AUSTIN, Texas -- Amber Hall's home run in the fifth inning capped the third-ranked Texas softball team's come-from-behind, 5-4 victory over No. 17 Nebraska on Sunday afternoon at McCombs Field.
The Longhorns twice had to battle back from two-run deficits and Hall's solo shot finally gave UT its first lead of the game as Texas (35-3, 2-0 Big 12) went on to earn its second Big 12 win in front of 1,180 fans. The win was the Horns' seventh in a row and fifth straight against NU (20-6, 0-2 Big 12).
Texas got hits from five different players and five separate Horns came across to score. Kacie Gaskin had two RBI.
Nebraska's Jamie Waldecker went 3-for-3 with two RBI, and KoKo Tacha added a pair of RBI in the loss. The game marked just the third time this season was out-hit, as NU finished with six hits to Texas' five.
Nebraska plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning after Tacha fouled off several pitches on a 1-2 count from UT starter Meagan Denny and drilled a two-RBI double to right center that scored Crystal Carwile and Trisha Tannahill.
Texas responded with a pair of equalizers in the bottom of the inning after Shannon Thomas and Desiree Williams were both hit with first-pitch offerings from Nebraska starter Molly Hill. With two on and no outs, Hall struck out before Megan Willis drew a full-count walk to load the bases. Kacie Gaskin then stepped in and ripped a double to left-center to plate Thomas and Williams and tie the score, 2-2.
The Cornhuskers again went ahead by two runs in the top of the fifth, using Waldecker's two-run double to regain the lead. Lizzy Aumua had a one-out single and Jessica Yoakim reached on an error, giving NU a pair of runners. Waldecker then stepped in and sent the first pitch she saw into the outfield to score both and put the Huskers up 4-2.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Texas pushed across three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead for good and improve to 2-0 in league play. MicKayla Padilla sent a lead-off single into left field and then scored when NU reliever Ashley DeBuhr misplayed a fielding attempt on Tina Boutelle's bunt single. With no one covering first and Boutelle a step away from the base, DeBuhr threw to the empty bag and the ball kicked all the way down the right field line, allowing both runners to come around to score, knotting the game at 4-4. After two outs, Hall stepped in the box and sent an 0-1 pitch out of the park to straight-away center field.
With the Horns up, Cat Osterman entered the game for Denny in the save situation. Denny (14-2) went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while striking out five and walking two. Osterman closed out the game to earn her second save of the season, throwing the final two scoreless innings, allowing one hit with one walk and four strikeouts.
DeBuhr (9-4) suffered the loss in relief, falling 0-5 all-time against Texas in her one-plus year career. She allowed three runs on three hits in 2.2 innings, striking out two and walking two. Hill went 3.1 innings in the no decision, allowing two runs on two hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
The Longhorns return to action on Wednesday, March 29, when they face No. 19 Baylor in a 6:30 p.m. game at McCombs Field.