The Nebraska softball team bolstered its 2018 pitching staff on Thursday when Head Coach Rhonda Revelle announced the signing of Regan Mergele, one of the nation's top junior college pitchers.
Mergele is in the midst of her second season at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan. She will join the Huskers in the fall and have two seasons of immediate eligibility remaining. The right-hander helped Butler recently complete a perfect 48-0 regular season. The Grizzlies take an 86-game winning streak into the start of postseason play this weekend, when Butler is looking to defend its 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national title.
Mergele signed her National Letter of Intent earlier this week, and Revelle said she is excited about Mergele's potential.
“Regan's competitive spirit and talent in the circle will have an immediate impact on our program,” Revelle said. “She has a Texas high school state championship and a junior college national championship on her resume, and we know that she is coming to Nebraska with the same winning mentality. We are thrilled that she has chosen to be a Husker and truly believe that along with her and the rest of our pitchers, you will see a very competitive pitching staff next season.”
With the 2017 postseason still to be played, Mergele owns a 47-3 career record at Butler with a 1.08 ERA. Mergele has struck out 292 batters in 245.2 career innings, an average of 8.3 strikeouts per seven innings. She has also allowed only 178 hits in her career, limiting opposing hitters to a .200 batting average and a .249 slugging percentage.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Mergele is enjoying an outstanding final season at Butler. She ended the regular season with a 23-0 record and a 0.48 ERA. Mergele leads all NJCAA Division I pitchers in ERA and strikeouts per seven innings (10.8), while ranking fifth in opponent batting average (.144) and 13th in wins. She has struck out 158 batters and allowed only 48 hits in 102.1 innings, including just seven extra-base hits. Mergele has allowed only 13 runs – and just seven earned runs – over 25 appearances and 24 starts this spring.
As a freshman, Mergele helped lead Butler to its first national title. She posted a 24-3 record in 2016 with a 1.51 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 143.1 innings. Pitching on a deep Grizzly staff, Mergele ranked 18th nationally in wins and was named an NJCAA All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. She contributed to Butler's national championship by posting a 1-0 record with a 2.25 ERA over three appearances at the NJCAA Division I Championship, including a five-hit shutout against Chipola in the semifinals.
Mergele was also a state champion in high school, pitching Smithson Valley to a Texas Class 5A state title as a 14-year-old freshman in 2012. Mergele, who battled a foot injury during her high school career, posted a 1.23 ERA with 202 strikeouts in 159.2 innings as a senior to earn all-area and honorable-mention all-state accolades. Following her senior season, Mergele was named the South MVP of the 2015 Greater Austin Area All-Star Game. Mergele's coaches at Smithson Valley were former Husker Lisa Daigle and former Nebraska coach Wayne Daigle.
Mergele received interest from numerous Division I teams, including offers from several Power Five Conference programs.