NEB Softball: Huskers Head to Tallahassee This Weekend

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Huskers Head to Tallahassee This Weekend
The 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team travels to Tallahassee, Fla., this weekend for a challenging five-game schedule on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at JoAnne Graf Field on the Florida State campus.

Nebraska opens the Unconquered Invitational by facing a pair of ACC foes on Friday, squaring off against Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. (Central) and No. 6 Florida State at 4:30 p.m. (Central). The Huskers face the Yellow Jackets again at 9 a.m. (Central) Saturday, followed by a matchup with 4-1 Western Kentucky at 11:30 a.m. (Central). NU wraps up the tournament at 11:30 a.m. (Central) Sunday with a second matchup against the host Seminoles.

Fans can listen to every pitch this weekend for free on, with Nate Rohr calling all of the action. Live stats will also be available.

After putting up explosive offensive numbers while winning the season-opening Hotel Encanto Invitational title last weekend, Nebraska is likely to find itself in lower-scoring games this weekend.

NU averaged 11 runs per game last weekend, scoring 55 runs in five games. This weekend’s opponents have allowed only 40 runs in 15 games.

Georgia Tech surrendered only 15 runs in five games last weekend while posting a 1.97 ERA. Florida State has allowed only one earned run through five games, and the Seminoles have surrendered a total of only 10 runs. Western Kentucky ace Miranda Kramer is the reigning NFCA National Player of the Week. Kramer has not allowed a run in 18.0 innings this season, and she tossed a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts against Troy last weekend.

This Week’s Top 10

  1. Nebraska has scored at least 11 runs in its last four games, marking the first time NU has tallied double-figure runs in four straight games.
  2. The Huskers scored 55 runs in five games last weekend, the most runs over the first five games in school history.
  3. Nebraska posted just the second combined no-hitter in school history against Montana.
  4. Rhonda Revelle is three wins shy of 850 victories at Nebraska.
  5. Nebraska has defeated a top-10 opponent in the month of February in three of the last five years (2010, 2011, 2013).
  6. Fifteen Huskers earned a start last weekend after only 14 Huskers earned starts in all of 2014.
  7. Fifteen Huskers scored at least one run last weekend. Only 14 Huskers scored in 2014.
  8. Nebraska leads the Big Ten in average (.449), runs (55), hits (66), RBIs (51), home runs (6) and on-base percentage (.523).
  9. Cassie McClure became just the second Husker newcomer to win three games in her debut weekend and the first since Melanie Raimondi in 1994.
  10. Kiki Stokes and Alicia Armstrong, Nebraska’s Nos. 1 and 2 hitters in the lineup, are the top two Big Ten leaders in hits, home runs and RBIs.

Husker Get Offensive in Week One
The Husker offense was nearly unstoppable in the opening weekend. Nebraska scored nine runs in the season opener against Colorado State, marking the sixth-highest season-opening run total in program history. But as it turns out, that would be the fewest runs the Huskers scored in their five games, tallying at least 11 runs in their final four contests.

  • The Huskers set a school record by becoming the first team in program history to total double-digit runs in four consecutive games.
  • Nebraska scored 55 runs in five games in the opening weekend, averaging 11.0 runs per game. The 55 runs were the most runs a Husker team has ever scored in the first five games of a season.
  • The Huskers’ 55 runs also ranked among the most prolific five-game stretches in school history. NU scored 50 runs in a five-game stretch for just the fifth time in the 40-year history of Nebraska softball.
  • Nebraska posted a .449 team batting average in Las Cruces. Five Huskers hit at least .500 in the opening weekend.
  • After the big opening weekend, the Huskers lead the Big Ten Conference in average (.449), on-base percentage (.523), runs (55), hits (66), RBIs (51), home runs (6), total bases (93) and hit-by-pitches (7).

Team Effort in Opening Weekend
All 18 members of Nebraska’s active roster saw action at the season-opening Hotel Encanto Invitational last weekend. Eight Husker newcomers made their career debuts, with seven of those newcomers earning at least one start. Twelve Huskers produced a hit last weekend and 15 of Nebraska’s 16 offensive players scored a run.

Overall, 14 of Nebraska’s 16 active position players earned at least one start in the opening weekend. Senior Kylee Muir (RF), juniors Alicia Armstrong (SS) and Kiki Stokes (CF), sophomores MJ Knighten (3B) and Cassie McClure (P/DP) and freshman Laura Barrow (2B) were the only Huskers to start every game, as Nebraska utilized the deepest roster it has had in years.

