Let’s be very honest with ourselves. Even though 16 of the Huskers’ 34 wins previous wins prior to Thursday’s game with Penn State had been of the come-from-behind variety, no one’s brunch was sitting easy when Nebraska came to bat in the bottom of the 5th inning. 1st Team All Big Ten ace Bailey Parshall, despite giving up some bullet shots early, was starting to look like she was in cruise control mode.
And the last hard hit ball, a rocket off the left field wall by Mya Felder, was blasted such that she was held to a single.
But then Kayla Kinney started the bottom of the 5th by taking 1st after two of her arm hairs appeared to be clipped by an inside fastball. A pop out bunt was quickly followed by an Ava Bredwell single and Billie Andrews stepped in with runners on 1st and 2nd. Andrews, her bat quiet up until that point, woke sleeping babies with a rocket through the gap in right-center which scored both runners and gave the Huskers their first lead of the day.
With two down, Sydney Gray ripped a shot up the middle and with Coach Rhonda Revelle windmilling her home, Andrews just beat the throw for the 3-1 lead. Courtney Wallace, who went the distance tossing a 3-hitter, cruised through the final two innings to send the Huskers to B1G semi-finals.
All was well that ended well, but after four innings, a nightmare scenario which involved a weak-hitting Nittany Lion offense scraping out an early run or two while Parshall found a way to quiet the potent Husker bats was very much in play. Multiple laser shots by the Huskers in the first two innings found Penn State gloves or the wrong side of the foul lines. In the meantime, a deep fly ball by .221 hitting Liana Jones over a shallow outfield for a double was followed by a bunt pushing her to third. Then came a grounder to short and Jones just beat Andrews’ hard throw home for the 1-0 Penn State lead.
Fortunately, Billie decided she’d been quiet long enough and once she was done beating on the drum set and circling the bases, Nebraska had advanced and those mimosas and quiche had digested nicely for the Husker faithful.
Next game: Friday, 2pm vs. #6 Ohio State
(Defeated #3 Illinois 5-1)