Trio of Huskers Earn NFCA All-Region Accolades
Three Nebraska softball players were recognized as all-region players by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association on Thursday. Senior third baseman MJ Knighten was named to the second team, while junior pitcher/utility Kaylan Jablonski and sophomore outfielder Alyvia Simmons were third-team selections.
With her third straight all-region selection, Knighten became the 11th Husker to earn three all-region awards and the first since Ashley DeBuhr (2004-07). While Knighten was recognized for the third straight year, Jablonski and Simmons both earned all-region accolades for the first time in their career. Knighten, Jablonski and Simmons were also named to the All-Big Ten second team last week.
A 2016 first-team All-American, Knighten hit .319 this season with 10 doubles, one triple, six homers and 28 RBIs. She led Nebraska in hits (51), home runs, runs (37), walks (24), on-base percentage (.410) and stolen bases (11), while ranking second on the team in RBIs (28) and slugging percentage (.506). She ended her career as a three-time all-region honoree and a four-time all-conference performer, becoming Nebraska's first four-time All-Big Ten selection.
Jablonski was strong offensively and in the circle for the Huskers. At the plate, Jablonski hit .273 with 13 doubles, five home runs and a team-high 29 RBIs. She set career highs in double, home runs, extra-base hits and RBIs while posting a career-best .485 slugging percentage. In the circle, Jablonski compiled an 11-16 record with a career-high three saves and a 4.31 ERA in 183.2 innings. Jablonski, who posted four victories over ranked opponents in 2017, led Nebraska in appearances (40), starts (27), innings and strikeouts (107) while tying for the team lead with 11 wins and three saves.
Simmons hit .333 during her sophomore season, the highest average of any Husker with at least 100 at bats. She also totaled 16 doubles – the fourth-highest total in program history – with one triple, three home runs and 22 RBIs. Simmons led the Huskers with 20 extra-base hits and a .513 slugging percentage and was second on the team with 50 hits, 35 runs and a .398 on-base percentage.
Jablonski and Simmons return next season for the Big Red, while Knighten ended her career ranked among Nebraska's all-time top-five hitters in batting average, hits, runs, RBIs, home runs, extra-base hits and slugging percentage.