Four Nebraska softball players earned first-team All-Midwest Region honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) on Thursday. Senior Tatum Edwards and sophomore Emily Lockman were first-team selections for the second straight year, while senior Taylor Edwards earned first-team all-region accolades for the second time in her career. Sophomore Hailey Decker was recognized as an all-region performer for the first time in her career.
Nebraska’s four all-region selections were its most since 2006, and the four first-team honorees were the second-most in school history and the most since 2002. Nebraska was one of eight teams nationally with four first-team all-region selections, while two Husker pitchers earned first-team honors for the second straight season, a first in school history. Each of the four all-region selections move on to the All-America ballot, with the 2014 NFCA All-America teams announced just prior to the start of the Women’s College World Series.
Tatum Edwards took the first step toward becoming Nebraska’s first back-to-back All-American since 1995-96 by earning her second straight first-team all-region honor. Edwards earned a first-team spot at the pitcher/utility position. A 2013 second-team All-American, Edwards is one of the nation’s top dual threats. She is one of only two players nationally who rank in the top 50 in wins and home runs, and Edwards is the only player nationally with 60 career victories and 40 career home runs. A first-team All-Big Ten selection, Edwards is 22-11 in the circle with a 1.96 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .195 against her, and she ranks 22nd nationally in shutouts and 31st in wins. At the plate, Edwards owns a .298 average with eight doubles, 14 home runs and 50 RBIs.
Taylor Edwards also took the first step toward becoming just the seventh multi-time All-American in Husker history. A 2011 third-team All-American, Edwards is one of the nation’s top catchers. She is batting .362 this spring with seven doubles, 17 homers and 41 RBIs. Edwards, who owns 16 Nebraska records and a share of two NCAA records, ranks 14th nationally with her Big Ten-leading 17 home runs. Among all active Division I players, Edwards ranks fourth with 200 career RBIs, fifth with 146 career walks and sixth with 53 career home runs. Edwards also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season in 2013.
Lockman became the only Husker freshman pitcher to be a first-team all-region selection in 2013, and she made it back-to-back first-team accolades this spring. She is just the fourth Husker pitcher to earn back-to-back first-team all-region selections, and overall, Lockman has joined Ali Viola as the only two players in school history – regardless of position – to earn first-team all-region accolades as a freshman and sophomore. Lockman is 18-4 this season with a 2.09 ERA. Her seven shutouts rank among the top 40 pitchers nationally, and Lockman’s .818 winning percentage currently ranks as the sixth-best mark in school history. Lockman has enjoyed a decorated start to her Husker career, as she is a two-time all-region and all-conference performer.
After earning first-team All-Big Ten honors, Decker added first-team all-region accolades to a stellar sophomore resume. A second baseman, Decker owns a .360 average with 17 doubles, nine homers and 43 RBIs this season. She leads Nebraska in doubles and extra-base hits, while ranking second in RBIs and third in homers and RBIs. Decker ranks 12th nationally in doubles, as her 17 doubles are the most ever by a Husker sophomore and rank as the third highest overall total in school history.
Nebraska’s four all-region selections and the rest of the Husker team begin their quest for back-to-back trips to the Women’s College World Series tomorrow, when Nebraska opens the 2014 NCAA Tournament against Kansas at 12:30 p.m.