NEB Softball: Huskers host Wichita State at Bowlin Stadium

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

The 23rd-ranked Nebraska softball team hosts its first home games this weekend, when NU welcomes Wichita State to Bowlin Stadium for a three-game series.

The teams will meet on Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. before the rubber match on Sunday at 1 p.m. Nebraska (10-3) has entered the national rankings after posting a 2-2 record last weekend while facing three top-10 opponents.

Tickets are available online at Huskers.com/tickets, over the phone by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED or on game day at the Bowlin Stadium ticket window.

Reserved single-game tickets cost $7 and general admission tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth/seniors. GA seating at Bowlin Stadium includes one section of chairback seating in section 102.

Season ticket plans are also available. A reserved season ticket is available for $78, with general admission season tickets available for $49 (adult) and $25 (youth/senior).

Forecasts call for sunny skies with a high of 61 degrees on Saturday and 70 on Sunday. Fans unable to take advantage of the nice weather can follow all of the action online. Nate Rohr will have a free radio call for Huskers.com, courtesy of the IMG Husker Sports Network.

All three games this weekend will feature a live video stream for BTN Plus subscribers. BTN Plus productions are student-run broadcasts. A monthly subscription to BTN Plus costs $9.95 for a Nebraska subscription or $14.95 for a Big Ten subscription, which includes access to all 14 Big Ten schools.

This Week’s Top 10

  1. Nebraska entered the national rankings at No. 23 this week, marking the first time the Huskers have been ranked since Feb. 10, 2015.
  2. Nebraska went 10-3 in February, becoming only the fifth Husker team to win 10 games in February.
  3. Nebraska just completed an eight-game stretch against 2015 NCAA Tournament teams, posting a 5-3 record in that stretch.
  4. Wichita State was the preseason pick to win the Missouri Valley Conference, and the Shockers beat the Huskers twice in Wichita last season.
  5. The Huskers are 13-1 in home openers at Bowlin Stadium and have won 10 straight home openers.
  6. Saturday’s doubleheader represents the earliest scheduled home game in school history.
  7. The only home game Nebraska has played before March 5 was an impromptu doubleheader with Division II Missouri Western on March 1, 2006, with the doubleheader scheduled one day earlier.
  8. Five of Nebraska’s last eight games have been decided in the seventh inning or later.
  9. Nebraska is 5-1 this season when trailing after seven innings and 2-1 when trailing after six.
  10. MJ Knighten ranks second nationally with eight home runs, the most by a Husker after the first 13 games of a season.

Huskers Off to Strong Start
Nebraska went 10-3 in the season’s opening month, with two losses to top-10 teams.

• The Huskers went 10-3 in February after posting a 6-9 February record in 2015.

• Nebraska posted double-digit victories in February for just the fifth time in program history.

• The Huskers matched the best nine-game (8-1) and 10-game (9-1) starts in school history.

Don’t Count Out The Huskers
Nebraska has shown an uncanny ability to come from behind in late innings this season, as the seventh inning of Husker games has become must-see softball.

• Nebraska is 5-1 when trailing after five innings and 2-1 when trailing after six innings. In 2015, the Huskers were 1-17 when trailing after five innings and 0-17 when trailing after six innings.

• NU is 3-1 in one-run games this season after going 1-6 in one-run games last year.

• The Huskers have rallied from a seventh-inning deficit to take the lead in four of their 13 games, going on to win three of those games.

• Nebraska has rallied from a multiple-run seventh-inning deficit twice.

• NU trailed 4-1 at Northern Iowa before rallying for a 7-4 eight-inning victory on Feb. 12.

• The Huskers trailed No. 9 Washington, 3-0, on Feb. 28, but rallied to take a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh, only to lose 6-5 in nine innings.

• Nebraska has lost a seventh-inning lead four times this season – all in the past six games – but the Huskers have still won two of those games.

• The Huskers have scored 17 runs in the seventh inning, their highest total of any inning.

• Nebraska has allowed 12 seventh-inning runs, its highest total of any inning.

• NU has produced the winning run in the sixth inning or later in five of its 10 victories.

Huskers and the Home Opener
Nebraska is 13-1 in home openers since Bowlin Stadium opened in 2002, with the lone loss coming to Creighton in 2005. The Huskers have won 10 straight home openers.

Nebraska Earns First Ranking
Nebraska made its first appearance in the national rankings this week, coming in at No. 23 in the NFCA poll.

• Nebraska is ranked for the first time in more than a year. The Huskers last cracked the NFCA poll with a No. 19 ranking in the second poll of last season (Feb. 10).

• NU has been ranked in at least one weekly NFCA poll in 19 of the 22 seasons the poll has existed. Nebraska never appeared in any 2008, 2009 or 2010 NFCA poll.

Knighten Leading Home Run Barrage
Led by junior MJ Knighten, who ranks second nationally with eight home runs, the Huskers have displayed plenty of power through the first three weeks of the season.

• Nebraska has hit 20 home runs in only 13 games. The 2013 Huskers are the only other team in school history to hit 20 home runs before the 20th game of the season, reaching the mark in the 19th game of the year.

• The Huskers rank eighth nationally in home runs per game (1.5) and 12th in total home runs (20).

• Fifty-one percent of Nebraska’s total runs this season have scored on a home run (35 of 69).

Pitching Much Improved From 2015
Although the season is only one month old, Nebraska’s pitching staff has shown big improvement from last year.

• Nebraska’s ERA is more than 3.00 runs lower this season than it was in February of 2015.

• Cassie McClure boasts a 1.63 ERA this spring after posting a 3.29 ERA in February of 2015.

• Emily Lockman owns a 3.03 ERA this season after posting a 6.73 ERA in February of 2015.

Knighten on Torrid Pace
Junior MJ Knighten is off to a sizzling start this season, batting .478 with 22 hits, 16 runs, eight homers and 20 RBIs in only 13 games.

• Knighten has matched her 2015 total with eight homers.

• Knighten hit her eighth home run in the 12th game this season, the fastest a Husker has hit eight home runs. In 1998, Ali Viola slugged her eighth home run in the 17th game of the season, which was the previous record.

• At her current pace, Knighten would finish with 33 home runs in Nebraska’s 53 scheduled regular-season games. The Husker season record is 22 home runs by Ali Viola in 1998, and by itself, a 33-home run season would rank sixth on Nebraska’s career home run chart.

• Knighten ranks second nationally in home runs, third in home runs per game (0.6), 12th in slugging percentage (1.043), 16th in RBIs per game (1.5) and 33rd in runs per game (1.5).

• Knighten leads Big Ten in home runs and slugging percentage, while ranking second in hits, third in batting average and RBIs and fourth in runs scored.

McClure Pitching Well
Junior Cassie McClure is putting up strong numbers in the circle for Nebraska this season, benefitting from a full offseason of development with pitching coach Lori Sippel.

• McClure is 6-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 30.0 innings.

• She leads Nebraska in wins, appearances (10), complete games (2), shutouts (1), saves, innings, strikeouts (30) and opponent average (.214).

• McClure ranks fifth nationally in saves and 25th in wins.

• McClure ranks second in the Big Ten in saves, fourth in wins and ERA and 10th in strikeouts (30).

• McClure has allowed one earned run or less in nine of her 10 appearances, including five scoreless outings.

• In her career (including her freshman season at Texas Tech in 2014), McClure has allowed two earned runs or less in 39 of her 48 appearances.

• McClure is 2-0 with a 0.58 ERA as a starter this spring. She threw her first career shutout against Green Bay on Feb. 14 and her first seven-inning complete game vs. San Diego State on Feb. 27.

• McClure is 7-3 as a starter in her Nebraska career.

• As a reliever, McClure is 8-2 with seven saves, which is tied for ninth in Husker history.

Metzler Settling into Left Field Role
Sophomore Gina Metzler has started a team-high 10 games in left field this season, including nine straight. She has earned the starting left field spot with a productive opening month.

• Metzler is batting .360 with a .407 on-base percentage, ranking fourth on the team in both categories.

• She has totaled nine hits in 25 at bats this season, after totaling six hits in 29 at bats as a freshman in 2015.

• Metzler has also produced her first career extra-base this season and her second career RBI.

• Metzler has been Nebraska’s primary No. 9 hitter, and she has set the table for the top of the order by reaching base as a leadoff hitter 57 percent of the time.