Shockers score five runs in sixth inning to defeat Nebraska
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Wichita State’s first two pitches of their game against Nebraska resulted in two quick errors that gave the Cornhuskers an early one-run lead after the first inning.
The Shockers tied a season-high of four errors on Monday, allowing a 7-16 Cornhusker team to take a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
WSU quickly turned the table to score five unanswered runs, all with except one with no outs, to defeat Nebraska 7-5 at Wilkins Stadium.
“They’re going to go down with a fight every single time.” head coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “The resilience and the mental toughness that they displayed by not giving up when it’s 5-1 in the sixth inning really showed that they have the ability to compete with anybody.”
Knighten extended the Cornhuskers’ lead in the top of the third with a base hit up the middle that brought in a runner home. Nebraska advanced two runners into scoring position after senior Kelli Spring caught a pop fly at second, but would leave empty handed on a putout to first by junior Mackenzie Wright.
Back-to-back singles from junior Mackenzie Adams and Wright put the tying run at first in the bottom of the third, but three straight putouts stranded both runners. Hitz quickly made up for emptiness an inning later, leading off with her sixth home run of the season to left centerfield that cut the Shockers’ deficit down to one run.
“I kind of just felt responsible for my error in the first inning, which caused (Nebraska) to score a run,” Hitz said. “So in my at bat, I just said ‘you know what? Make it up right here.’ (I) get a good pitch, hit it hard and luckily it went over the fence.”
Nebraska managed to get the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, thanks to three consecutive hits. A groundout by Nebraska’s Cassie McClure to third base allowed one runner to score that gave back their two-run lead.
A throwing error by Perrigan to first allowed two unearned runs to score and push Nebraska out to a 5-1 lead.
“Fundamentally we’ve got to make those plays,” Bredbenner said. “Those are the things that have to be cleaned up. We talked about that in the pregame, we talked about that after the games this past weekend with Drake because we let them back in the game with four unearned runs.
“I think we have the potential to be a great defensive team. The big question mark for us is whether or not we can play to that potential defensively.”
A groundout by sophomore Laurie Derrico to second base brought in a run from third, cutting the Nebraska lead down to three with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With the bases loaded, senior Ashley Johnson delivered with a two-RBI single up to centerfield to cut Nebraska’s lead to one. Adams followed with her second triple of the season, scoring two runs that gave the Shockers a 6-5 lead with no outs.
“I just want to stay calm. Even with two strikes on me, I try to stay as calm as possible,” Adams said. “I know the girl behind me has my back and the girls on the bases have my back. So I approach it as staying calm and not getting too anxious and do what I can.”
Wright scored Adams from third with a sacrifice fly to cap off WSU’s five-run sixth inning.
Senior Katie Malone managed to get her 14th win of the season, moving her into a tie for sixth in the nation in that category. Malone came in to relief fro starter Jenni Brooks, pitching 2.2 innings and striking out two batters with only one hit.
WSU (16-10, 3-0) plays Illinois State in their next Missouri Valley Conference series at Wilkins Stadium in a three-game series. The Shockers start play with the Redbirds with a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday.