The No. 11 Nebraska softball team travels to Cathedral City, Calif., this weekend, where the Huskers will face four consecutive top-15 teams as part of a challenging five-game schedule at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
The Huskers (7-2) open play on Friday against No. 12 Texas A&M and 14th-ranked Arizona. On Saturday, Nebraska takes on No. 2 Tennessee, before rounding out the run of ranked teams with No. 8 UCLA on Sunday. The Huskers close the tournament with a second Sunday game against Boise State.
Nebraska’s four ranked opponents this week have a combined 38-3 record heading into the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Texas A&M, which was ranked eighth last week, suffered its first two losses of the season last weekend and is 9-2 on the year. Arizona, Tennessee and UCLA are all undefeated heading into play this weekend. The Wildcats have gone from unranked in the preseason to 14th this week, following a 9-0 start that includes a pair of shutouts over No. 7 Alabama. Arizona has outscored its opponents 74-3 this season. Tennessee, the preseason No. 1 team, is 9-0 this year and has outscored its opponents 69-10. UCLA, which climbed into the top 10 for the first time this season in this week’s rankings, is 11-0 and has outscored its opponents 75-6 this spring.
The Huskers are 1-1 against ranked teams this season, splitting a pair of games with No. 12 Florida State in the opening weekend. The Seminoles have since cracked the top 10, while Nebraska fell out of the top 10 following a 4-1 performance last weekend in Houston, when NU outscored its opponents 20-3.
Nebraska’s pitching staff was strong last weekend, allowing only three runs in five games while posting a 0.41 ERA. The Huskers have shut out four of their first nine opponents, while allowing only 11 total runs in nine games. Sophomore right-hander Emily Lockman is 4-1 with a 1.14 ERA and three shutouts in five starts this spring, while senior right-hander Tatum Edwards is 3-1 with a 1.27 ERA and one shutout. Edwards and Lockman were both first-team all-region pitchers last season, and Edwards was the 2013 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and a second-team NFCA All-American.
Lockman posted a 2-2 record with a 2.17 ERA against top-10 opponents as a freshman in 2013, including a shutout at No. 1 Oklahoma and a complete-game victory at No. 3 Oregon. She suffered a 1-0 loss to No. 8 Cal at last year’s Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Edwards took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against top-ranked Oklahoma last year in Cathedral City, and she was 3-6 against top-10 teams in 2013, with wins over Michigan (twice) and at Oregon.
Scouting the Texas A&M Aggies (9-2)
Texas A&M fell four spots to No. 12 this week after suffering its first two losses last weekend to McNeese State and Tulsa. Texas A&M’s 9-2 record includes an 8-3 victory over Sam Houston State, who NU defeated twice last weekend by a combined score of 9-1.
Texas A&M is hitting .348 as a team, while averaging 7.6 runs per contest, including scoring at least eight runs in seven of its first 11 games. Nicole Morgan is off to an outstanding start as one of four Aggies hitting better than .400. Morgan is batting .457 with two doubles, four homers and 18 RBIs. April Ryan is hitting .444 with five doubles and 14 RBIs. Taran Tyler is batting .429 with two doubles, a triple and a homer, while Emily Albus owns a .405 average with a team-high six stolen bases. Amber Garza is hitting .394 with three home runs and Cassie Tysarczyk has also homered three times while posting a .387 average.
In the circle, Texas A&M has compiled a 2.56 ERA while allowing 3.0 runs per game. Rachel Fox and Katie Marks have been the Aggies’ primary starters. Fox, a Texas transfer in her first season of eligibility at A&M, owns a 3-1 record with a 3.16 ERA in 24.1 innings. Marks is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 23.0 innings. Abby Donnell has made six appearances including one start, compiling a 2-0 record with a 1.79 ERA in 15.2 innings. Kristen Davenport (0-0, 0.0 ERA in 1.0 IP) and Lauren Ainsley (1-1, 4.00 ERA in 7.0 IP) round out the Aggie staff.
Texas A&M leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 38-24. The Aggies have won five straight in the series and 13 of the last 15 meetings dating back to 2007. Nebraska’s last win in the series came in 2010.
Scouting the Arizona Wildcats (9-0)
Arizona was unranked in the preseason polls but has climbed to No. 14 just two weeks into the season following a 9-0 start. Arizona has outscored its opponents 74-3 this season, including a pair of shutouts over then-No. 4 Alabama last weekend. The Wildcats have posted a shutout in seven of their first nine games.
Arizona is hitting .408 as a team, with five Wildcats batting .500 or better. Courtney Rodriguez is 12-for-21 (.571) on the year with three doubles, while Chelsea Suitos is hitting .529. Kellie Fox, a UCLA transfer in her first season of eligibility at Arizona, is batting .522 and leads the team with five homers and 18 RBIs. Kelsey Rodriguez is 10-for-20 this spring, while Alex Lavine (.438) and Katiyana Mauga (.417) are each hitting over .400. Hallie Wilson has homered three times and posted a team-high eight walks and three stolen bases to complement a .333 average, while Chelsea Goodacre has slugged four home runs and driven in 14.
In the circle, Arizona owns a 0.41 ERA and has allowed just one run in its last 41.0 innings entering this weekend. Opponents are hitting just .147 against the Wildcats. Nancy Bowling is 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in a team-high three starts and 15.0 innings. Shelby Babcock is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 11.0 innings. Two-time All-American Kenzie Fowler, the older sister of Husker junior co-captain Mattie Fowler, is working her way back to health after sitting out last season. The fifth-year senior is 1-0 in four appearances this season and has not allowed a run and surrendered just three hits in 10.0 innings. Estela Pinon (2-0, 0.00 ERA in 8.0 IP) and Michelle Floyd (1-0, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP) round out the Arizona staff.
Arizona leads the all-time series, 14-3. The teams are meeting for the fourth straight year, with Arizona earning victories in 2011 and 2013 and Nebraska using the biggest rally in school history (6 runs) to pull out an 11-10 win in 2012.
Scouting the Tennessee Lady Vols (9-0)
Tennessee, the nation’s top-ranked team in the first two polls of the season, fell out of the top spot this week despite a 9-0 start to the season. The Lady Vols have outscored their opponents 69-10 on the year, winning by an average of nearly seven runs per game. One-run victories at Georgia Southern and South Florida are the only two UT games decided by less than five runs this season.
The Lady Vols are batting .378 as a team and have slugged 11 home runs while averaging 7.7 runs per game. Tennessee, which opens play this weekend against Nebraska, has scored 10 runs in three of its last four games. Megan Geer leads the way with a .517 average, and she has added three doubles, seven RBIs and six stolen bases. Haley Tobler is batting .471 and Annie Aldrete is hitting .444 with four doubles and one home run. Cheyanne Tarango owns a .423 average, while Taylor Koenig and Melissa Davin are both hitting over .340 and are tied for the team lead with 10 RBIs. Davin has hit a team-high four home runs. Two-time All-American Madison Shipman is hitting .321 on the year.
In the circle, Tennessee has allowed only 10 runs in nine games, posting a 0.98 staff ERA. Two-time All-American Ellen Renfroe is 4-0 this season with four shutouts. She has not allowed a run in her 26.0 innings, surrendering only 10 hits as opponents are hitting just .120 against her. Renfroe has also struck out 39 - an average of 10.5 strikeouts per seven innings - while walking just two. Erin Gabriel has seen the most action behind Renfroe, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.71 ERA in 16.1 innings. Rainey Gaffin (2-0, 0.00 ERA in 8.0 IP) and Tarango (1-0, 4.20 ERA in 6.2 IP) round out the Lady Vol staff.
Nebraska is 0-3 all-time against Tennessee, including a pair of shutout losses in 2005 and 2008. The last meeting came in the winner’s bracket of the 2009 NCAA Knoxville Regional, when the Lady Vols erased an early 1-0 deficit to post a 5-2 win.
Scouting the UCLA Bruins (11-0)
UCLA is 11-0 and moved into the top 10 with a No. 8 ranking this week. UCLA has needed extra innings twice this season to remain undefeated, but overall the Bruins have outscored their opponents 75-6 on the year, posting seven shutouts in 11 games.
UCLA is hitting .342 as a team while averaging 6.8 runs per game. Delaney Spaulding is hitting .484 with four doubles and 10 RBIs. Ally Carda owns a .406 average with a homer and eight RBIs, while Alyssa Tiumalu is batting .370 with two home runs. Jessica Hall has also slugged two homers to complement a .344 average, while All-American Stephany LaRosa owns three home runs.
