#8 Nebraska Softball 2014 Preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten
#8 Nebraska Softball 2014 Preview
Nebraska Team Page


The Huskers are coming off of their seventh trip to the Women's College World Series, the first time a Nebraska team had done so since 2002 and the first time since the NCAA Tournament field had expanded to 64 teams. Despite losing both its games in the Women's College World Series, both of Nebraska's games went into extra innings, including the elimination game, in which the team lost in 15 innings. This came after a season that saw the Huskers not qualify for the post season at all.

2013: 45-16, 16-6
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rhonda Revelle

Field Players:
Nebraska welcomes back a good portion of its offense, led by the power hitting duo of twin sisters, Taylor and Tatum Edwards. Taylor led the team with 13 home runs and 14 doubles, while driving in 54 runs, which was second on last year's team. Interestingly enough, she was also hit a team-leading 16 times and finished second in average with a .328 clip. Tatum, on the other hand, hit two fewer home runs than her twin, in 14 fewer games. She also had 11 doubles. It's fair to see Alicia Armstrong had a nice collegiate debut, as she led the team with a .346 average and was tied for the team high in hits with 62.   

When Tatum Edwards wasn't raking at the plate she was dominating in the pitching circle. The senior went 30-10 in 44 appearances, including 36 starts. But Edwards wasn't the only key pitcher last season. Emily Lockman had a nice freshman debut, going 15-6 in 28 appearances, 25 of which were starts.

Who to Watch:
Three freshmen, Marjani Knighten, Austen Urness and Kat Woolman should contribute this season for Nebraska.  Knighten looks to be the Huskers starting third baseman after being named a Second Team All-American last season. The infielder from California finished her high school career with a .456 average, 30 doubles, eight triples, 28 home runs, 81 RBI and 123 runs scored in four years. Thanks to the graduation of two outfield starters, Urness and Woolman will have a shot to start right away. Urness comes to Nebraska, also from California, after compiling the following impressive career statistics: 35 doubles, 28 home runs, seven triples, 122 RBI, 97 runs scored and an impressive .928 slugging percentage. Woolman finished her career with a .470 average, 39 doubles, 20 homers, 114 runs scored, 128 RBI and 50 walks.

Final Projection:
Nebraska will be looking to make back-to-back trips to the Women's College World Series for the first time since the late 1980's.  With the amount of talent returning, the Huskers can accomplish that goal, but they will now be the hunted and not the hunters. How the team handles that pressure will be key, as will be replacing two outfield starters. Nebraska will prepare itself for a rugged Big Ten conference season with a challenging nonconference schedule that includes two games with Florida State and the Mary Nutter Classic, where the team will face Texas A&M, Arizona, Tennessee, UCLA and Boise State. Other games include two each against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and one each with Arizona State and Washington. The team's experience will allow it to be able to compete with their fellow opponents. Nebraska avoids the conference's top team, Michigan, and gets other contenders Minnesota, Northwestern and Iowa in three of the first four conference weekends.  

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Taylor Edwards, C, 180
Hits: Alicia Armstrong, IF, 62
Home Runs: Taylor Edwards, 13
RBIs: Taylor Edwards, 54
Runs: Taylor Edwards, 45
Stolen Bases: Kiki Stokes, OF, 13

Wins: Tatum Edwards, 30
Innings Pitched: Tatum Edwards, 253.1
Strikeouts: Tatum Edwards. 229
Saves: Tatum Edwards, Danica Bishop, 1

Madness 2014 NPF Draft Rankings:
#8 Tatum Edwards

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#17 Marjani Knighten


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