LINCOLN — Brooke Thomason didn't mince words when describing the feeling on the Nebraska softball team after No. 9 Michigan scored four runs in its last at-bat to hand the Huskers a 5-3 loss Saturday.
“We were really upset we lost that game because I think, from the beginning, we felt like we had it,” the senior right fielder said. “It was exactly where we wanted them to be.”
But a day after letting the lead slip away late, No. 16 Nebraska turned the tables on the Big Ten-leading Wolverines. The Huskers scored five in the bottom of the sixth to come back for a 7-4 win on Senior Day at Bowlin Stadium.
The comeback handed Michigan (41-9, 17-2 Big Ten) its first league series loss of the season and marked NU's first conference series win against a top-10 opponent since sweeping a two-game series against No. 5 Oklahoma in 2001 in the Big 12.
“I wasn't really worried how we would bounce back, but I knew it would take some resolve,” Husker coach Rhonda Revelle said. “That was the last thing we talked about yesterday was to protect our bubble and come back fighting tomorrow.”
NU (37-11, 14-5) had to fight its way out of a hole Sunday after the Big Ten's top hitting team scored four runs in the first four innings.
The rally started with Tatum Edwards' two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, cutting Michigan's lead to 4-2. Edwards, who took the loss in the circle Saturday after giving up a pair of runs in the seventh, started in left field in the finale and had two hits while scoring a pair of runs.
“We had to have her bat in the lineup,” Revelle said. “She could change the game in one swing.”
Edwards' single started Nebraska's surge in the sixth. After pinch hitter Kylee Muir singled to center, freshman second baseman Hailey Decker came to the plate. Decker, a .230 hitter, fouled off several pitches on a 2-2 count before blasting a change-up from Haylie Wagner just over the wall in left to put NU in front 5-4. And the Huskers weren't done. They loaded the bases on a single, walk, and a hit batter before Thomason laced a two-run double to left for a 7-4 lead.
Michigan put the leadoff runner on base in the seventh, but any hope of repeating Saturday's comeback ended when the Huskers turned their third double play of the day.
The win keeps Nebraska mathematically alive for the Big Ten regular-season championship. However, to tie for the league crown the Huskers need to sweep a series at 10th-place Penn State next weekend while the Wolverines need to lose all three games at home versus Northwestern.
NU's more realistic target is for second place. The Huskers sit a half-game behind Wisconsin for second with the Badgers having played one more league game than Nebraska because of weather.
The top four teams receive a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament, which will be at Bowlin Stadium May 9 through 12.
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