Five two-out runs powered Ohio State to a 7-5, eight-inning upset over the 18th-ranked Nebraska softball team on Friday in quarterfinal action at the Big Ten Tournament.
With the loss, the Huskers were eliminated from the tournament and dropped to 40-15 on the season. Nebraska will learn its NCAA Tournament destination at 9 p.m. on Sunday, when the tournament field is announced live on ESPNU.
Nebraska jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Taylor Edwards and sophomore Hailey Decker began the frame with back-to-back singles before Taylor Edwards moved to third on a deep foul out off the bat of her twin sister Tatum. Freshman MJ Knighten then lined an RBI double off the fence in left to score Taylor Edwards with the game's first run. A throwing error on the play also allowed Decker to score and give Nebraska a 2-0 lead.
Ohio State cut the lead in half when Caitlin Conrad hit a one-out, solo home run in the top of the third inning. Back-to-back walks and a ground out put Buckeyes on second and third with two outs before Leesa Gresham hit a three-run homer that gave OSU a 4-2 advantage.
Tatum Edwards cut the lead to 4-3 when she lined a 2-0 pitch over the center field fence for a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. Knighten then drew a walk, stole second and scored on an RBI double from junior Kylee Muir to tie the game at 4-4.
After escaping jams in the fourth and fifth innings, a Husker error allowed Ohio State to take a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the frame, Muir worked a leadoff walk before a sacrifice bunt attempt failed. Sophomore Alicia Armstrong then lined an RBI single down the left field line to put Huskers on first and second with one out. A controversial strikeout on a 3-2 pitch that appeared to be out of the strike zone marked the second out, before a ground out ended the threat.
After Ohio State was retired in order in the top of the seventh, Taylor Edwards walked to begin the bottom of the seventh. Decker then hit a hard grounder up the middle that took the pitcher's glove off, but Olivia O'Reilly recovered and threw Decker out at first. Taylor Edwards moved to second on the play and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. She came on an RBI fielder's choice from Tatum Edwards, when Ohio State tried to get Taylor out at home but threw late.
In the top of the eighth, Tatum Edwards quickly retired the first two batters before Nebraska ran into more two-out trouble. A two-out single and walk put a pair of runners on base, before Cammi Prantl delivered a two-run double to center field.
Trailing 7-5, the Huskers got their leadoff runner on base in the bottom of the eighth when Armstrong singled. But the Huskers were unable to rally, as Ohio State held on for the upset.
Armstrong was 2-for-4 in the game, as was Tatum Edwards, who finished with a home run and two RBIs. Knighten and Muir each produced RBI doubles.
Tatum Edwards (22-11) took the loss in the circle, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in 5.1 innings of relief. Sophomore right-hander Emily Lockman earned the start and allowed four runs in 2.2 innings.