Rally falls short as Nebraska softball season ends after first-round loss in Big Ten tournament

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday by third baseman Samantha Owen wasn’t enough for the Nebraska softball team to complete a rally against Illinois at the Big Ten softball tournament.

Owen’s fifth home run of the season cut the Illini lead to two runs, but the Huskers stranded two ensuing base runners to end their season with a 6-4 loss at Indiana’s Andy Mohr Field.

Illinois scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning off Nebraska relief pitcher Lindsey Walljasper to extend its lead to 6-2.

Following Owen’s home run down the left field line, Madi Unzicker and Peyton Glatter had back-to-back singles with one out, bringing the potential winning run to the plate. But foul outs by Rylie Unzicker and Courtney Wallace cut short Nebraska’s rally.

Wallace took the loss as she allowed two earned runs and seven hits in the first five innings.

Nebraska has lost three consecutive games in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. This season was NU’s second sub-.500 campaign in three years.

The 21-31 Huskers will miss the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season. Nebraska has posted a 76-83 record (.478 winning percentage) during that stretch.

Illinois (32-22)…………000 120 3—6 12 1

Nebraska (21-31)………001 100 2—4 9 1

W: Sydney Sickels, 18-13. L: Courtney Wallace, 4-7. 2B: I, Carly Thomas, Veronica Ruelius; N, Samantha Owen, Petyon Glatter. 3B: I, Kiana Sherlund. HR: I, Annie Fleming; N, Owen.