win over Nebraska in three tries since their move to Division I. But the Huskers managed to rally in the seventh inning against UNO ace Dana Elsasser, who entered the game with a 13-2 record.
Tatum Edwards picked up the win, and has logged the victory in all three of Nebraska's home games. Edwards had a no-hitter going until the sixth.
The Huskers have now won three straight one-run games in the series, which resumed last season after a 30-year break.
“We are playing with them,” Scarpello said. “We just can't seem to get the timely hits.”
Nebraska coach Rhonda Revelle praised the progress of Scarpello's team, which is still in the process of transitioning to Division I.
“I think they can play with anyone in the country,” Revelle said.
The teams will have another chance at each other on March 26, when the Huskers travel to UNO.
In the meantime, Nebraska hosts North Dakota in a 2 p.m. doubleheader Wednesday. UNO will open Summit League play at 1 p.m. Friday against IPFW.
UNO ........................ 000 002 0—2 4 0
At Nebraska ............ 001 000 2—3 7 1
W: Tat. Edwards, 12-4. L: Elsasser, 13-3. 2B: UNO, Negrete (8). HR: NU, Fowler (1).
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