NU Softball: Huskers Begin Six-Game Road Trip Wednesday at Creighton

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Huskers Begin Six-Game Road Trip Wednesday at Creighton
The 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team begins a six-game road trip on Wednesday when the Huskers travel to Omaha to face the Creighton Bluejays at the CU Sports Complex.

The Huskers, who just completed their longest homestand of the year, will now face their longest stretch of consecutive road games this spring. After taking on Creighton on Wednesday, Nebraska will head to East Lansing, Mich., on Thursday for a three-game series with the Michigan State Spartans on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Huskers then travel to Madison, Wis., on Tuesday for a Wednesday doubleheader at Wisconsin that wraps up a stretch of six road games in three different cities over an eight-day span.

Nebraska hopes to continue its success on the road on its upcoming trip, as the Huskers are 12-3 in away games this season. The 12 road wins rank seventh nationally entering play this week and mark the third-most road victories in school history. NU set a school record with 17 road victories last season.

The Huskers have also excelled at home, completing a 7-1 homestand with a three-game sweep of Ohio State last weekend. Nebraska finished the homestand with seven consecutive wins, as the Huskers take a season-best seven-game win streak into Wednesday’s matchup at Creighton. NU has outscored its opponents by a whopping 66-4 margin during the win streak. Each of the Huskers’ last five victories have been run-rule wins, the longest stretch of consecutive run-rule victories in school history.

Nebraska is batting .393 as a team during the win streak, while averaging 9.4 runs per game. The Huskers have slugged 12 doubles and 13 home runs in the winning streak to post a .669 slugging percentage. Seven Huskers are hitting .400 or higher during the win streak, while junior Kylee Muir (.526) and freshman Kat Woolman (.500) are each batting at least .500. Senior Tatum Edwards owns five homers and 18 RBIs in the seven-game win streak, while her twin Taylor has homered four times.

The offense has grabbed the headlines during the win streak but the efforts of the Husker defense are not to be overlooked. In the circle, Nebraska has posted five shutouts in the last seven games, en route to posting a 0.51 ERA. While the Huskers have produced 70 hits and batted .393 during the win streak, opponents are hitting just .161 with only 23 hits, including just four extra-base hits in the seven games. Defensively, NU has committed just four errors during the win streak, fielding at a .979 clip.

Sophomore Emily Lockman is 4-0 with two shutouts and a 0.33 ERA during the win streak, while Tatum Edwards is 3-0 with one shutout, a 0.70 ERA and one save.

Scouting the Creighton Bluejays (25-19)
Creighton has been both hot and cold since losing the first meeting with Nebraska on April 2. The Bluejays won their next six games following the loss to the Huskers, but Creighton has now lost its last five games. CU brings a 25-19 record into Wednesday’s matchup, when the Bluejays will be looking to avoid their first six-game losing streak since April of 2011.

Creighton is hitting .231 as a team, but the Bluejays have slugged 36 home runs. The long ball has helped Creighton average 3.6 runs per game. CU has also drawn 145 walks this season, but the Bluejays have also struck out 326 times.

Ellen Homan is the lone Bluejay batting better than .300 this season, as she owns a .305 average with five doubles, three homers and 18 RBIs. Alexis Cantu is hitting .264 with eight homers, 24 RBIs and a team-high 27 walks. Liz Dike is Creighton’s top slugger, as she has homered 14 times this spring, a total that ranks 16th nationally. Dike also leads Creighton with 34 RBIs. Blair Lowe owns a .254 average with team-high totals of seven doubles and 10 stolen bases.

Defensively, Creighton is allowing an average of 3.0 runs per game. The Bluejays boast a staff ERA of 2.36 and have posted 15 shutouts this season. Opponents are hitting just .223 against CU this spring. Creighton is averaging just over one error per game, while posting a .963 fielding percentage.

Lincoln native Becca Changstrom, the 2013 Missouri Valley Pitcher of the Year, is 14-11 this season with a 1.82 ERA. She has struck out 215 in her 173.0 innings, limiting opposing hitters to a .189 average while recording eight shutouts and two saves. Cantu has seen the most action behind Changstrom, posting a 5-6 record with a 2.72 ERA in 56.2 innings. Mac Millspaugh has made 10 appearances this spring, earning five starts and compiling a 4-1 record with a 2.46 ERA in 37.0 innings. Brittany Telecky owns a 1-1 record and a 5.38 ERA in 27.1 innings, while Kassidy Kingsley (1-0, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP) rounds out the Bluejay staff.

Creighton is led by Brent Vigness, who is in his 21st season with the Bluejays. Vigness owns a 660-465-3 record at Creighton, and he has compiled a 808-536-4 record in 25 seasons as a college coach. Wednesday’s matchup pits two of the 25 active Division I coaches with 800 career victories, as Nebraska’s Rhonda Revelle has won 840 games in her 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

Husker History vs. Creighton
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Creighton, 82-37, and the Huskers have won nine of the last 10 meetings dating back to 2009. NU’s 82 victories over Creighton are unofficially the fifth-most victories over one opponent in NCAA Division I history. Wednesday’s matchup will mark the 120th game in the series, as the Huskers have faced Creighton more than any other opponent in school history. NU leads the series in Omaha, 31-21. Husker Head Coach Rhonda Revelle is 54-14 in her career against Creighton, including a 51-12 record against Bluejay Head Coach Brent Vigness.

In the first meeting this season in Lincoln, Nebraska posted a 5-2 victory. The teams combined for seven runs despite producing only 10 hits, all of which were singles. Nebraska pitching walked seven in the game and hit a pair of batters to give the Bluejays nine free bases, while Creighton’s Becca Changstrom walked five and hit one batter in a complete-game loss. Tatum Edwards earned the win for Nebraska, allowing two runs in four innings, while Emily Lockman picked up her first career save with one inning of scoreless relief. Creighton’s Kelsey Allender was the only player with more than one hit in the game, as she finished 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Kylee Muir scored a career-high three runs for Nebraska, which produced a season-high four sacrifices in the victory. Tatum Edwards had a game-high two RBIs in the win. Taylor Edwards also had an RBI, as she has driven in seven runs in seven career games against Creighton.

For Creighton, Changstrom has thrown a complete game in six of the seven meetings since 2011, compiling a 1-5 record with a 4.24 ERA in 38.0 innings. The Huskers have hit eight home runs against her.

Noting Nebraska
Below is a look at brief team notes and statistics of interest heading into Wednesday’s game at Creighton.

  • Nebraska has won a season-best seven straight games, its longest winning streak since March of 2013 (8 games).
  • NU has outscored its opponents 66-4 during the win streak, winning by an average of nearly nine runs per game.
  • The Huskers have won eight consecutive conference games, their longest such streak since 2004 (12 games).
  • NU has outscored its opponents 83-11 during the Big Ten win streak, winning by an average of nine runs per game.
  • Nebraska is 10-2 this month, and the Huskers have outscored their opponents 98-27 (average score of 8-2).
  • Nebraska has scored 133 runs since changing its lineup 16 games ago (averaging 8.3 runs per game).
  • The Huskers have scored 57 runs in their last five games and 89 runs in their last 10 games.
  • NU pitching owns a 15-inning scoreless streak and during that time, no opposing runner has reached third base.
  • The Husker defense has not committed an error in seven of its last nine games, including three straight.
  • Nebraska leads the Big Ten with 159 walks this season and is tied for the league lead with 49 home runs.
  • NU leads the league in home runs (24) and doubles (32) in conference-only games.
  • 62 of the 119 runs Nebraska has allowed this season have scored with two outs (52 percent).
  • The Huskers are 27-1 this season when scoring first.
  • Nebraska is 17-1 when recording 10 hits this season.
  • The Huskers are 22-0 when scoring at least five runs this year, but are 0-9 when allowing five or more runs.
  • Nebraska dropped one spot to No. 14 in this week’s NCAA RPI.
  • NU boasts the nation’s 11th-toughest schedule overall and the No. 3 most difficult non-conference schedule.

Husker Hits
Below is a look at brief individual notes and statistics of interest heading into Wednesday’s game at Creighton.

  • Alicia Armstrong recorded her 100th career hit last Friday against Ohio State.
  • Armstrong is now 103-for-307 in her career, as her .336 career average ranks eighth in school history.
  • Armstrong is hitting .444 (20-for-45) in Big Ten play with eight doubles and 14 RBIs.
  • Hailey Decker leads the Big Ten with 16 doubles this season.
  • Decker is tied for ninth nationally with 16 doubles entering play this week.
  • Decker is batting .451 (23-for-51) with seven doubles, four homers and 17 RBIs in Big Ten play.
  • The Edwards twins have homered in the same game 12 times in their careers, including three times this season.
  • The Edwards twins have combined for more home runs in league play (13) than eight of the other 11 Big Ten teams.
  • Tatum Edwards is tied for the Big Ten lead with three saves this season.
  • Tatum owns 63 career wins and 42 career home runs, as she is the nation’s only player with 60 wins and 40 homers.
  • Tatum also leads the league in home runs (7), RBIs (24) and total bases (43) in conference-only games.
  • Tatum is hitting .380 (19-for-50) in Big Ten play.
  • Taylor Edwards leads the Big Ten with 15 home runs, 102 total bases and 13 hit-by-pitches this season.
  • Taylor ranks 10th nationally in home runs, 16th in on-base percentage and 18th in home runs per game.
  • Taylor has walked 33 times this season, becoming the first Husker to post four 30-walk seasons.
  • Taylor has driven in 32 this season, becoming only the second Husker to post four 30-RBI seasons.
  • Kylee Muir is batting .375 (15-for-40) with five doubles, one homer and 13 RBIs in Big Ten play.
  • Austen Urness is 2-for-5 with one double and four RBIs following a 16-game absence due to a concussion.

Husker Happenings
Below are highlights of select Huskers who are enjoying a recent stretch of strong play.

  • Alicia Armstrong is 20-for-43 (.465) over her last 13 games in the batting order with eight doubles and 15 RBIs.
  • Hailey Decker is 26-for-62 (.419) over her last 18 games with five homers, seven doubles, 21 runs and 22 RBIs.
  • Decker has hit safely in six straight games, producing a .500 average (10-for-20) with seven RBIs in that span.
  • Decker has recorded nine multi-hit efforts and seven multi-RBI performances over her last 18 games.
  • Tatum Edwards has homered in four of her last six games and has nine homers in her last 20 games.
  • Tatum has produced 23 hits in her last 20 games after totaling 15 hits in her first 24 games.
  • Tatum owns 30 RBIs in her last 20 games after producing just nine RBIs through her first 24 games.
  • Tatum is 8-for-21 (.381) during her six-game hit streak with five homers and 18 RBIs.
  • Tatum has produced an RBI in six consecutive games, totaling 18 RBIs in that stretch.
  • Tatum is 3-0 with one save and a 0.70 ERA over her last four appearances.
  • Taylor Edwards has homered in two straight games and four of her last five games.
  • Taylor has produced at least one hit, one run, one RBI and one walk or hit-by-pitch in five straight games
  • MJ Knighten has produced five multi-hit efforts in her last 10 games.
  • Knighten owns 14 RBIs over her last 14 games, after totaling 14 RBIs in her first 32 games.
  • Knighten has produced six multi-RBI efforts in the last 14 games, after totaling four in her first 32 games.
  • Emily Lockman has thrown 13.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
  • Lockman is 6-0 with one save and a 0.96 ERA over her last six appearances dating back to March 30.
  • Lockman is 5-0 with one save and a 0.85 ERA this month.
  • Kylee Muir has produced four multi-hit efforts in her last seven games, after totaling one in her first 31 games.
  • Muir is 14-for-32 (.438) this month with five doubles, one homer and 13 RBIs in 12 games.
  • Kat Woolman is 13-for-29 (.448) in 12 games this month with one homer and five RBIs.
  • Woolman has scored eight runs in her past five games.

What to Watch for This Week
Below is a look at some potential noteworthy accomplishments that could be reached Wednesday at Creighton.

  • Tatum Edwards is eight strikeouts away from 500 in her career. Seven Huskers have recorded 500 strikeouts.
  • Tatum Edwards is expected to player in her 200th career game against Creighton, including her 195th start.
  • Tatum Edwards needs two doubles to move into Nebraska’s all-time top 10 in that category.
  • Taylor Edwards would become only the seventh Husker to produce 40 career doubles with her next double.
  • Taylor Edwards is one run away from tying for third on Nebraska’s all-time runs scored chart (168).
  • Taylor Edwards (51 homers) needs two home runs to tie Ali Viola’s career record of 53 home runs.
  • Taylor Edwards needs only two total bases to become the third Husker to total 400 bases in a career.
  • Taylor Edwards needs two runs scored to become the ninth Husker to score 50 runs in a season.
  • Taylor Edwards’ next home run would make her the first Husker to produce two seasons with more than 15 homers.
  • Taylor Edwards needs one double to become only the second Husker and just the 12th player in Big Ten history to produce 40 career doubles and 40 career home runs. She currently owns 39 doubles and 51 home runs.

‘TNT’ among top home run tandems
Senior twins Tatum and Taylor Edwards have each hit double-digit home runs this season. Each twin has produced three seasons with double-digit home runs, becoming only the third and fourth players in school history to accomplish that feat. Taylor leads the Big Ten with 15 home runs this spring, while Tatum ranks third with 10 homers. The twins are two of only four Big Ten players with 10 home runs this spring.

The Edwards twins have combined for 25 homers this season, bettering last year’s combined total of 24 home runs. As freshmen, Tatum and Taylor combined for 32 home runs, a mark the duo could challenge this season.

In their careers, Taylor ranks sixth nationally and first among Big Ten hitters with 51 career home runs. She is one of only two Huskers to hit 50 career home runs and one of only 12 Big Ten players to reach the mark. Tatum is 19th nationally and second among all Big Ten hitters with 42 career home runs. Together, the twins have combined for 93 career home runs, a total that ties for second nationally.

‘TNT’ among Big Ten’s Most Powerful Hitters
Tatum and Taylor Edwards rank as two of the best power hitters and run producers in school history. Taylor ranks second in Husker history in home runs (51 – two shy of the school record) and RBIs (191 – 22 shy of the school record), while Tatum is fourth in homers (42) and fifth in RBIs (145). While both players rank among the top five home run and RBI producers in school history, the duo are also among the most productive active hitters in the Big Ten and nationally.

Taylor leads all current Big Ten players with 51 home runs and 191 RBIs, while Tatum is second in home runs and third in RBIs. Among all players nationally, Taylor ranks fourth in RBIs and sixth in home runs, while Tatum is 16th in home runs and 33rd in RBIs. Tatum and Taylor are two of only 26 players nationally among the more than 4,500 Division I players with more than 40 career home runs.