Posted By: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Media Relations
The Nebraska softball team kicks off its 2018 season this weekend at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Huskers will play a total of six games, with two games each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The tournament, hosted by Arizona State, will feature 26 softball teams from around the country, including teams from four of the five power conferences. All ASU games will be played at the Sun Devils’ home field - Farrington Stadium. All other games will be held at the Tempe Sports Complex.
Nebraska will open the season on Friday afternoon against No. 19 BYU at 3:15 p.m. (CT). Later that evening, the Huskers will take on No. 23 Arizona State beginning at 8:30 p.m. The following day, the Big Red face No. 15 Utah (10 a.m. CT) and San Diego State (3 p.m. CT). On the final day of the tournament, NU takes on Cal State Northridge at 10 a.m. and Seattle at 12:30 p.m.
Nebraska’s first three contests will be against teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Preseason Coaches Poll.
BYU holds the No. 19 spot, after going undefeated at home last season for just the second time with a 16-0 mark. Additionally, the Cougars won their ninth straight conference title with a 14-1 record in the West Coast Conference and advanced to an NCAA Regional for the 13th year in a row.
Arizona State is ranked 23rd after finishing 2017 with a 31-22 record that included a 9-15 mark in Pac-12 play. The 31 wins on the year marked the team’s 22nd straight 30-win season, and 23rd straight winning season.
Utah is the highest ranked team the Huskers will face, coming in at No. 15. The Utes finished 37-16 in 2017, their best record since 1997, and also had their best mark in Pac-12 play (13-9) since joining the conference in 2012. The Utes reached the postseason for the 21st time and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year, a program first. Utah also advanced to a second straight NCAA Super Regional.
Although the remaining three competitors are not ranked, the teams will still be challenging for the Huskers. San Diego State finished the 2017 campaign with a 31-18 overall record - its 12th consecutive 30-win season - and a 15-9 mark and runner-up finish in the Mountain West Conference. Cal State Northridge finished the 2017 season with a 31-22 overall record, which included a second-place finish in the Big West Conference.
Seattle went 20-32 in 2017 and appeared in its first-ever Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship game. In the WAC, the Redhawks tied for third in the regular season, winning seven conference games - their most since the 2013 campaign.
There will be a live radio stream for all six games on Huskers.com courtesy of IMG and the Husker Sports Network. NU’s game against ASU will be televised on the Pac-12 Network (AZ) and will be streamed on pac-12.com. All other games, except for the game against Utah will be available on FloSoftball.com for a subscription fee. Fans can also follow all the action on Twitter (@HuskerSoftball).