In the circle, all four Husker hurlers pitched last weekend, including career debuts for McClure and freshmen Caitlin Bartsch and Kaylan Jablonski. McClure, Jablonski and junior Emily Lockman each started at least one game.

Stokes Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Junior Kiki Stokes produced a big opening weekend, and she was honored for her performance by being named the Big Ten Player of the Week. It was the first career weekly honor for the Olathe, Kan., native.

  • Stokes hit .650 in five games, going 13-for-20 at the plate with one double, two home runs and 10 RBIs out of the leadoff spot in the Husker order. She posted a 1.000 slugging percentage and reached base at a .682 clip.
  • Stokes hit safely in all five games, including four multi-hit efforts. She also scored a run in every game, scoring multiple runs in four contests. Stokes had three games with multiple RBIs.
  • Stokes hit home runs in back-to-back games for the first time in her career (New Mexico State and Montana).
  • Stokes hit her first career grand slam against Montana, when she finished with a career-high four RBIs.
  • Stokes set a career high with four hits against Texas Tech as part of a 4-for-4 day that also included a walk.
  • Stokes had nine hits in her final 12 at bats and reached base safely in eight of her final nine plate appearances.
  • Stokes’ final hit against UTSA was her 100th career hit.
  • Stokes is the Big Ten leader in hits (13), runs scored (10), RBIs (10) and total bases (20), while she ranks second in the league in average (.650), home runs (2), stolen bases (3) and slugging percentage (1.000).

Milestone Watch
Junior Kiki Stokes had 13 hits in just five games last weekend, and her final hit of the weekend marked her 100th career hit. Stokes joins classmate Alicia Armstrong and senior Steph Pasquale as the only Huskers with 100 career hits.

Pasquale, a first-year transfer from Temple, produced seven hits in her first 14 at bats as a Husker. She enters this weekend with 196 career hits, four shy of 200.

Junior Mattie Fowler could become the fourth Husker with 100 career hits, as she is 11 shy of the mark.

Career Highs Aplenty in Opening Weekend
In addition to a slew of career firsts from NU’s six freshmen, several veterans set career highs last weekend.

  • Senior Kylee Muir tied her career high in hits (2).
  • Junior Alicia Armstrong tied her career highs in hits (3) and home runs (2).
  • Junior Mattie Fowler tied her career high in runs (2).
  • Junior Kiki Stokes set a career high with four hits and matched her career highs in runs (3), RBIs (3), doubles (1) and homers (1).
  • Sophomore MJ Knighten tied her career highs in hits (3), runs (2) and doubles (1).
  • Sophomores Rachel Arthur and Lotte Sjulin both tied their career highs in runs scored (1).

NU Tosses Combined No-Hitter
A pair of newcomers teamed up to throw just the second combined no-hitter in Nebraska history on Feb. 7 against Montana. Freshman Kaylan Jablonski made her first career start and threw the first 3.0 innings of the six-inning no-hitter, while sophomore Cassie McClure closed out the final 3.0 innings and earned the win.

  • The no-hitter was the 37th in program history.
  • The no-hitter occurred in the third game of the season, making it the second-earliest no-hitter in school history.
  • It was only the second combined no-hitter in Nebraska history and the first since All-Americans Leigh Ann Walker and Jenny Voss combined on a seven-inning no-hitter against Kansas on May 13, 1999.
  • Despite throwing a no-hitter, Nebraska allowed four runs (two earned). The Grizzlies scored twice on RBI ground outs and twice on wild pitches.
  • Although it wasn’t a solo effort, Jablonski became just the sixth Husker freshman pitcher to be involved in a no-hitter.

McClure Homers in First Husker At Bat
Sophomore Cassie McClure, a mid-year transfer from Texas Tech, had an impressive debut weekend for the Huskers.

  • McClure homered in her first at bat as a Husker against Colorado State. She is the fourth Husker to homer in her first Nebraska at bat since 2000.
  • McClure also earned the win against Colorado State in her NU debut, marking her first career decision. She tossed her first career complete game against the Rams.
  • Offensively, McClure went 6-for-12 (.500) in her debut weekend, adding one homer and two RBIs.
  • McClure also drew six walks, including three intentional walks. She leads the Big Ten in both categories.
  • In the circle, McClure went 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four appearances and one start. As a freshman at Texas Tech in 2014, McClure made no starts and was 0-0 with a 3.41 ERA in nine relief appearances.

Armstrong ‘Back’ in Action
Following offseason back surgery, junior Alicia Armstrong missed Nebraska’s fall exhibition season. She returned in a big way last weekend, showing no ill effects from her offseason surgery.

