CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Nebraska opened its softball season Friday with a dramatic 7-4 victory over Northern Iowa.
Down to their final out, the Huskers scored three runs in the seventh inning to tie the game 4-4 and force extra innings before scoring three more runs with two outs in the eighth inning to earn the come-from-behind win at the UNI-Dome.
Trailing 4-1, Kiki Stokes and Laura Barrow reached on back-to-back singles in the top of the seventh. Then with two outs Cassie McClure drew a two-out walk to load the bases.
Kaylan Jablonski then lined a ball to deep left field that appeared to go through the temporary fence, although the sophomore from Omaha Skutt rounded the bases for a temporary go-ahead grand slam. The umpires huddled and ruled the hit a ground-rule double to leave NU trailing 4-3.
An infield single by Austen Urness brought home McClure with the tying run to force the extra inning. Sophomore Taylor Otte began the top of the eighth inning as the pinch runner at second base per the tiebreaker rule.
Nebraska’s first two hitters couldn’t move Otte, keeping her on second with two outs. Barrow then reached on an infield single before third baseman MJ Knighten blasted a three-run home run to center field for what proved to be the winning margin.
The Huskers return to action Saturday with two games — 8 a.m. against Western Illinois immediately followed by a game with defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Drake.
Nebraska (1-0) ........................................... 000 010 33—7 15 1
At Northern Iowa (0-1) ............................. 003 010 00—4 5 1
W: McClure, 1-0. L: Lange, 0-1. 2B: NU, Jablonski. UNI, B. Krodinger. HR: NU, Knighten.