The 21st-ranked Nebraska softball team will play its first home games of the season this weekend, when the Huskers open a nine-game homestand against New Mexico State in a three-game series at Bowlin Stadium. In a change to the original schedule, the Huskers and Aggies will play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, before concluding the series with a single game on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available for both days and fans can purchase single-game or season tickets online at Huskers.com, over the phone by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED, in person weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Nebraska Ticket Office (located on Stadium Drive across the street from West Memorial Stadium) or on game days beginning 90 minutes prior to first pitch at the Bowlin Stadium ticket office (located at the main entrance behind home plate). Fans unable to make it out to Bowlin Stadium can follow all three games live, as Nate Rohr will call all of the action for a free radio broadcast on Huskers.com, while HuskersNSide subscribers can watch all three games.
Following Friday’s doubleheader, a special on-field ceremony will be held to honor Head Coach Rhonda Revelle, who became Nebraska’s all-time wins leader in all sports with her 768th win against Oklahoma State on March 3. As part of the celebration, the first 768 fans through the gates on Friday will be given a free t-shirt honoring Coach Revelle’s historic accomplishment.
Nebraska opens its home schedule after playing its first 21 games away from Lincoln. The Huskers are 16-5 on the year and have won five straight games. Each of Nebraska’s five losses have come to teams ranked in the top 20 - including four losses to top-10 opponents - while the Huskers own victories over No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 23 Florida State.
NU has not trailed during its current five-game winning streak, a stretch that totals 33 innings. Even in their losses the Huskers have not trailed by much, as two of Nebraska’s five losses have been by a score of 1-0, while a third loss was a 2-0 setback to No. 1 Oklahoma, and that game was tied going into the seventh inning.
Nebraska and New Mexico State have already met once this season, with the Huskers spoiling the Aggies’ home opener with a 5-1 win in Las Cruces on Feb. 8. NMSU will try to return the favor on Friday, but the Huskers have won six straight games against the Aggies, winning by an average of 7.5 runs per game. Nebraska has also won seven straight home openers and 10 of the 11 home openers at Bowlin Stadium. The Huskers have won 18 of their last 19 home games, including a 15-1 home record in 2012.
Scouting the New Mexico State Aggies (15-10)
New Mexico State brings a 15-10 record into play this weekend. The Aggies have lost three straight games to Notre Dame (twice) and second-ranked Arizona State. Prior to the losing streak, NMSU had won five straight. The Huskers and Aggies share common opponents this season in Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico. Nebraska went 4-0 against those opponents, while New Mexico State posted a 3-1 record.
Offensively, New Mexico State is batting .293 as a team and averaging nearly five runs per game. Five starters are hitting .300 or better, led by Amber Olive, who is batting .360 with three triples and 10 stolen bases. Teresa Conrad is hitting .354 with eight doubles, while Kelsey Dodd is batting .333 with six doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs. Malena Padilla, who homered against Nebraska earlier this year, is batting .313, while Lacey Rother is hitting .300. Staci Rodriguez is batting .293 but leads the Aggies with eight home runs and 28 RBIs.
In the circle, NMSU owns a 2.58 staff ERA while allowing 3.3 runs per game. The staff has shown excellent control, walking only 35 batters in 165.2 innings while posting a strikeout to walk ratio of 3-to-1. Alex Newman has started 13 of New Mexico State’s 25 games, posting a 7-5 record with a 1.82 ERA in 69.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .271 against her, but she has struck out 36 and walked only seven. Karysta Donisthorpe has made seven starts and 11 total appearances, and she owns a 5-2 record with a 3.23 ERA in 39.0 innings. Donisthorpe leads the Aggies with 47 strikeouts. Makayla McAdams is 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 29.1 innings and she has walked 12 and struck out 10, as she is the only NMSU pitcher who does not own a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 3-to-1. Celisha Walker rounds out the staff with a 1-1 record and a 2.75 ERA in 28.0 innings.
Husker History vs. New Mexico State
Nebraska and New Mexico State are meeting for the fourth straight season, but for the first time ever in Lincoln. The Huskers are 11-5 all-time against the Aggies. NU has won six straight in the series - including a 5-1 win on Feb. 8 - while outscoring the Aggies 59-13 in the win streak. Fifteen of the first 16 meetings have come in Las Cruces, as New Mexico State is the first member of the Western Athletic Conference to play a game in Lincoln. Head Coach Rhonda Revelle is 8-5 in her career against NMSU, including a 7-3 mark against New Mexico State Head Coach Kathy Rodolph.
