Due to unplayable field conditions in Omaha, the 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team will host UNO for the second straight week on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Bowlin Stadium in the final meeting of the year between the Huskers and Mavericks.
With the last-minute date and venue change, and as a thank you to fans of both Nebraska and UNO who have had to deal with multiple cancellations and postponements this spring, attendance for Wednesday’s game will be free. Husker season-ticket holders will have their normal seat(s) reserved, while all other non-team seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. A free video stream will be available on Huskers.com for fans unable to make it out to Bowlin Stadium.
Wednesday’s game will wrap up the two-game season series between Nebraska’s two public Division I universities. UNO is in its second year of transition from the Division II to the Division I level. The Mavericks have played a full Division I schedule this year, posting an impressive 22-3 record. UNO has won 14 of its last 16 games, with losses to No. 16 Washington and No. 20 Nebraska. The Mavs had both their original and rescheduled home game with Nebraska canceled, as UNO has seen its first seven scheduled home games canceled.
Nebraska and UNO met last Tuesday in Lincoln, with the Huskers rallying for a 3-2 victory. NU led 1-0 on a solo home run from sophomore Mattie Fowler, before the Mavericks scored twice in the sixth inning to take a 2-1 lead. The Huskers still trailed by one with runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Down to its final out, Nebraska escaped with a victory when Fowler came through again, delivering a two-run, walk-off single. The Huskers and Mavs have met three times since UNO began reclassifying to Division I last year, and all three games have been decided by a single run, including 2-1 and 1-0 (8 innings) Nebraska victories last season.
Nebraska brings a 22-6 record into Wednesday’s contest. The Huskers have won 11 of their last 12 games, including an upset at No. 1 Oklahoma to begin the recent stretch of success. NU faced three Summit League opponents last week, defeating UNO and splitting a doubleheader with North Dakota State. The Huskers then swept a weather-shortened two-game series from Northwestern in their Big Ten Conference opener. Due to inclement weather, Nebraska and Northwestern were only able to play a doubleheader last Friday, with the Huskers rallying from a four-run deficit to win 5-4 in eight innings in the opener, before exploding for 14 runs in a 14-2, run-rule victory in game two.
Scouting the UNO Mavericks (22-3)
UNO brings a 22-3 record into Wednesday’s game with Nebraska. The Mavericks, who have had two straight Summit League series canceled due to weather, have not played since last Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at Nebraska, which marked their only game since March 10. UNO has won 14 of its last 16 games, with its only losses during that stretch coming to 16th-ranked Washington and No. 20 Nebraska. UNO is 1-2 against Big Ten Conference opponents this season, defeating Indiana and losing one-run games to Iowa and Nebraska.
Offensively, UNO is batting .313 as a team while averaging 6.2 runs per game. The Mavericks have not been shut out this season and have slugged 32 doubles, 12 triples and 28 home runs. Molly Negrete, one of seven Mavericks hitting above .300, leads the team with a .400 average and eight doubles. She has also produced 21 RBIs, one of three Mavs with more than 20 RBIs. Creighton transfer Allie Mathewson is batting .388 with five doubles, five triples, nine homers, 27 RBIs and eight stolen bases. Campbell Ditto is hitting .341 with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs and 15 RBIs, while Amber Lutmer leads UNO with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and 20 walks to complement a .323 batting average. Tara Trede (.357), Sydney Hames (.333) and Lindsay Redding (.303) round out the group of seven Mavs hitting better than .300 this season.
In the circle, UNO has primarily relied on junior ace Dana Elsasser, who has allowed only three earned runs in 20.2 career innings against Nebraska. Elsasser has appeared in 18 of UNO’s 25 games this spring, including 16 starts and 13 complete games. She has thrown seven shutouts and added two saves, while posting a 13-3 record with a 1.62 ERA in 103.2 innings. Elsasser boasts a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 4-to-1, striking out 74 while walking only 18. Ashton Hughes has seen the most action behind Elsasser, posting a 5-0 record with a 1.79 ERA in six appearances, four starts and 27.1 innings. Kat Barrow has also helped back up Elsasser, compiling a 4-0 record with a 1.66 ERA in four appearances, four starts and 25.1 innings. Kayla Wyatt (0-0, 1.68 ERA in 8.1 IP) rounds out a Maverick staff that has allowed only four home runs this season, including one against Nebraska. UNO also plays solid defense behind its pitching staff, boasting a .971 fielding percentage.
