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Souza's homer lifts Washington past Nebraska, 4-3

Thursday - 5/30/2013, 6:57pm  ET

Washington celebrates after Kimberlee Souza hits a home run to defeat Nebraska 4-3 in eight innings in a Women's College World Series NCAA softball tournament game in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Washington coach Heather Tarr watched Bryana Walker hit two of the first three batters she faced and sail another pitch to the backstop in the first inning against Nebraska.

She took time for a mid-inning speech Thursday, telling the Huskies they were down but not out in their Women's College World Series opener. She was right: Sophomore Kimberlee Souza slammed a walk-off home run in the eighth inning to complete a 4-3 comeback victory.

"The good thing is we bounced back," Tarr said.

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Washington (44-15) tied it when Victoria Hayward lined a ball that slid under Brooke Thomason's glove into right field for a triple. Hooch Fagaly's sacrifice squeeze scored Hayward to send the game to the eighth and set up Souza's heroics.

The home run was Souza's eighth of the season and moved Washington to a winner's bracket game Friday against Tennessee. The Lady Vols beat Florida 9-2. Nebraska (45-15) will play Florida in an elimination game Saturday.

Making its first trip to the WCWS since 2002, Nebraska took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Gabby Banda scored on Brooke Thomason's sacrifice fly after being hit by a pitch.

Walker also hit Taylor Edwards in the first, and Banda went to third on a wild pitch.

Washington answered in the bottom of the inning when Kaitlin Inglesby lined a 2-1 changeup over the wall. Inglesby's team-leading 12th home run of the season also brought Hayward home.

Walker settled down to retire the next six Nebraska hitters before running into trouble in the fourth inning and leaving in place of Inglesby.

Tatum Edwards scored in the fifth for Nebraska to tie it after reaching on a fielder's choice.

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