In the circle, UCLA owns a 0.38 ERA while allowing just 0.5 runs per game. Opponents are hitting only .110 against the Bruins and have struck out 90 times in 73.0 innings. Carda is 5-0 with a 0.22 ERA in 32.0 innings. She has struck out 41 and walked only four, while limiting opposing hitters to nine hits - all singles - and an .087 average. Carda has tossed a shutout in four of her five starts. Paige McDuffee has earned three starts and is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 21.0 innings, while Jessica Hall is 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 20.0 innings, including shutouts in each of her three starts.
Nebraska is 1-9 all-time against UCLA, including an 0-5 mark under Head Coach Rhonda Revelle. Nebraska’s lone win over the Bruins was a 3-1 victory in 1987, and UCLA has won each of the eight games since that loss.
Scouting the Boise State Broncos
Boise State enters this weekend with a 4-6 record, following a 3-2 record last weekend. The Broncos have been run-ruled twice in two games against Big Ten opponents this spring.
Offensively, Boise state is averaging 3.9 runs per game while hitting .394 as a team. Tara Glover leads the way with a .406 average that includes two home runs and nine stolen bases. Mackenzie Whyte is batting .393 with 10 steals. Ashley Palmer and Jordan Kreiger are each hitting .360, and Palmer has posted team-high totals of three homers and nine RBIs.
In the circle, Boise State owns a 5.28 ERA and is allowing 6.7 runs per game. Rebecca Patton has started six of the Broncos’ seven games, posting a 4-2 record with a 3.61 ERA in 33.0 innings. Mackenzie McGill (0-1, 6.59 ERA in 17.0 IP) and Kenzie Cole (0-3, 10.18 ERA in 11.0 IP) have also seen action. Both McGill and Cole have issued more walk than strikeouts and opponents are hitting .375 against McGill and .429 against Cole.
Nebraska and Boise State will be meeting for the first time on Sunday.
The information below provides a quick glimpse of a few brief notes heading into the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., this weekend.
- The Huskers are 169-92 (.648) all-time in the month of February.
- Nebraska has posted a winning month of February in 11 of the last 12 seasons, including an 11-4 mark in 2013.
- Nebraska is 1-1 against ranked opponents this season.
- The Huskers were 8-9 vs. ranked opponents in 2013, including a 5-8 mark against top-10 teams.
- Seven of the 11 runs Nebraska has allowed this season have scored with two outs.
- The Edwards twins have homered in the same game nine times in their careers.
- Tatum Edwards needs one win to become the 10th Husker to post 50 career victories.
- Tatum Edwards needs four runs scored to reach 100 runs scored in her career.
- Taylor Edwards needs three walks to move into third place on Nebraska’s all-time walks chart.
- Taylor Edwards is one home run shy of becoming the third Husker to hit 40 career home runs.
Husker History in Cathedral City
Nebraska is participating in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (formerly the Cathedral City Classic) for the fifth time in six seasons. The Huskers own a 9-11 record in those trips against what has been a challenging schedule. Of Nebraska’s 11 losses in their four previous trips to Cathedral City, seven have come to ranked opponents, including six to top-10 teams. Each of Nebraska’s last five losses at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic - dating back to 2012 - have come to top-10 opponents.
Overall, the Huskers are 1-6 against top-10 teams in Cathedral City and 3-7 against ranked teams overall. Nebraska has defeated a ranked opponent at the tournament in each of its past three trips to Cathedral City, including No. 10 Hawaii in 2011, No. 12 Missouri in 2012 and No. 23 Florida State in 2013.
Husker Hurlers Leading the Way
Nebraska’s pitching staff stacked up among the top staffs in the nation on paper entering this season, and through two weekends, the Husker haven’t disappointed. Through nine games, the Huskers have allowed only 11 runs, while posting a 1.17 ERA. NU has tallied four shutouts in nine games, while not allowing an earned run in a fifth contest. Opponents are hitting just .164 against the Huskers with only eight extra-base hits and one home run in 214 at bats. NU has allowed three-or-fewer hits in five games and has allowed more than five hits just once.
The 11 runs Nebraska has allowed are its fewest through the first nine games of a season since 1988, when the Huskers also allowed 11 runs. This year’s staff has a chance to join the 1985 (10 runs), 1987 (10 runs), 1988 (11 runs) and 1991 (13 runs) staffs as the only teams in school history to allow fewer than 15 runs through a season’s first 10 games.