Husker History vs. UNO
Nebraska leads the all-time series with UNO, 14-10. The teams met for the first time since 1982 last season, as the Mavericks began their transition from Division II to Division I. UNO won’t be eligible for postseason play until 2016, once they have fully transitioned to the Division I level. Despite their transitional status, UNO will count as a Division I opponent for RPI purposes.
The Huskers have earned one-run victories over UNO in each of the three meetings since last year. Nebraska has won five straight in the series, the longest win streak for either team in series history. Overall, the Huskers have won nine of the last 10 meetings. The teams were frequent opponents prior to the NCAA era, meeting eight times in 1977 alone, with UNO winning six of those eight games, including the first four all-time meetings. Nebraska leads the all-time series 7-5 in Lincoln, and the Huskers hold a 6-4 series edge in Omaha. Husker Head Coach Rhonda Revelle is 3-0 against UNO and 3-0 vs. Maverick Head Coach Jeanne Scarpello.
Last week, both teams rallied late in a close battle that ultimately saw the Huskers win, 3-2. Sophomore Mattie Fowler gave Nebraska a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, when her deep fly ball to right field deflected off of Lindsay Redding’s glove and over the fence for a solo home run. That run appeared to be enough for junior Tatum Edwards, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. But a series of infield hits, including a pair of clutch two-out, RBI singles, gave UNO a 2-1 lead heading into the final inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Nebraska produced four of its seven hits to rally for the win. With runners on second and third and two outs, Fowler again came through, delivering a two-run, walk-off single to center field. Fowler finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the win, while Tatum Edwards did not allow an earned run.
The information below provides a quick glimpse of a few statistics and brief notes as the 19th-ranked Huskers face UNO for the second and final time this season:
- Nebraska owns an all-time record of 442-251 (.638) in the month of March. The Huskers have posted a winning month of March for 17 straight seasons dating back to 1994. NU is 11-2 in March this season.
- NU’s roster features seven freshmen, tying for the most freshmen in Coach Revelle’s 21 seasons (also 2008).
- Five freshmen started the season opener, the most in Coach Revelle’s tenure and believed to be the most ever.
- NU’s starting lineup has featured at least three freshmen in every game, including 12 games with five freshmen.
- The freshmen have combined for 21 extra-base hits, the ninth-highest total by a freshman class in school history.
- Nebraska has allowed one run or less in 17 of its 28 games this season, including 10 shutouts. In 55 games last season, NU allowed one run or less just 16 times, posting 13 shutouts.
- Nebraska’s first four hitters in the batting order (Kiki Stokes, Gabby Banda, Taylor Edwards and Brooke Thomason) have remained the same for all 28 games this season.
- Five Huskers have started all 28 games at the same position this spring (Taylor Edwards - C, Hailey Decker - 2B, Gabby Banda, - 3B, Kiki Stokes - CF, Brooke Thomason - RF).
- Husker pitching has not allowed an extra-base hit in 13 of its 28 games this season.
- NU was ranked 17th in the first NCAA RPI rankings on March 25, the highest ranking of any Big Ten team.
- Nebraska is 19-1 when out-hitting its opponent this season.
- The Huskers are 20-0 when recording at least five hits.
- NU is 17-0 when it scores first and 11-0 when it scores in the first inning.
- Nebraska is 16-0 when it scores four-or-more runs.
- NU is 18-0 when leading after four innings, 12-0 when leading after five and 9-0 when leading after six.
- Nebraska has lost four straight Big Ten road games, and the Huskers have not led in any of the four games while trailing at the end of 26 of 28 innings during that stretch.
- NU is 6-2 in true road games this season, after posting a 7-12 road record in 2012.
- The Huskers are 3-0 in extra-innings this season and have won six straight extra-inning games.
- Only four Big Ten pitchers have shut out a ranked team this season, Nebraska’s Tatum Edwards and Emily Lockman, along with Wisconsin’s Cassandra Darrah and Ohio State’s Alex DiDomenico.
- Despite playing only two Big Ten games, Nebraska has struck out a conference-high 22 batters in league play.
- Nebraska was 11-for-23 (.478) with runners in scoring position against Northwestern last weekend, including 10-for-16 (.625) with runners in scoring position and fewer than two outs.
- The Huskers lead the Big Ten with a .349 team batting average with runners in scoring position this season.
- In the circle, 26 of the 66 hits Tatum Edwards has allowed this season have been infield singles (39 percent).
- Tatum Edwards has allowed only six runs over her last 40.0 innings and all six runs have scored with two outs.
- Offensively, 13 of Tatum Edwards’ 15 hits have gone for extra bases, including six doubles and seven homers.
