Nebraska vs. Ohio State
Big Ten Softball Tournament Semi-Final
TV: B1G Network
Streaming: Fox Sports App
(RE -UPDATE - STARTER NOW UNDETERMINED (unofficially believe Courtney Wallace going again, will have shortly) )
The 2nd seeded Huskers (38-14, 17-5) opened Big Ten Tournament play in unsurprising fashion by ceding the early lead to Penn State, playing mistake-free ball while making good contact and not panicking until the bats came alive late for their 17th come-from-behind victory of the season.
Waiting for them after a solid 5-1 victory over Illinois are the Ohio State Buckeyes who played mistake-free ball while the Illini were committing three errors and giving up four unearned runs.
The Buckeyes won the season series two weekends ago with wins in the first two games before being mercy ruled in game three 9-1 as the Husker bats exploded behind a comeback pitching performance by Olivia Ferrell who was touched up for 6 in the opener.
Why Nebraska Will Win:
- The Husker bats won’t need 2 games to heat up this time after smoking the ball most of yesterday against 1st Team All Big Ten pitcher Bailey Parshall. The Buckeyes will have to score some runs.
- Whether the starter is Courtney Wallace who wasn’t hit hard at all against the Lions or 2nd team All Big Ten Ferrell who controlled the Buckeyes in their last matchup, the Huskers are in a good spot starting pitching wise.
- This team plays with joy, swagger and they expect to win. While that doesn’t always necessarily put runs on the board, it’s nice to see from Huskers again.
- Despite losing the series to the Buckeyes, the ladies definitely sent a message in their final Sunday game by pounding them to a 5th-inning stoppage.
Why They Might Not:
- For everything written above, the Buckeyes DID take that series from Nebraska and have already taken out a higher seed in this tournament, so they will be anything but intimidated by the Huskers.
- Even with that big Sunday loss two weekends ago, Ohio State is the hotter team now having won 6 of their last 7.
- I don’t have a third reason - Go Big Red :-)
Notes From Game 1 vs. Penn State
- As the players took the field yesterday, “Beautiful Day” by U2 blared over the loudspeakers and it was a perfect choice. Around 80 and sunny with just a bit of a breeze, it was a perfect day for softball as well.
- I noticed Billie Andrews wearing a mask at shortstop and couldn’t help but think about being in my late 20’s playing the position and getting very flinchy as I transitioned to needing glasses. I wonder if that might have made a difference? One won’t ever hear me disparaging an infielder who decides to sport one.
- The Penn State offense was incredibly weak with a .400 hitter, a .300 hitter and no one else over .255 with 2 to 3 of them under .200. All the advanced analytics in the world aren’t going help that lineup.
- Just to give you an idea how hard Nebraska was hitting the ball early? In the second inning, with a Husker on first after a single, that runner being only the second to reach base and Penn State’s aforementioned all-conference pitcher on the mound? Penn State had both mounds in their bullpen going.
- In the 3rd, Lauren Marcotte of Penn State took a fastball square in the thigh for the HBP and didn’t flinch or move a muscle before trotting down to first. I would’ve twisted fruitlessly, made a funny noise and then wiped a tear away while refusing to rub my leg.
- That 3-run Husker 5th ended with runners on 2nd and 3rd. This game really could have been much higher scoring on the Nebraska side. Do not be surprised if they erupt today.
Ohio State Buckeyes