NEB Softball: NU Ready for First Big Ten Series With Rutgers

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

LINCOLN – The Nebraska softball team takes its five-game winning streak to an unfamiliar locale this weekend when the Huskers travel to Piscataway, N.J., for a three-game Big Ten Conference series with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Nebraska is set to play its first games in the state of New Jersey in program history while facing Rutgers for the first time in 27 years. Due to travel difficulties, the first conference series between the two programs will now begin with a Saturday doubleheader at 11 a.m. (Central). Sunday’s series finale is set for its original 10 a.m. (Central) start.

Fans can follow this weekend’s series online as Huskers.com will carry a free radio broadcast of all three games while BTN Plus subscribers can watch all three games live.

The Huskers, who are in the midst of playing eight consecutive Big Ten road games, head into their first conference series with Rutgers riding a season-long five-game winning streak. Nebraska began its Big Ten road trip with a three-game sweep of No. 22 Wisconsin last weekend in Madison, giving the Huskers eight wins in their last 10 conference road games dating back to last season.

After posting the first three-game sweep of a ranked conference opponent in program history, the Huskers continued their winning ways by sweeping Iowa State in a home doubleheader on Wednesday.

Nebraska is averaging 6.2 runs per game during its five-game win streak, while allowing only 3.0 runs per game. Prior to the streak, NU was averaging 3.4 runs per game and allowing 6.7 runs per game.

This Week’s Top 10

1) According to the most recent NCAA statistics released on Monday, Nebraska has played the nation’s most difficult schedule based on opponent winning percentage (.666).

2) The Huskers have played 21 of their 33 games against teams who have been ranked in the NFCA top 25 at least once this season.

3) Nebraska has played only 12 games against teams who have been unranked all season, and the Huskers are 9-3 in those 12 games.

4) NU climbed 22 spots to No. 54 in Monday’s NCAA RPI ranking.

5) The Huskers have won a season-high five consecutive games.

6) NU has allowed 15 runs in its five-game win streak after allowing 47 runs in its previous five games.

7) The Huskers’ three-game sweep at No. 22 Wisconsin marked NU’s first three-game sweep of a ranked conference opponent in school history.

8) Nebraska and Rutgers have not played since a 4-2 Husker win at the Pony Classic in Fullerton, Calif., on March 22, 1990.

9) The Huskers will play their first game ever in the state of New Jersey on Saturday.

10) Kaylan Jablonski was named the National Player of the Week by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and USA Softball on Tuesday. She is the first Husker to earn that honor since 2004.

Nebraska at Home on the Road in Big Ten Play

Nebraska has been one of the best road teams in Big Ten play since the Huskers joined the league in 2012.

• Nebraska boasts a 38-22 record in Big Ten road games, including a 3-0 mark this season.

• NU has won eight of its last 10 Big Ten road games.

• Over the past five seasons, Nebraska is 34-14 in road conference games and 33-15 at home.

• The Huskers have won 14 of their 17 Big Ten road series since the start of the 2013 season. The only series losses in that stretch were at Illinois and at No. 24 Minnesota last season, while Nebraska split a road doubleheader at Wisconsin in 2014.

• Nebraska has not lost a road conference series in three of the last four seasons (4-0 in 2013 road series; 3-0-1 in 2014 road series; 4-0 in 2015 road series).

• The Huskers have posted the third-most road victories and third-most overall wins in Big Ten Conference play since joining the league in 2012.

Jablonski at Her Best in Big Ten Play

Junior Kaylan Jablonski, the reigning Big Ten and National Player of the Week, has been at her best during Big Ten Conference play.

• Jablonski is 14-5 with a 3.47 ERA in her Big Ten career, which includes 27 appearances, 18 starts and 121.0 innings pitched.

• By comparison, Jablonski is 9-16 with a 5.78 ERA in her 49 appearances, 31 starts and 174.2 innings pitched in non-conference and postseason play.

• Two of Jablonski’s three career shutouts and six of her 12 complete games have come in conference play.

• Offensively, Jablonski is a .284 career hitter in conference play, compared to a .242 career batting average in non-conference and postseason play.

• Twenty of Jablonski’s 42 career RBIs have come during conference play, as have three of her eight career home runs and nine of her 27 extra-base hits.

Jablonski Named Big Ten & National Player of the Week

Junior Kaylan Jablonski was named the Big Ten co-Player of the Week on Monday, earning the first weekly award of her career. Then on Tuesday, Jablonski was recognized as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week and the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week. Jablonski was honored after leading Nebraska to a three-game sweep at No. 22 Wisconsin.

• Jablonski became the first Husker to be named the National Player of the Week since All-American Peaches James was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week twice during the 2004 season.

• Jablonski was the winning pitcher in all three games at No. 22 Wisconsin. She went 3-0 against a Badger team that entered the series with a 23-3 record.

• Jablonski threw all but two innings of the three-game series and allowed only seven runs against a Wisconsin offense that entered the series ranked fourth nationally in scoring, averaging 7.3 runs per game.

• Jablonski accounted for seven runs by herself with four RBIs and three runs scored, matching the total runs she allowed to Wisconsin in the circle.

• Although she did not earn a start, Jablonski tossed 20.0 innings of relief and threw 342 pitches in the three games, posting a 3-0 record with a 2.45 ERA.

• Offensively, Jablonski was 6-for-11 (.545) in the series with three doubles, one home run and four RBIs.

• Jablonski posted her fourth straight victory in game one Wednesday vs. Iowa State while going 2-for-6 offensively in the doubleheader with a homer and two RBIs.

Nebraska Click in All Phases During Win Streak

Nebraska has been strong at the plate and in the circle during its five-game win streak.

• Nebraska is averaging 6.2 runs per game during its five-game win streak after averaging only 3.4 runs per game prior to the win streak.

• The Huskers are allowing only 3.0 runs per game during the win streak after allowing 6.7 runs per game prior to the streak.

• Nebraska has held its opponents to four or fewer runs in every game during its five-game win streak. The Huskers had held only seven of their first 28 opponents to four or fewer runs.

• Defensively, Nebraska has posted a .969 fielding percentage during the win streak and allowed only one unearned run. NU had been allowing an average of 1.8 unearned runs per game prior to its winning streak.

Scouting Rutgers (10-24, 1-5 Big Ten)

Rutgers brings a 10-24 record into this weekend’s series after rallying from a four-run deficit to post a 13-7 win at Seton Hall on Wednesday. After playing its first 34 games on the road, the Scarlet Knights will host their home opener on Saturday against Nebraska.

Rutgers has opened Big Ten Conference play with a 1-5 record and has been outscored 69-14 in those six games. RU lost two of three games at Indiana to open conference play before being swept in a three-game series at Ohio State last weekend by a combined score of 32-3.

Nebraska and Rutgers share two common opponents this season in Missouri and Wisconsin, whom the Scarlet Knights faced during tournament season. The Huskers are 4-0 against the Tigers and Badgers, while Rutgers lost both games to Missouri and Wisconsin.

Offensively, Rutgers is batting .285 and averaging 4.5 runs per game. Taryn Atlee leads the Scarlet Knights with a .416 average, 47 hits, three triples and eight stolen bases. Rebecca Hall boasts a .376 average with a .789 slugging percentage, as 21 of her 41 hits have gone for extra bases. Hall ranks in the top 20 nationally with 11 home runs and has added eight doubles and 35 RBIs. Nicole Bowman is batting .348 with a team-high 11 doubles and 23 walks, while producing 29 RBIs. Nicolette Anico rounds out the Rutgers’ quartet of .300 hitters as she owns a .320 average.

Defensively, Rutgers is allowing 7.6 runs per game and owns a 6.91 ERA that ranks last in the Big Ten and 280th nationally. The Scarlet Knights also average more than one error per game which has led to an average of 1.6 unearned runs per game. Opponents are hitting .362 against Rutgers and have homered 45 times in 34 games.

Shayla Sweeney has thrown more than half of Rutgers’ total innings, compiling an 8-9 record with a 4.52 ERA in 103.2 innings. Sweeney has appeared in 25 of RU’s 34 games with 20 starts. Whitney Jones has seen the most action behind Sweeney, posting a 2-7 record with a 6.14 ERA in 49.0 innings. Cambria Keefer is the only other Rutgers pitcher who has factored into a decision this season, as she is 0-8 with a 13.45 ERA in 29.2 innings. Aubrie Levine (0-0, 11.55 ERA in 20.0 IP) and Bridget Carr (0-0, 10.50 ERA in 1.1) round out the Rutgers staff.