#23 Nebraska Softball 2015 Preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
#23 Nebraska Softball 2015 Preview
Nebraska Team Page


Nebraska built off of their run to the College World Series in 2013 with another trip to the Super Regionals last season where they gave Alabama all they wanted in two hard-fought games. There will be some reloading to do offensively and in the circle for the Cornhuskers, but by the end of the regular season they should be right there in the conversation for a Big Ten Championship.

2014: 44-18, 18-5
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rhonda Revelle

Field Players:
Outfielder Kiki Stokes is the top all-around returning player for Nebraska in 2015. Stokes is a very well-rounded player that can hit for average and beat you with her speed, as she stole 16 bases last season. Stokes will have to elevate her production even more with loss of Hailey Decker, Taylor Edwards and Tatum Edwards from a season ago. The trio of Decker, and the Edwards sisters offensively combined for 46 homeruns and drove in 148. Infielder MJ Knighten is going to be the anchor of things offensively from a power perspective, as she hit six homeruns and drove in 38. Alicia Armstrong hit .316 a year ago and just has a knack for the timely hit whenever the Cornhuskers need it. Mattie Fowler is a player flying under the radar a little bit and she batted .357 in just 11 games of action during the 2014 season. If she can put in a full season that will make the Nebraska lineup that much more explosive.

Tatum Edwards won’t be easy to replace as she was brilliant in 2014 for the Cornhuskers. Edwards was 24-13 with a 1.78 earned run average and 29 complete games. However, Emily Lockman does return and she won 20 games last season and should be able to step into the primary number one starter role for Nebraska quite easily. Lockman has shown that she can go deep into the games, with 15 complete games last season. Lockman also does a nice job of throwing strikes and only walked 59 batters in 165 innings of work.

Who to Watch:
Cassie McClure, a utility player/catcher who transferred from Texas Tech, will be available to play right away this spring for the Cornhuskers. McClure should be able to get into the lineup routinely even if it’s just as a designated player early on the season. When she was healthy, she put up great numbers for the Red Raiders. McClure will also provide depth in the circle, as she was one of the most decorated pitchers in the history of high school softball in the state of Texas coming out of high school. So if healthy, McClure has plenty of talent to be able to pitch at this level.

Final Projection:
The schedule is pretty balanced for Nebraska throughout the season. In non-conference play the Cornhuskers will have big tests throughout, especially in the third weekend of the season with matchups against perennial powers LSU, Tennessee and UCLA at the Mary Nutter Classic. A trip to Wichita State is an underrated one because the Shockers are the preseason favorite in the Missouri Valley Conference and very difficult to deal with at home. The conference schedule sets up pretty well for Nebraska. They get the likes of Minnesota at home and they avoid Michigan altogether during the conference schedule. But they do have a tough road trip to Wisconsin in late April that could have some potential Big Ten Championship ramifications if things fall exactly right for both teams. Overall, Nebraska will not be as power heavy of an offensive team, but they have enough balance throughout the lineup that they should win another 40 plus games in 2015.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Kiki Stokes, OF, 182
Hits: MJ Knighten, IF, 56
Home Runs: MJ Knighten, IF, 6
RBIs: MJ Knighten, IF, 38
Runs: Kiki Stokes, OF, 56
Stolen Bases: Kiki Stokes, OF, 16

Wins: Emily Lockman, P, 20
Innings Pitched: Emily Lockman, P, 165.0
Strikeouts: Emily Lockman, P, 110
Complete Games: Emily Lockman, 15


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