The 14th-ranked Nebraska softball team begins the longest road trip in school history this weekend, when the Huskers travel to Las Cruces, N.M., for a four-game series with the New Mexico State Aggies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Following the weekend series, NU will travel to El Paso, Texas, for a Tuesday doubleheader at UTEP. The Huskers close the 10-day, eight-game road swing next weekend with a two-game conference-opening series at eighth-ranked Oklahoma. The eight consecutive true road games marks the longest streak of road games in program history.
Nebraska is 1-0 on the road this season, winning 4-2 at North Texas on Feb. 18. The Huskers take a nine-game win streak into Friday's series opener at New Mexico State. Nebraska has already had one 10-game win streak this season, and a win on Friday would give the Huskers a pair of double-digit winning streaks in the same season for only the fifth time in school history and for the first time since 2006.
The two long winning streaks have helped Nebraska post the best start in school history at 21-2. The Huskers reached 20 victories two games faster than any other team in program history, but continuing their winning ways will be a challenge again this weekend.
New Mexico State is 18-7 on the season, with five losses to top-10 teams. The Aggies have been especially tough at home, posting a 11-4 record with all four losses coming to top-10 foes. Nebraska opened the season with a doubleheader at New Mexico State last season, dropping both games to the Aggies.
For the win streak to continue, Nebraska will need continued production from its offense, as New Mexico State is averaging more than seven runs per game. The Husker offense has been terrific during the nine-game win streak. NU has scored at least six runs in eight of the last nine games, with the lone exception being a 1-0 upset of top-ranked Florida last Saturday.
During the nine-game win streak, Nebraska is averaging 7.4 runs per game, outscoring its opponents 67-15. The Huskers are batting .395 as a team during that stretch with 22 doubles and five home runs.
Freshman Taylor Edwards has contributed 16 RBIs during the win streak, including an active streak of seven consecutive games producing at least one RBI. The seven-game RBI streak is the second of Edwards' young career and is tied for the longest streak in Husker history.
In the circle, junior right-hander Ashley Hagemann has been downright dominant during the Huskers' nine-game win streak. Hagemann has appeared in seven of the nine games, posting a 6-0 record with one save and a 0.90 ERA in 31.0 innings. She has added 46 strikeouts and limited opposing hitters to a paltry .155 batting average during that stretch.
Scouting the New Mexico State Aggies (18-7)
New Mexico State enters the weekend series with an 18-7 overall record after dropping both games of a doubleheader with No. 7 Arizona on Wednesday. Five of the Aggies' seven losses have come to top-10 teams, including all four of their home losses (11-4).
The Aggies boast a powerful offense. NMSU is batting .332 as a team and is averaging 7.2 runs per game. Hoku Nohara is one of two Aggies batting better than .400, as she leads the team with a .464 average, 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 23 walks. Kandis Jones is batting .424 with a team-high eight doubles, while Tiare Jennings is hitting .356 with four home runs and 20 RBIs.
Defensively, New Mexico State is allowing an average of 5.5 runs per game and opponents are batting .311 against the Aggies. Six pitchers have seen action for NMSU this season. Alex Newman has seen the most time, posting an 11-1 record with a 3.12 ERA in 60.2 innings. Carissa Theis and Celisha Walker have each earned five starts. Theis is 1-1 with a 4.77 ERA in 22.0 innings, while Walker is 0-3 with a 7.52 ERA in 22.1 innings. Sydney Williard (2-1, 5.09 ERA, 11.0 IP), Alex Villalobos (1-0, 5.53 ERA, 19.0 IP) and Kelsey Schueler (2-1, 6.71 ERA in 24.0 IP) round out the Aggie staff.
Nebraska leads the all-time series 5-4, but the Aggies swept a season-opening doubleheader from the Huskers last season. Eight of the nine all-time meetings have come in Las Cruces, where the series is tied 4-4.
Scouting the UTEP Miners (12-12)
UTEP brings a 12-12 record into a four-game weekend series with Marist before hosting the Huskers on Tuesday. The Miners have lost four of their last five games, but have won six of seven at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex, where UTEP is 6-4 this season. UTEP and Nebraska share one common opponent this season in North Texas. Both teams faced the Mean Green on the road, with the Huskers earning a 4-1 victory and the Miners falling by a score of 7-0.
UTEP is averaging 5.3 runs per game, but the Miners are allowing an average of 5.4 runs per contest. UTEP has shown power this season, averaging 2.3 extra-base hits per game while slugging .419 as a team. Chelsea Troupe is batting a team-high .382 as one of three Miners hitting above .300. Troupe also leads the team with eight homers, 20 RBIs and an .809 slugging percentage. Kia Moore is batting .324, while Kayleigh Walts is hitting .310.
In the circle, UTEP has utilized a four-pitcher rotation. Courtney Auger has seen the most action, starting 10 of the Miners' 24 games. She is 5-6 on the season with a 4.71 ERA in 63.0 innings. She has added 53 strikeouts and opponents are hitting .234 against her, as Auger is the only UTEP pitcher holding opponents under a .300 average. Megan Atchison has also seen extensive action, posting a 3-3 record with a 5.88 ERA in 41.1 innings. Joanna Krienitz (2-1, 7.06 ERA in 21.2 IP) and Laura Ramos (2-2, 7.77 ERA in 24.1 IP) round out the Miner staff.
Nebraska is 1-0 all-time against UTEP, earning a 6-4 victory for its first win of the 2010 season in Las Cruces, N.M.
The information below provides a quick glimpse of a few statistics and brief notes of interest as the Huskers open an eight-game road trip with a four-game series at New Mexico State this weekend:
Nebraska owns an all-time record of 413-240 (.632) in the month of March. The Huskers have posted a winning month of March in each of the last 15 seasons dating back to 1994.
NU has allowed a total of 45 runs in 23 games this season, an average of 2.0 runs per game. That total could be even lower, as 21 of the 45 runners who have scored (47 percent) reached base via a walk or hit-by-pitch.
Nebraska has yet to be shut out through the first 23 games this season. Only five times in school history - including this year - has a Husker team not been shut out at least once in the first 20 games of the season. The Huskers' current 23-game streak without being shut out is the fourth-longest season-opening streak in school history. The longest is 39 games to open the 1996 season, followed by 34 (2002), 29 (1995) and 22 (2003).
Nebraska has won 19 of its last 20 games, including a 10-game win streak and a current nine-game win streak.
Freshman Taylor Edwards has hit safely in 17 of her last 18 games, including a current seven-game hitting streak. The only time Edwards was held without a hit during that stretch was against Long Island, when she was 0-for-2 to end her 11-game hitting streak. Edwards was due up in the bottom of the sixth inning in that game, but never had the chance to bat as Nebraska's travel plans halted the game after the top of the sixth inning with NU leading 6-2. Edwards has reached base safely in 19 straight games.
For the second time in her young career, Edwards has produced an RBI in seven consecutive games, tying the Nebraska record.
Junior Nikki Haget has hit safely in eight consecutive games and scored a run in nine consecutive contests.
Senior Julie Brechtel enters play this weekend with 95 career RBIs.
Senior Heidi Foland enters play this weekend with 97 career runs scored.
Huskers Enjoy Record-Breaking Home Opener
Nebraska won its home opener for the sixth straight season on Wednesday, run-ruling South Dakota 14-0 in five innings at Bowlin Stadium. The win was historic for several reasons, but none more so than it marked Head Coach Rhonda Revelle's 700th victory at Nebraska. Revelle is only the second coach to win 700 games at Nebraska. The win was also historic as the Huskers set a Bowlin Stadium record with 14 runs and a 14-run margin of victory in their 10th season at the stadium. NU completed a doubleheader sweep of the Coyotes with a 6-5 win in game two.
