MJ Knighten picked a perfect time for her first career triple, as the freshman scorched a two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth inning to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run lead, as the Huskers rallied for a 3-1 victory over visiting Indiana Friday night at Bowlin Stadium.
Nebraska, which had been 2-11 this season when trailing after five innings, kept its Big Ten title hopes alive as it improved to 38-14 overall and 16-5 in league play. First-place Michigan and third-place Minnesota both lost Friday, while Nebraska clinched a first-round bye for next week's Big Ten Tournament. The Huskers moved to within one game of the league-leading Wolverines, while stretching their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Golden Gophers.
Senior right-hander Tatum Edwards earned the win in relief, retiring all four batters she faced to improve to 20-10 record. Sophomore Emily Lockman was solid in yet another start, although she did not factor into the decision. Lockman allowed one run on six hits in 5.2 innings, as she saw her four-game shutout streak come to an end. Although her scoreless streak was snapped at 30.1 innings, Lockman allowed one earned run or less for the 11th time in her last 12 appearances.
Offensively, Knighten's triple was her lone hit of the game, while she produced her 11th multi-RBI performance of the season. Junior Kylee Muir was 1-for-3 with an RBI double, while sophomore Hailey Decker finished 2-for-2, pushing her average to .444 in conference play.
Indiana had the better scoring chances early. The Hoosiers mounted the game's first scoring threat in the top of the third. A leadoff single, a stolen base, a bloop single and another stolen base put runners at second and third with no outs, before Nebraska recorded the first out at home on a ground ball to sophomore Dawna Tyson at first. A grounder back to Lockman in the circle marked the second out before the inning ended on a ground out to sophomore shortstop Alicia Armstrong.
Neither team had much of a threat again until Brianna Meyer led off the top of the sixth inning with a solo homer. The homer not only gave Indiana a 1-0 lead, it snapped Lockman's scoreless streak at 30.1 innings. Lockman retired the next two hitters before a pair of two-out singles marked the end of her day. Tatum Edwards came on in relief and coaxed a fly out to center.
In the bottom of the frame, Decker began the inning with a single. Tatum Edwards then walked for the second time before Armstrong moved both runners into scoring position with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. That set the stage for Knighten to hit a hard ground ball past the diving shortstop that rolled all the way to the fence for a two-run triple. Muir then stretched the lead to 3-1 with an RBI double.
In the top of the seventh, Edwards made quick work of the Hoosiers, getting a grounder back to the circle followed by a pair of strikeouts.
Lora Olson (8-16) took the loss for Indiana, which fell to 17-36-1 overall and dropped to 5-16 in Big Ten play. Olson allowed three runs on five hits in 5.1 innings.