Cathedral City, Calif.. – The Nebraska softball team (8-5) fell to second-ranked and undefeated UCLA (12-0) on Saturday afternoon by a score of 9-1 in six innings in its final game of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
UCLA’s Holly Azevedo pitched a complete six-inning game and improved to 4-0 on the season. She allowed one run off three hits and had five strikeouts.
Regan Mergele started in the circle for the Huskers and dropped to 1-2 on the year. She pitched 2.0 innings and gave up six runs on six hits. Courtney Wallace pitched 3.1 innings. She gave up three runs on seven hits and had one strikeout.
The Huskers scored one run off a solo homer from freshman Courtney Wallace. Rylie Unzicker and Samantha Owen each had one hit on the day.
In the first inning, Rylie Unzicker reached second base on a pair of errors. She moved to third on a groundout, but was stranded there as the Bruins got out of the inning without allowing a run. In the bottom of the inning, the reigning National Player of the Year Rachel Garcia hit a two-run homer to put UCLA up 2-0.
Back-to-back doubles in the second by the Bruins scored another run. The Bruins scored three more runs that inning on two hits and a pair of Husker errors, taking a 6-0 lead.
In the top of the third, Wallace put the Huskers on the board with a solo homer. It was the first of her Husker career.
In the bottom of the inning, the Bruins scored two more runs on three hits to take an 8-1 lead.
Owen hit a leadoff double in the fourth and Anni Raley pinch ran for her. Raley moved to third on a groundout and Madi Unzicker was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with two outs. Madi Unzicker stole second to get into scoring position, but a flyout ended the inning.
In the fifth, Lexey Kneib drew a leadoff walk and Carson Fischer pinch ran for her. Wallace reached on a fielder’s choice but Fischer was out on the play. Rylie Unzicker doubled to put both runners in scoring position, but UCLA retired the next two batters to take it to the bottom of the fifth. There, the Bruins went down in order for the first time in the game.
UCLA got three hits in the sixth to take a 9-1 lead and the game ended due to the mercy rule.
Nebraska heads to Fort Collins, Colo., for the Colorado State Classic Feb. 28 to March 3. The Huskers will play Idaho State, Stony Brook, Colorado State and Santa Clara twice, for a total of five games.