In the first meeting this year, Nebraska spoiled New Mexico State’s season and home opener with a 5-1 win. The Huskers pounded out 15 hits in the victory, including four doubles and two home runs. Nebraska was limited to five runs however, as the Huskers left 14 runners on base. Junior Tatum Edwards was the star of the day, as she hit a pair of solo home runs and tossed a four-hitter in the circle, allowing only one run. Freshman Hailey Decker was 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles, while classmate Kiki Stokes also added three hits. Junior Taylor Edwards, sophomore Mattie Fowler and freshman Alicia Armstrong added two hits each. Malena Padilla homered for the Aggies, while Alex Newman took the loss, allowing two runs on six hits in 3.1 innings.
Tatum Edwards is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 14.0 career innings and three starts against New Mexico State. Offensively, she is 10-for-26 (.385) in seven games against the Aggies with six home runs and 12 RBIs. Two of Edwards’ four career multi-home run games have come against New Mexico State, while she set a career high and then-school record with seven RBIs against the Aggies on Feb. 17, 2012. Tatum’s twin sister Taylor owns a .478 (11-for-23) career average against New Mexico State with two home runs and six RBIs. Brooke Thomason has also excelled in her career against NMSU, posting a .481 batting average (13-for-27) with two home runs and eight RBIs, while Fowler is 7-for-10 with four doubles, one home run and six RBIs in three career games against the Aggies.
While facing New Mexico State nine times since 2010, Nebraska’s current roster has combined to post a .415 batting average against the Aggies with 11 doubles, 12 home runs, 38 RBIs and a .746 slugging percentage.
The information below provides a quick glimpse of a few statistics and brief notes as the 21st-ranked Huskers bring a 16-5 record into their home-opening series with New Mexico State this weekend.
- Nebraska owns an all-time record of 436-250 (.636) in the month of March. The Huskers have posted a winning month of March for 17 straight seasons dating back to 1994.
- 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 nine games with five freshmen.
- Nebraska has allowed one run or less in 13 of its 21 games this season, including eight shutouts. In 55 games last season, NU allowed one run or less just 16 times, posting 13 shutouts.
- Tatum Edwards is one home run shy of cracking Nebraska’s all-time top 10.
- In the circle, 21 of the 52 hits Tatum Edwards has allowed this season have been infield singles (40 percent).
- Eight of Tatum Edwards’ 10 hits this season have gone for extra bases, including four doubles and four homers.
- Taylor Edwards is six walks shy of passing Jennifer Lizama (92) for the most walks through a player’s first three seasons in school history.
- Taylor Edwards is also 11 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 three doubles shy of cracking Nebraska’s all-time top 10.
- Banda is five walks from moving into Nebraska’s all-time top 10.
- Banda has started 156 consecutive games for the Huskers.
- Brooke Thomason is three extra-base hits shy of moving into Nebraska’s all-time top five.
- 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, while also marking the eighth time that the Edwards twins had homered in the same game.
Nebraska leads the Big Ten Conference with 25 home runs this season, five more than Minnesota and Northwestern. The Huskers have increased their home run lead thanks to a recent power surge. Nebraska has homered in five consecutive games, slugging 11 home runs during that stretch, including at least two home runs in four straight games. Prior to the recent surge, the Huskers had homered only once in six games.
Leading the way the past five games is freshman Dawna Tyson, who has slugged three home runs, homering in three consecutive games. Classmate Alicia Armstrong and junior Taylor Edwards have homered twice during the streak, with Edwards homering in two straight games. Adding one home run each during the streak are freshmen Hailey Decker and Kiki Stokes (inside-the-park home run) and junior Tatum Edwards.
Led by its recent power surge, Nebraska has hit 25 home runs in only 21 games. This year’s group has hit 25 home runs faster than any other team in school history, eclipsing the previous mark set by the 1998 team, who hit its 25th home run in its 26th game. Overall, this year marks just the fourth time in Husker history that Nebraska has recorded 25 home runs prior to the 30th game of a season.
This year’s team has good company among the other three teams to produce 25 home runs in fewer than 30 games. The 1998 Huskers posted the best winning percentage in school history and finished in a tie for fifth at the Women’s College World Series. The 2011 Huskers nearly cracked the top 10 while posting the best non-conference record in school history, while the 2002 Huskers also finished in a tie for fifth at the Women’s College World Series in Nebraska’s last appearance in the event.
Nine Huskers have homered already this season, with senior Brooke Thomason and junior Taylor Edwards tied for the team lead with five home runs each. Junior Tatum Edwards has homered four times, while freshmen Hailey Decker and Dawna Tyson have each homered three times. Freshman Alicia Armstrong has slugged two home runs, while senior Courtney Breault, junior Kylee Muir and freshman Kiki Stokes have each homered once. Stokes’ homer was an inside-the-park home run.
