Story by NU Athletic Communications
The Nebraska softball team (36-21) advances to the NCAA Regional Final after winning in walk-off fashion over No. 21 Wichita State (44-12). The Huskers won, 9-8, in the ninth inning on Saturday night in Stillwater, Okla.
After tying the game in the bottom of the seventh to force extra-innings, freshman Katelyn Caneda drove in Sydney Gray for the winning run. Every Husker in the lineup recorded a hit as NU tallied 13 hits. Mya Felder led the Big Red offense, finishing 3-for-5 with one home run and two RBI. Abbie Squier and Caitlynn Neal each added a home run.
The Shocker offense was led by Sydney McKinney, who finished 4-for-4 including two doubles and three runs. Lauren Mills added three hits including two solo homers.
Courtney Wallace moved to 25-15 on the season, earning the win in the circle for the Huskers. The fifth-year senior pitched the final 5.0 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs. Sarah Harness started the game, pitching the first 4.0 innings, giving up four hits and four runs while striking out six.
Alex Aguilar (15-4) recorded the loss in the circle for Wichita State. She pitched the final 1.2 innings, giving up five hits and three runs. Lauren Howell pitched the first 6.2 innings, giving up eight hits and six runs.
The Shockers got on the board early with one run in the top of the first. McKinney led off with a double, advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, a wild pitch allowed McKinney to score, giving WSU the early 1-0 lead.
Mills led off the second inning with a home run to center field to extend Wichita State's lead to 2-0.
The Huskers got on the board with one run in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Caneda doubled to right center. Neal followed with a ground out, moving Caneda to third. Billie Andrews added a single, scoring Caneda. Wichita State got out of the inning on a strikeout, holding the 2-1 advantage.
Mills added her second homer of the game with a solo shot to right field in the top of the fourth to extend the Shocker lead to 3-1.
NU cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Felder led off with a single to left field. Squier was walked to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. With one out, Sydney Gray hit an RBI groundout, scoring one. The Huskers went into the fifth inning down, 3-2.
Wichita State led off with a solo home run for the third consecutive inning, this time from Krystin Nelson, extending the Shocker lead to 4-2.
Squier hit a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to put Nebraska within one as Wichita State led 4-3 headed into the seventh inning.
The Shockers added two runs on two hits in the top of the seventh. A walk gave WSU the first baserunner. A bunt single put runners on first and second. Addison Barnard doubled to left field, scoring one. A ground out drove in the second run of the inning as Wichita State led 6-3 headed into the bottom of the seventh.
The Huskers rallied in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game. With one out, Ava Bredwell doubled to left field. Caneda followed, grounding out, but moving Bredwell to third. Neal homered to right field, driving in two runs. Billie Andrews was walked and Wallace singled up the middle to put runners on first and second with two outs. Felder singled to right field, scoring Andrews, and tying the game at 6-6.
In the top of the eighth, the Shockers put runners on first and second with one out after a single and a walk, but NU worked out of the inning with a strikeout and a ground out.
Nebraska loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but with two outs, a groundout stranded the runners as the game went into the ninth inning.
Wichita State took the lead in the top of the ninth with two runs on four hits. McKinney led off with a single, scoring on an RBI double from Lauren Lucas. Zoe Jones followed with a single to left field. Mills added an RBI double down the left field line to give the Shockers the 8-6 lead.
NU rallied once again in the bottom of the ninth. Felder led off with a solo home run to center field. With one out, Brooke Andrews singled to left field. Gray was walked to put runners on first and second. Bredwell drove in the tying run with a double to center field, scoring Andrews. Caneda secured the walk-off victory with a fielder's choice to second base as Gray beat the tag at home. Nebraska won in nine innings, 9-8.
The Huskers return to action for the regional final, Sunday, May 22, at 3 p.m. when they face host No. 9 Oklahoma State.