#36 Nebraska Softball Preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten
Nebraska College Softball Top 44 Team Preview
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They may only be fall games, but a solid September and October schedule has Nebraska poised to become one of the top teams in the Big Ten. Pitcher Tatum Edwards finished the fall season with back-to-back shutouts against Colorado State and Nebraska-Omaha; granted, it may not have been the toughest competition, but wins like these can give a team so much confidence as the calendar turns to late fall and early winter. When February gets underway, Nebraska’s attention turns to the real thing. The Huskers closed the season last spring with wins over Wisconsin, capping a solid season that saw Nebraska miss the NCAA tournament despite racking up 33 victories and a strong home showing.

2012: 33-22, 14-9
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Rhonda Revelle

Field Players:
Five Nebraska players hit .300 or better to guide a squad that hit .294 overall and limited opponents to a .215 batting average. Three of the five are back, including two top hitters in Gabby Banda and Brooke Thomason. Edwards is the other top hitter returning, and Thomason and Edwards are the team’s leading home-run hitters at seven apiece. Ashley Guile and Nikki Haget graduated at the end of last season. Madison Drake, who hit .264 last year, is also gone, but Guile, Haget and Drake are the only three players of consequence missing off the team. The loss of Haget, who had 58 hits and led the team with nine stolen bases, will hurt at the start until Nebraska can groom some offensive replacements.

Edwards will need to step in as the No. 1 pitcher and quickly, as Ashley Hagemann graduated and took her 23-17 record last season to the cap-and-gown ceremony. Her stellar pitching (320 strikeouts in 261.1 innings of work) will definitely be missed, as will her ability to mop up the decisions. Of the 55 games Nebraska played last year, Hagemann was the deciding pitcher in 40. That could pose a major problem if Edwards’ pitching arm suddenly falters in the spring. Mattie Fowler can also pitch, but her 14.00 ERA last spring and limited duty suggests she will be used only in an emergency.

Who to Watch:
Revelle realized there would be some holes to fill, so this year’s class includes seven freshmen ready to make contributions. In the lineup Nebraska should be all right, so most eyes will turn to Danica Bishop and Emily Lockman, both California pitchers. Bishop went 11-10 with a 2.47 earned run average for Woodbridge High School in Irvine, CA, but she also had 11 doubles and 32 runs batted in as part of a 30-game schedule. Lockman, who attended Norco High School in Corona, was Ms. Softball in California this past spring. Lockman had a 74-19 career record to go with 97 walks and 486 strikeouts. High-school stats suggest Lockman would be the better bet to start, but the reality is both will get every chance to produce.

Final Projection:
Weakness in the pitching staff, at least to start, could cause Nebraska some problems. However, the conference is not very strong in softball when it comes to nationally-ranked teams, so Nebraska could pose more problems in 2013 than you might think. If one of the freshmen hurlers catches on, a 35-40 win season is not out of the question. It will likely be closer to 35 victories, but that should get Nebraska a tournament berth and a chance for success on the national level.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Gabby Banda, IF, 176
Hits: Gabby Banda, IF, 62
Home Runs: Tatum Edwards, P, 7; Brooke Thomason, OF, 7
RBIs: Brooke Thomason, OF, 47
Runs: Gabby Banda, IF, 39
Stolen Bases: Brooke Thomason, OF, 5

Wins: Tatum Edwards, P, 9
Innings Pitched: Tatum Edwards, P, 80.1
Strikeouts: Tatum Edwards, P, 57
Saves: None

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#37 Emily Lockman


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