  • Armstrong hit .625 (10-for-16) in the opening weekend with three home runs and nine RBIs.
  • Armstrong produced her second career two-homer game against New Mexico State in the second game of the year.
  • Armstrong twice tied her career high with three hits.
  • Armstrong hit safely in all five games, including three multi-hit efforts.
  • Armstrong reached base in 14 of her 20 plate appearances.
  • Thanks to the big weekend, Armstrong leads the Big Ten in homers (3), hit-by-pitches (3) and slugging percentage (1.188), while ranking second in hits (10), RBIs (9) and total bases (19).

Fowler Returns for Big Red
Nebraska had its captain back last weekend, as junior Mattie Fowler returned after missing most of the 2014 season. Fowler appeared in the first 11 games last season, before suffering a torn ACL. She underwent season-ending surgery and was awarded a medical hardship for the 2014 season and a fifth year of eligibility.

A three-time captain, Fowler started three of Nebraska’s five games at first base at the season-opening Hotel Encanto Invitational last weekend. In addition to playing perfect defense at first base, Fowler went 2-for-6 at the plate (.333) with an RBI. She also drew six walks to post a .556 on-base percentage.

Huskers Face First Ranked Team
Nebraska will face its first ranked opponent of the season when it takes on host Florida State on Friday and Sunday. The Seminoles are ranked sixth in the NFCA Coaches’ poll, while Nebraska is No. 19.

NU was 9-11 vs. ranked teams in 2014, including 5-2 on the road and 1-5 vs. top-10 foes.

Scouting Georgia Tech (0-5)
Georgia Tech went 0-5 last weekend, but each of the Yellow Jackets’ five games were decided by two runs or less. Georgia Tech also held its opponents to four or fewer runs every game and faced three Power Conference opponents (Kansas, Penn State and Arkansas).

Katie Johnsky paced the team with a .273 average last weekend, and she drew five walks to post a .500 on-base percentage. Samantha Pierannuzi hit .250 in the opening weekend and Johnsky and Pierannuzi combined for two of Georgia Tech’s three doubles.

Courtney Ziese was just 1-for-13 last week, but she hit one of the Yellow Jackets’ two home runs and drove in two of Georgia Tech’s six runs.

In the circle, Kylie Kleinschmidt is 0-3 despite a 1.24 ERA and a .161 opponent batting average. Emily Anderson is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA and has thrown two complete games.

Shelly Hoerner is 23-28 in her second season at Georgia Tech. She is 458-331 in 15 years as a head coach.

Scouting Florida State (4-1)
Florida State, ranked sixth, is 4-1 this season, including splitting a pair of games last weekend with then-No. 6 Kentucky in a battle of 2014 World Series squads.

The Seminoles’ strength is pitching. Lacy Waldrop, the 2014 USA Softball Player of the Year, and sophomore Jessica Burroughs have been fantastic this year. Waldrop is 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .094 against her and have struck out 29 times in 16.0 innings. Opponents have also struck out 29 times in 16.0 innings against Burroughs, who is 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA, having allowed seven unearned runs. Overall, nine of the 10 runs FSU has allowed this season have been unearned.

Offensively, Jessica Warren is one of three Seminoles hitting a team-high .333, along with Bailey Schinella and Alex Powers. Warren and Powers have each homered twice, while Schinella is the only other Seminole to homer. The trio has also produced 16 of FSU’s 24 RBIs, with Schinella driving in seven, Warren five and Powers four.

Lonnie Alameda owns an impressive 269-107 record in her seventh season at Florida State. Alameda owns a 426-265-1 career record, including a 2-5 record vs. Nebraska.

Scouting Western Kentucky (4-1)
Western Kentucky went 4-1 in its opening weekend, outscoring its opponents 37-8 in the four victories.

Shawna Sadler was one of three Lady Toppers to hit .500 or better last weekend, along with Larissa Franklin and Dani Pugh. Sadler batted .529 (9-for-17) with three RBIs and three stolen bases. Franklin went 10-for-20 with a team-high 10 hits, while Pugh was 6-for-12 with three homers and a 1.333 slugging percentage. Pugh totaled 18 RBIs, averaging more than three RBIs per game.

In the circle, Miranda Kramer is the reigning NFCA National Player of the Week. Kramer, who tossed a no-hitter with a school-record 19 strikeouts against Troy, went 3-0 on the week and did not allow a run in 18.0 innings. The left-hander allowed only four hits – holding opponents to a .070 batting average – and struck out 38, an average of 14.8 strikeouts per seven innings.

Amy Tudor is in her second season at her alma mater, where she owns a 37-25-1 record. Tudor is 254-231-2 in her career and 209-198-2 at the Division I level.