Softball HuddleSoftball Huddle

Huskers Face Tough Schedule in California

The Nebraska softball team faces a tough five-game schedule at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic this weekend in Cathedral City, Calif. Each of the Huskers’ five opponents this weekend made the 2023 NCAA Tournament, while three are ranked in this week’s top-25 coaches poll (UCLA, Oregon and Utah) with a fourth team (San Diego State) receiving votes.

Nebraska takes on San Diego State at Noon (Central) Friday before facing No. 19 UCLA at 2:30 p.m. (Central). The Aztecs won the 2022 Mountain West regular-season title and the 2023 conference tournament while advancing to an NCAA Super Regional lat year. The Bruins were the No. 2 national seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday at Noon (Central), Nebraska takes on a No. 23 Oregon squad that advanced to an NCAA Super Regional in 2023. The Huskers close the tournament with a pair of Sunday games against No. 20 Utah (11 a.m. Central) and Cal State Fullerton (1:30 p.m. Central). The Utes played in the 2023 Women’s College World Series wahile the Titans made their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance last season.

All five games this week - and every game this season - will have a free radio broadcast with Nate Rohr on the call. The radio broadcast is available at and on the official Huskers app. Fans can also watch all of the action at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic by purchasing a subscription to FloSoftball. A monthly subscription is $29.99, while an annual subscription is $150.

Leading Off

  • Nebraska is competing in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic for the 12th time in the past 15 seasons but for the first time since 2020.
  • NU leads the Big Ten and ranks 23rd nationally with 17 doubles.
  • The Huskers rank 13th nationally in double plays per game (0.7).
  • Five of Nebraska’s eight returning all-region players have missed multiple games due to injury this season.
  • Billie Andrews has six career games with multiple home runs. The Nebraska record for most career multi-homer games is seven by Tristen Edwards.
  • Andrews is three runs shy of moving into a tie for 10th place on Nebraska’s career runs scored list (143).
  • Bella Bacon has produced four straight games with multiple hits, going 8-for-15 (.533) during that stretch.
  • Emmerson Cope is tied for the Big Ten lead and ranks fourth nationally in saves.
  • Cope has two saves, one shy of the NU freshman saves record.
  • Caitlynn Neal enters play this weekend with 96 career hits, four shy of 100.
  • Caitlin Olensky enters this weekend with a 7.1-inning scoreless streak.

Husker History at The Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
Nebraska is competing in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic for the 12th time this weekend. Although the Huskers have been a participant in the tournament in 12 of the last 15 seasons, Nebraska is playing in the event for the first time since the 2020 season.

  • The Huskers own a 22-31 all-time record at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
  • Nebraska has played 32 of its 53 games at the event against ranked opponents. NU is 9-23 vs. ranked teams in Cathedral City but that includes 21 games against top-10 foes (4-17).
  • Brooke Andrews is the only Husker who has played a game at the Big League Dreams Complex in a Nebraska uniform. Andrews played in two games at the 2020 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, going 1-for-5 with a stolen base against Oklahoma and BYU.

Gray Named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week
Third baseman Sydney Gray was named the Big Ten Softball Co-Player of the Week on Monday following an outstanding weekend at the Troy Cox Classic in New Mexico. 

  • Gray won the second Big Ten weekly award of her career, as she was also the co-player of the week on Feb. 21, 2022. Gray became the first Husker to be named the Big Ten Player of the Week since Brooke Andrews on April 17, 2023.
  • Gray went 5-for-16 in New Mexico with three homers and 10 RBIs. She averaged 1.0 hit, 1.0 run and 2.0 RBIs per game over five contests and fielded all 19 chances at third base.
  • Gray drove in the game-winning run in NU’s victory over New Mexico State last Friday. She then went 2-for-5 in a pair of wins on Saturday with a homer, three runs scored and three RBIs.
  • In the final game last Sunday against defending Big Sky regular-season champion Sacramento State, Gray powered the Huskers’ 8-3 come-from-behind victory. Gray had a pair of three-run homers in the win, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a career-high six RBIs.