Nebraska is currently on pace to hit 65 homers in a 55-game schedule, which would break the school record of 62 home runs in 1998. The Huskers could also field a lineup this season where all nine players in the batting order have home run, a feat that would be a first in school history. The Huskers’ starting batting order for their last game at Wichita State featured seven players who had homered this season. The only two players without a home run in that lineup were senior Gabby Banda and sophomore Mattie Fowler. Both are more than capable of hitting home runs, as Fowler homered five times in 2012, while Banda produced four home runs last season.
From a career standpoint, this year’s team features three of the top home run hitters in school history in Thomason and the Edwards twins, all three of whom have hit at least 25 home runs. Thomason leads the way with 30 career home runs - fifth in school history - while Taylor ranks in a tie for sixth with 28 homers. Tatum sits in 12th place with 25 homers, one home run shy of cracking the top 10.
Nebraska has three players in the same lineup with 20 career home runs for only the third time in school history (also in 1998 and 2012). This year marks the first time Nebraska has ever opened a season with three players who have all homered at least 20 times in their career.
Huskers and the Home Opener
Nebraska officially opens its 12th season of play at Bowlin Stadium against New Mexico State in Friday’s doubleheader. The Huskers are 10-1 in home openers at Bowlin Stadium and have won their last seven home openers since a 6-5 eight-inning loss in the 2005 home opener against Creighton. Overall, Nebraska has won 18 of its last 19 home games.
NU has posted a winning record every season at Bowlin Stadium, including a 15-1 mark in 2012. Overall, the Huskers have owned a winning home record in each of the past 35 seasons dating back to 1977.
Tyson Hitting Well
Freshman Dawna Tyson is making a strong push to become Nebraska’s starting designated player this season. Four different Huskers - including Tyson - have earned starts as the designated player, but Tyson may be separating herself from the pack with some outstanding recent performances. Tyson has started seven of the last eight games overall, including her only four starts as the designated player during that stretch.
In her four starts as the designated player, Tyson is 5-for-12 (.417) with three home runs, four runs scored, seven RBIs and one hit-by-pitch. While starting three of the last four games as the designated player, Tyson has gone 5-for-9 (.556) with three home runs, four runs scored and seven RBIs. She has homered in three straight games, putting her halfway to the NCAA record for consecutive games with a home run, which was first established by her older sister Dena in 2007 and then matched by Husker junior Taylor Edwards in 2011.
Tyson’s recent surge began when she went 3-for-7 with two home runs and four RBIs while starting at designated player in both games of a doubleheader at Oklahoma State on March 3. In game two, Tyson set career highs with two hits and three RBIs. In her only start last weekend, Tyson went 2-for-2 and was hit by a pitch in game two at Wichita State. She matched her career highs with two hits and three RBIs in the win, while setting a career high with two runs scored and adding her third home run of the year.
Husker Pitchers Hard to Hit
Nebraska’s pitching staff has proven hard to hit through 21 games this season. The Huskers, who rank second in the Big Ten with a 1.80 ERA against one of the league’s toughest schedules, have shut out a league-high eight opponents this year while holding five more opponents to only a single run. Nebraska also leads the league in fewest hits allowed and opponent batting average.
Opponents are hitting just .205 against Husker pitching, 11 points lower than any other Big Ten team. Of the 100 hits Nebraska has allowed, only 19 have gone for extra-bases, including just seven home runs. The Huskers have allowed the fewest extra-base hits of any Big Ten team. Nebraska has also owned a season ERA below 2.00 following 19 of its 21 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.
Nebraska has put up more impressive statistics than last year, a noteworthy achievement considering the staff includes one junior (Tatum Edwards) and two freshmen (Danica Bishop and Emily Lockman), while having to replace two-time all-conference ace Ashley Hagemann. Nebraska owns six more victories through 21 games this season than it did through 21 games last year, while allowing 47 fewer runs (2.2 fewer runs per game).
Tyson Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week
Freshman Dawna Tyson was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on March 11. Tyson’s selection marked the second straight week and third time this season that a Husker earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honors. Previously, Emily Lockman earned the award on Feb. 18 and March 4.
Tyson was honored following an outstanding performance in game two at Wichita State on March 9. Tyson reached base in all three of her plate appearances, finishing 2-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch. She homered for her third consecutive game and produced three RBIs and two runs scored. Tyson established a new career high with two runs scored against WSU, while tying her career high with two hits, one home run and three RBIs.