- Tatum Edwards enters this week with 95 career RBIs, five shy of 100.
- Taylor Edwards is one walk shy of tying Jennifer Lizama (92) for the most walks through a player’s first three seasons in school history.
- Taylor Edwards is also seven RBIs from entering Nebraska’s all-time top five.
- Gabby Banda is two hit-by-pitches from moving into Nebraska’s all-time top five.
- Banda is one double shy of cracking Nebraska’s all-time top 10.
- Banda is one walk from moving into Nebraska’s all-time top 10.
- Banda has started 163 consecutive games for the Huskers.
- Brooke Thomason is one extra-base hit shy of moving into Nebraska’s all-time top five.
- Thomason is batting .480 (24-for-50) with runners on base and .528 (19-for-36) with runners in scoring position.
- Taylor Edwards is one home run shy of hitting her 30th career home run, while Tatum Edwards is two shy of 30 homer runs. Brooke Thomason already owns 31 home runs, and a Husker lineup has never featured three players with 30 career home runs.
- Tatum and Taylor Edwards, along with Brooke Thomason, each homered against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 9. That marked the third time in their careers that all three players had homered in the same game.
- The Edwards twins have homered in the same game nine times in their careers, including twice in 2013.
Nebraska scored 19 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Northwestern last Friday, in the only two games of a weather-shortened series with the Wildcats. After falling behind 4-0 early in game one, the Huskers outscored Northwestern 19-1 the rest of the doubleheader. NU totaled five runs in game one and 14 runs in game two.
The 14 runs Nebraska scored in game two tied its season high and marked the second-highest run total the Huskers have ever scored in a conference game. It was one shy of matching the school record set on April 6, 1996 in a 15-11 Big 12 Conference victory over Kansas. The 14 runs scored against Northwestern were the most runs Nebraska has ever scored in a conference game of fewer than seven innings.
The Huskers produced their 14 runs in only four turns at bat, as the game ended after the top of the fifth inning. Nebraska pounded out 11 hits, while five Huskers produced multi-hit games and four produced multi-RBI efforts. Nebraska scored eight runs in the first inning - its biggest inning of the year - and six runs in the third.
Overall, the 19 runs Nebraska scored in the doubleheader marked the most runs a Husker team has scored in a doubleheader since producing 24 runs in a doubleheader at UTEP on March 22, 2011.
Tatum Edwards Riding Seven-Game Win Streak
Junior right-hander Tatum Edwards has been excellent in the circle since allowing a career-high nine runs in a loss at No. 1 Oklahoma on March 2. Edwards has appeared in seven games since that loss, earning the victory in each of those appearances, which include six starts. Edwards’ seven-game win streak is the longest by a Husker since she won her first nine career decisions stretching the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Edwards has thrown four shutouts in her six starts during the win streak. She has allowed an earned run in only one of her last seven appearances, including a streak of 33.2 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run that was snapped last Friday against Northwestern. During the win streak, Edwards has allowed only six total runs (four earned) and all six runs have scored with two outs. While going 7-0 over her last seven appearances, Edwards has posted a 0.70 ERA in 40.0 innings with 46 strikeouts. Opponents have hit only .141 against Edwards during her win streak, recording just 19 hits and three extra-base hits in 135 at bats.
A native of Murrieta, Calif., Edwards struck out a career-high 13 batters in a career-high 8.0 innings against Northwestern last Friday. Overall, in her six starts during the seven-game win streak, Edwards has tossed a one-hitter, a two-hitter, a three-hitter, two four-hitters and a five-hitter.
Edwards has also helped herself offensively during the win streak. Although she has only been in the batting order for only six contests during her seven-game win streak, Edwards has put up individual statistics that top those of all the opposing hitters she has faced during her streak. During her seven-game win streak, Edwards has scored seven runs and produced two doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs in 17 at bats, while opposing hitters have combined to score only six runs with two doubles, no home runs and six RBIs in 135 at bats.
Huskers Boast Two of Big Ten’s Best Pitchers
Led by the combination of junior right-hander Tatum Edwards and freshman right-hander Emily Lockman, Nebraska boasts one of the best pitching staffs in the Big Ten Conference and two of the league’s top pitchers. The Huskers lead the Big Ten in shutouts and opponent batting average, while ranking second in ERA and third in wins. NU has allowed one run or less in 17 of its 26 games in 2013.
