Nebraska was scratching its way back, hoping to snap a four-game skid.
Mallory Baker had other plans.
The Purdue senior hit two home runs, including a three-run knockout in the sixth inning, to lead the Boilermakers to a 9-4 series-opening softball win Friday in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The loss dropped the Huskers to 13-24 overall and 2-8 in the Big Ten.
After a combined three runs over its previous four games, Nebraska showed life on offense Friday. It got a two-run single from Alyvia Simmons in the second inning, an RBI single from Bri Cassidy in the third and a two-out RBI double from Madi Unzicker in the fourth, which cut Purdue's lead to 6-4.
That's when the Boilermakers (29-15, 6-6) turned to reliever Sydney Bates, who retired 10 of the final 11 batters.
Nebraska stranded eight baserunners, most of them coming in the early innings.
Purdue took a 2-0 first-inning lead on Baker's two-run homer that got a lift from the wind.
After Nebraska took a 3-2 lead in the third, the Boilermakers responded with four runs — all coming with two outs — in the bottom half of the inning. They put the game away in the sixth when Baker connected on a pitch over the middle part of the plate.
Sophomore Olivia Ferrell (3-5) took the loss after giving up six runs, four earned, over the first three innings.
With rain in Sunday's forecast, Purdue and Nebraska have altered the remainder of the series. The teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday.