Illinois vs. Nebraska, 3.30

Nebraska's Tristen Edwards (24) reacts after getting a two-out double against Illinois in the fifth inning Saturday at Bowlin Stadium. Edwards had a solo homer in the first inning.

The Nebraska softball team got back the taste of winning over the weekend at Bowlin Stadium.

The Huskers pieced together solid innings in the circle, and outside of the second game of a three-game set against Illinois, played better defense.

Among the welcoming sights for Rhonda Revelle and the Huskers coaches was the production at the plate.

Nebraska hit .341 in three games against the Illini and averaged 5.3 runs and 9.7 hits in those contests. Those are much higher marks than the season averages of .259, 4.7 runs and 6.7 hits per game.

The Huskers had 23 hits, including five homers, in Sunday's doubleheader.

"This is more of the offense that we thought we would have," Revelle said after the Huskers took two of three from Illinois.

Nebraska ranked 18th nationally in scoring offense about three weeks into the season. But a cold front followed, and so did a 12-game losing streak, which included six shutouts.

Part of that is simply the nature of cold streaks-hot streaks in softball and baseball.

Another part of it is an inexperienced Husker lineup learning to adjust to adjustments being made against them.

"With so many first-year starters in the lineup, it takes about a month to get the scouting reports out and the charts out, so most of those players have never had a scouting report against them," Revelle said. "Now, if pitchers can execute a game plan, they're going, 'Why am I not hitting?' Well everyone's got hot spots and everybody's got cooler spots, so they're having to work to change the scouting report a little bit.

"That's been a real adjustment and real mental adjustment for them, as well."

Nebraska (12-19, 2-4 Big Ten) will aim to continue the offensive production this week. Ahead of it is four more home games, including Tuesday's 5 p.m. contest against South Dakota State (24-7).

The Jackrabbits are led by pitcher Kendra Conard, who is 8-0 with a 1.51 earned-run average. She has pitched four complete games.

Tuesday's contest will serve as the Huskers' annual "Pink Game." Fans are encouraged to wear pink for cancer awareness.

The game will be a homecoming of sorts for six Nebraska natives on the SDSU roster — Lyndsey Crist (Lincoln East), Caelyn Christiancy (Lincoln Southwest), Mallory McQuistan (Fremont), Paige Gerdes (Millard South), Olivia Douglas (Hastings) and Julia Anderson (Papillion-La Vista).

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.


Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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