Nebraska’s 1.17 ERA leads the Big Ten and is more than a run lower than any other Big Ten team. The Huskers’ opponent batting average is also .028 lower than any other team, while NU has allowed the fewest hits, runs, earned runs, home runs, extra-base hits and wild pitches of any Big Ten team. Sophomore Emily Lockman ranks fourth in the league with a 1.14 ERA, while senior Tatum Edwards, the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, is fifth with a 1.27 ERA. Lockman leads the league with 37.0 innings pitched and ranks second with three shutouts.
Lockman Named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
Sophomore Emily Lockman was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, the conference announced on Tuesday. The award is the first of her career for Lockman, who was a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week in 2013.
Lockman was honored following an outstanding weekend at the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic. The right-hander appeared in four of Nebraska’s five games last weekend, posting a 3-0 record with two shutouts and a 0.30 ERA. She allowed only one run in 23.0 innings and surrendered just eight hits, as opponents hit a paltry .103 against her. Lockman also struck out 24 batters in her 23.0 innings, while walking only four.
Her weekend began with a one-hit shutout against Army, when she took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. She then threw three scoreless innings of one-hit relief against Stephen F. Austin the next day, before tossing a four-hit shutout against Sam Houston State for her second victory of the weekend. On Sunday, Lockman earned the start and went 6.0 innings in a rematch with the Bearkats, allowing one run on two hits.
On the season, Lockman is 4-1 with a 1.14 ERA in a Big Ten-best 37.0 innings. She has thrown shutouts in three of her five starts, while limiting opponents to a .169 average. Lockman boasts a strikeout-to-walk-ratio of nearly 3-to-1, striking out 30 while walking 11. In addition to being the Big Ten leader in innings pitched, Lockman ranks third in the league in wins, fourth in ERA, fifth in strikeouts and sixth in opponent batting average.
Lockman is the first Husker pitcher to throw three shutouts in her first five starts since Ashley DeBuhr in 2007.
Decker & Taylor Edwards Riding Double-Digit Hit Streaks
Sophomore Hailey Decker and senior Taylor Edwards both bring double-digit hit streaks into play this weekend. Decker has hit safely in 10 straight games dating back to last year’s final game against Florida at the Women’s College World Series. Edwards has hit safely in 12 straight games dating back to last year’s WCWS-clinching Super Regional victory at Oregon.
Nebraska has a pair of teammates riding simultaneous double-digit hit streaks for the first time in 19 seasons. The last time a Husker squad had teammates with double-digit hit streaks was in 1995, and that team accomplished the feat twice that season. On April 29, 1995, Ali Viola wrapped up her then-school-record 19-game hitting streak and Amy Offenbacker had just hit safely in her 10th straight game on her way to a 15-game hitting streak. Two weeks earlier, Gloria Von Rentzell hit safely in her 10th straight game on the same day that Tobin Echo-Hawk wrapped up her 17-game hitting streak.
Taylor Edwards Starting Senior Season Strong
Looking to become Nebraska’s first two-time All-American since Jennifer Lizama (1997-2000), Taylor Edwards is off to a strong start in her senior season. A third-team All-American as a freshman in 2011, Edwards is batting .500 this season with 14 hits in 28 at bats. Five of her 14 hits have gone for extra bases, including three home runs. She leads the team in hits, runs (8), homers, RBIs (8), hit-by-pitches (2), slugging percentage (.893) and on-base percentage (.576).
Edwards has hit safely in all nine games this season, including four multi-hit efforts. Edwards has reached base multiple times in seven of the Huskers’ nine games. She has a 12-game hitting streak dating back to last season, with four homers during the streak. One of six returning All-America catchers in 2014, Edwards ranks in the top 10 among all active Division I players in career homers (39), RBIs (167), and walks (112).
Revelle Wins 800th Game at Nebraska, Joins Elite group
Nebraska Head Coach Rhonda Revelle opened her 22nd season at Nebraska with a 7-0 victory over UTEP on Feb. 7. The win marked Revelle’s 800th victory at Nebraska, as she became the first coach in any sport to win 800 games as a Husker. The victory also put Revelle in elite company among her softball peers, as she became the 15th active coach with 800 victories at his or her current school.