Thanks to a personal seven-game win streak, Edwards is 14-4 with a 1.81 ERA in 96.2 innings. She has already established career highs this season in wins, innings, shutouts (6), complete games (12) and strikeouts (84). Edwards boasts the sixth-best ERA in the Big Ten, while ranking second in shutouts, fourth in wins and opponent batting average (.193) and fifth in strikeouts. She also has allowed the fewest home runs of any Big Ten pitcher who has pitched a minimum of 2.0 innings per game. Edwards has not allowed a run in nine of her 18 appearances this season while not allowing an earned run in 12 games.
In 13 appearances against non-ranked teams this spring, Edwards is 13-0 with a 0.93 ERA in 68.0 innings. She has thrown a shutout in five of her 10 starts against unranked opponents, limiting opposing hitters to a .179 batting average while striking out 66 and walking 26. Edwards has also made quality starts against ranked opponents, tossing a four-hit shutout against No. 23 Florida State, allowing no earned runs in a 1-0 loss at No. 16 Arizona and tossing a two-hitter and allowing only two seventh-inning runs in her first of two starts against No. 1 Oklahoma. Taking out starts against No. 10 Oregon and her second start against the top-ranked Sooners - games where she allowed 14 of her 25 earned runs this season - Edwards is 14-2 with a 0.88 ERA.
Lockman has also impressed this spring. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Lockman is 8-2 with a 1.34 ERA in 78.1 innings. She ranks second in the Big Ten in ERA and eighth in opponent batting average (.223) and wins. Lockman has allowed one earned run or less in 10 of her 13 starts this season, while allowing more than two earned runs only once. She tossed the first no-hitter by a Husker freshman since 2003 in her fourth career start. Lockman has also excelled in her two starts against ranked opponents. Lockman tossed a four-hitter but was on the losing end of a 1-0 decision to eighth-ranked Cal on Feb. 24. Her next start came at No. 1 Oklahoma, when she snapped the Sooners’ 17-game season-opening win streak with a seven-hit shutout. She is one of only two pitchers to defeat OU this season, and the only pitcher to shut out the powerful Sooner lineup.
A key to the duo’s success has been keeping the ball down. Of the 141 hits NU has allowed, only 27 have gone for extra-bases, including just eight homers. Opponents are only averaging an extra-base hit every 24.7 at bats, including 13 games where NU has not allowed a single extra-base hit.
Led by Edwards and Lockman, Nebraska’s staff has shown great improvement from last year. NU has owned a season ERA below 2.00 following 26 of its 28 games this season, including twice where the Huskers’ season ERA was below 1.00. Last year, the lowest Nebraska’s season ERA stood after any one game was 2.79. NU also owns six more wins through 28 games than it did a year ago, while boasting a 1.40 lower ERA. NU has four more shutouts this year than it did at the same point last year, while allowing 42 fewer extra-base hits.
Fowler A Clutch Co-Captain
Sophomore Mattie Fowler has been a clutch hitter through her first season-and-a-half as a Husker. Fowler, a co-captain, has especially come through in the clutch in late innings and against Big Ten teams. She owns eight game-winning RBIs in her career, including three in the seventh inning or later and five against Big Ten teams. Fowler is a career .321 hitter with runners in scoring position, including a team-best .478 mark this spring.
Nebraska has played six extra-inning games in Fowler’s career, winning all six games. In 2012, the Huskers won three games in the eighth inning. Fowler drove in the game-winning run in two of those victories and scored the game-winning run in the third win. This season, Fowler has scored the game-winning run in one of the Huskers’ three extra-inning victories, while also producing a game-winning, walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh inning against UNO.
Her ability to come through in the clutch was on display again last week, as she helped Nebraska to a 4-1 week. In the first game of the week against UNO, Fowler produced all three RBIs in the Huskers’ 3-2 come-from-behind win. With Nebraska trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Fowler delivered a walk-off, two-out, two-run single to lift the Huskers to victory. Three days later, Fowler tied Nebraska’s game with Northwestern with a clutch two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning. She then worked a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth inning and came around to score the game-winning run in the Huskers’ 5-4 win.
Fowler on Fire
After missing last fall and being limited early this season following offseason knee surgery, sophomore Mattie Fowler has gotten her timing back at the plate, producing impressive results while starting the last 11 games at first base. During the stretch of 11 consecutive starts, Fowler is batting .419 (13-for-31) with two homers, seven runs scored and nine RBIs. She has also drawn three walks and posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Fowler has produced multiple hits in four of her last eight games. As she has gotten her timing back, her run production has also increased. Fowler drove in seven runs in five games last week, after producing five RBIs in her first 15 games of the year. Fowler, who homered five times as a freshman in 2012, also saw her power return last week, slugging her first two home runs of the season. While batting .429 (6-for-14) last week, Fowler set season highs in hits, runs scored, RBIs and walks.
