staff, May 16, 2015

The Nebraska softball team fought to the very end with No. 5 national seed LSU on the Tigers' home field, but the Huskers came up just short in a season-ending 3-2, 10-inning loss on Saturday night.

Both teams plated a single run in the fourth inning and LSU scored twice in the top of the 10th inning. The Huskers answered with one run in the bottom of the 10th inning and had the tying and winning runs on base with one out, but NU could not complete the rally.

Junior right-hander Emily Lockman (18-14) was the hard-luck loser in one of the best outings of her career. Lockman went more than 7.0 innings for the first time in her career, allowing only two earned runs in 10.0 innings.

With the loss, Nebraska ended its season with a 35-23 record. LSU (46-12) will need to defeat No. 23 Arizona State twice on Sunday to advance to the NCAA Super Regional.

Offense was hard to come by all night long. A Husker error helped LSU take a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Bianka Bell reached on an error and then scored on a two-out, RBI single from Sandra Simmons.

Nebraska answered right back to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Junior Kiki Stokes led off with a single before sophomore MJ Knighten laid down a bunt just in front of home plate. LSU catcher Kellsi Kloss waited to see if the ball would roll foul but it stayed fair and not only did Knighten wind up safe at first with a bunt single, but Stokes went all the way to third on the play. With runners at the corners and none out, junior Alicia Armstrong scored Stokes with a sacrifice fly to left. Nebraska had a chance to take the lead with runners at first and second and one out, but the Huskers grounded into an inning-ending double play for the second time in three innings.

LSU threatened again in the top of the fifth. A leadoff walk was followed by a one-out single. Bailey Landry then hit a deep fly ball to left field where sophomore Kat Woolman made a great catch while dealing with the wall and a strong breeze that was pushing the ball away from her. Nebraska then intentionally walked Bell to load the bases before Lockman escaped the jam by coaxing a ground ball back to the circle.

In the sixth inning, LSU was unable to convert a one-out double in the top of the frame, and the Huskers could do nothing with a two-out bunt single from Armstrong in the bottom of the inning.

Neither team got another runner into scoring position until the bottom of the ninth, when Armstrong reached on a two-out infield single and stole second before a strikeout sent the game to the 10th inning.

LSU put a runner into scoring position in the top of the 10th on a one-out walk and a fielder's choice where no out was recorded. Kloss then delivered an RBI single to give the Tigers the lead and Sahvannah Jaquish added a two-out, RBI single to put LSU in front 3-1.

In the bottom of the frame, sophomore Cassie McClure led off with her second single of the game. Freshman Madi Unzicker then delivered a pinch-hit single through the right side. A fielder's choice left runners at first and third with one out before freshman Laura Barrow blooped an RBI single to shallow left field. With the lead cut to 3-2 and runners on first and second, LSU went to the bullpen and called on Carly Hoover. Facing Nebraska's two .400 hitters, Hoover coaxed a pop out from Stokes and a fly out from Knighten to earn her third save of the year.

Allie Walljasper (14-5) earned the win for LSU, allowing two runs on eight hits in 9.1 innings. Nebraska out-hit LSU, 8-7.