Haget Continues Hot Hitting
Junior Nikki Haget continued her impressive start to the season by collecting 10 hits in five games at the Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla., last weekend. She hit .589 (10-for-17) at the tournament with one double, two RBIs, four stolen bases and nine runs scored.
Haget began the tournament with a 6-for-7 day against Radford and Maryland that also included five runs scored. She then went 2-for-3 with a career-high three stolen bases against La Salle the next day. During her hot start to the tournament, Haget had a hit in six consecutive at bats. In Nebraska's 1-0 upset of top-ranked Florida, Haget began the game with an infield single and came around to score the game's only run.
Haget continued to roll in Nebraska's home doubleheader with South Dakota on Wednesday. In the two games, Haget went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI. Haget has now hit safely in eight straight games, including five multi-hit efforts during that stretch. She has also scored a run in nine straight games, including five games where she scored at least two runs.
Hagemann Dominant in the Circle
Junior right-hander Ashley Hagemann is enjoying the best start of her career, as she has already matched her career high in victories. Hagemann has appeared in 19 of Nebraska's 23 games, posting a 15-1 record with a 1.12 ERA and two saves in 93.2 innings.
Since suffering her only loss to then-No. 1 Arizona in the third game of the season, Hagemann has been dominant. Since that loss, Hagemann is 14-0 with a 0.76 ERA, four shutouts and one save. She has thrown 82.2 innings during that stretch, striking out 109 and allowing only 38 hits, as opponents have batted just .136 against her. Included in those totals are two starts against top-10 teams Hawaii (then-No. 10) and Florida (then-No. 1). Hagemann shut out both of those teams, allowing a total of only three hits including a 12.0-inning hitless streak.
After another impressive performance last weekend that included a two-hit shutout of the top-ranked Gators, Hagemann leads the Big 12 in wins and tied for the league lead in appearances (19). Hagemann also ranks among the top five league pitchers in innings (2nd, 93.2), saves (2nd, 2), strikeouts (4th, 127), shutouts (4th, 4) and opponent batting average (4th, .157).
Hagemann On 14-Game Win Streak
Junior right-hander Ashley Hagemann is 15-1 this season and she was the first pitcher in the country to reach the 10-win mark in 2011. Hagemann's only loss this season is to sixth-ranked Arizona, a loss she suffered in the third game of the season. Since that loss, Hagemann has won 14 consecutive decisions - including a one-hit shutout of No. 10 Hawaii and a two-hit shutout of No. 1 Florida - to help Nebraska to a 21-2 record and the best start in school history
Hagemann is the first Husker pitcher to win 10 consecutive decisions since Molly Hill won 11 games in a row during March and April of the 2006 season. A Husker hurler hasn't won 15 games in a row since Peaches James won 15 straight decisions during her All-American senior season in 2004. Hagemann could match James' streak with a win in her next decision.
Taylor Edwards Driving in Runs at Record Pace
Freshman Taylor Edwards has produced 36 RBIs in her first 23 career games, as she is only 10 RBIs from cracking the NU all-time top 10. Edwards has driven in at least one run in 18 of her 23 games this season, including 13 games with at least two RBIs. In the first two weekends of her career, Edwards produced at least one RBI in seven straight games, fueled by her NCAA-record six-game home run streak. The seven straight games with an RBI tied the school record, as Ali Viola (1995) and Lisa Wangler (2003) also produced seven-game streaks. Edwards is currently on a five-game RBI streak. Edwards has again driven in at least one run in her last seven games, as she looks to establish the best RBI streak in school history against New Mexico State on Friday.
Edwards reached the 30-RBI mark last weekend, driving in 10 runs in five games in Florida. She produced her 30th RBI of the season with a solo home run against Central Connecticut State in the 21st game of the season. Edwards reached 30 RBIs faster than any player in Nebraska history, as the previous best was 30 games by Viola in 1996. Edwards was also the fourth-fastest Husker to reach the 20-RBI mark, producing her 20th RBI in the 13th game of the season.