Nebraska has won five games in its final at bat this season, including four times in an eight-game stretch from March 9 to March 22. The Huskers’ first win in the final at bat came in the fourth game of the season on Feb. 10. Nebraska trailed Illinois-Chicago 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, before scoring twice in its final at bat, highlighted by sophomore Jordan Bettiol’s walk-off, RBI double.
The Huskers would not need another late-inning victory until nearly a month later. At Wichita State on March 9, the game was tied 1-1 with two outs in the top of the seventh inning before the Huskers scored twice, highlighted by freshman Kiki Stokes’ go-ahead, two-out, inside-the-park home run. That began the stretch of four final-at bat victories in eight games for the Huskers. Six days after the win at Wichita State, Stokes delivered again, belting a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning that gave Nebraska a 4-1 win over New Mexico State. Four days later against UNO, sophomore Mattie Fowler delivered a walk-off, two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Nebraska to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory. Three days after that win, junior Taylor Edwards was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 5-4 win over Northwestern.
Three of the games Nebraska has won in its final at bat have been extra-inning contests. The Huskers are 3-0 in extra-innings this season and have won six straight extra-inning games dating back to 2012, when Nebraska was also 3-0 in extra innings.
Ready to Hit the Road
For the second time this season, Nebraska has had a scheduled school-record-tying eight-game road trip shortened due to inclement weather. NU’s Wednesday game with UNO was originally scheduled to be played in Omaha, which would have given the Huskers eight straight road games. Earlier this month, the Huskers were scheduled to play an eight-game road trip, but lost two games to weather, finishing 5-1 with wins over No. 1 Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (twice) and Wichita State (twice). Nebraska finished 6-2 on its only eight-game road trip in school history in 2011.
The Huskers are 6-2 in true road games this season, including a win at No. 1 Oklahoma that snapped the Sooners’ 17-game, season-opening win streak. Both of Nebraska’s road losses have come to top-20 teams (No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 16 Arizona). The Huskers, who have won five straight road games, were just 7-12 on the road last. Nebraska is only one win away from matching last year’s road-win total.
Nebraska’s upcoming seven-game road trip includes its first Big Ten road games at Illinois this weekend and at Iowa next weekend. The Huskers finished third in the Big Ten last season, missing a chance to finish higher in the final standings due to a 4-8 road record. Nebraska has lost four straight Big Ten road games, and the Huskers have not led in any of the four games, while trailing at the end of 26 of 28 innings during that stretch.
Give Me Five
Husker hitting coach Diane Miller asks her hitters to “give her five,” meaning score five runs per game. The theory being that NU will win most games if it can score five runs. Nebraska is averaging more than five runs per game this season, but where the Husker offense has really excelled at giving Miller “five” has been during Big Ten Conference play.
Nebraska scored at least five runs in both games of its victory over Northwestern last weekend, needing all five runs in a 5-4 victory in game one of the series. In their first 25 Big Ten games dating back to last season, the Huskers have averaged 5.4 runs per game. Nebraska has scored at least five runs in 13 of its 25 Big Ten games, owning a 10-3 record when scoring five runs and a 6-6 mark when failing to score five runs.
Overall this season, NU is 13-0 when scoring five-or-more runs and 9-6 when scoring fewer than five runs.
Tatum Edwards Showcasing Power
In addition to impressive pitching statistics this year, junior Tatum Edwards has also showcased her power at the plate. Edwards has only been in the lineup for 20 of Nebraska’s 28 games, after missing only two games in the batting order over her first two years combined. Despite fewer at bats, Edwards has showcased the power that help her earn All-Big 12 honors as a freshman in 2011 and All-Big Ten accolades as a sophomore last year.
In only 20 games, Edwards has produced six doubles and seven home runs. She leads the Huskers in home runs and extra-base hits and is tied for the team lead in doubles. The extra-base hits have helped Edwards post a team-leading .737 slugging percentage that is more than 100 points higher than any other Husker. Thirteen of Edwards’ 15 hits this season have gone for extra bases, as she averages one extra-base hit every 4.4 at bats. Edwards has produced three two-hit games this year and in all three games, both hits went for extra bases. She owns two-homer games against New Mexico State and North Dakota State this spring, in addition to hitting two doubles in her last game against Northwestern.