Transfer Hitters Making a Big Impact
Nebraska first-year transfers Bella Bacon and Peyton Cody both had big weekends at the plate last weekend in New Mexico. Together, the duo combined to hit .500 (14-for-28) with three doubles, one home run, seven RBIs and eight runs scored.

  • Bacon, who spent her freshman season at Purdue in 2023, started all five games at first base last weekend. The Omaha native went 8-for-18 (.444) with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. She had two hits in each of Nebraska’s last four games in New Mexico.
  • Bacon leads Nebraska with three doubles, ranking fourth in the Big Ten in that category. She also tops the Huskers’ everyday starters with a .391 batting average that ranks third on the team overall. Bacon’s nine hits, five runs and three doubles are already more than she produced in her lone season at Purdue. She also four RBIs this year, one shy of her 26-game total from a season ago.
  • A sixth-year player who spent her first five seasons at St. John’s, Cody was limited to pinch-hitting duties during the first weekend. She returned to regular action in New Mexico and went  6-for-10 (.600) with one double, one homer and three RBIs. Highlighting the weekend was a 4-for-4 effort in the final game vs. Sacramento State when she set a career high in hits.
  • Cody leads Nebraska with a .583 average this season (7-for-12), an average that ranks sixth in the Big Ten. She also ranks ninth in the conference in slugging (.917). Cody boasts a .323 career average, and she leads all current Huskers with 30 career doubles while ranking second in career hits (141), home runs (21) and RBIs (103).

Freshmen Pitchers Coming Off Impressive Weekend
Freshmen pitchers Caitlin Olensky and Emmerson Cope were impressive last weekend. The duo combined to go 2-0 with two saves and a 0.57 ERA in 12.1 innings in New Mexico.

  • Olensky made three relief appearances last weekend and tossed 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing only two singles. She earned her first career win in the second game against Sacramento State.
  • Olensky is 1-0 this season with a 2.86 ERA in 7.1 innings over five appearances. She enters the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with a 7.1-inning scoreless streak.
  • Cope made her career debut in the circle last weekend, appearing in four games with one start. She contributed to three of Nebraska’s four wins with a 1-0 record and two saves while posting a 1.00 ERA in 7.0 innings.
  • With two saves last weekend, Cope is already approaching the Nebraska freshman saves record. The most saves by a freshman in Husker history is three, accomplished by Lori Sippel (1985), Lisa Shandy (1992) and Peaches James (2001).

Several More Huskers Also Impressed in New Mexico
Several more Huskers had impressive performances last weekend in New Mexico. 

  • Alina Felix started all five games in right field and went 7-for-11 (.636) with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. In a three-game stretch against New Mexico State, Montana and Sacramento State, Felix went 6-for-9 with two hits and one RBI in each game.
  • Ava Bredwell also enjoyed a strong weekend in New Mexico. Bredwell hit her first home run of the season against Montana and went 5-for-13 (.385) on the weekend with four RBIs.
  • Brooke Andrews also hit her first home run of the season last weekend against New Mexico State while batting .313 (5-for-16) with a team-high six runs scored.
  • In the circle, Sarah Harness started two games last weekend and went 1-0 with a 1.05 ERA.

Scouting San Diego State (5-5)
San Diego State, which received nine votes in this week’s top-25 coaches poll, has posted a 5-5 record this season against a tough schedule. The Aztecs’ five losses are to No. 13 Stanford, No. 18 Texas A&M (twice), No. 23 Oregon and Minnesota. SDSU’s five wins include an upset victory over then-No. 25 Kentucky in the opening weekend. San Diego State is batting .234 as a team while averaging 3.8 runs per game. Defensively, the Aztecs boast a 2.10 ERA and are giving up 3.1 runs per contest.

  • Micaela Macario leads SDSU with a .318 batting average, seven walks, eight steals and a .484 on-base percentage. She enters the week ninth nationally in steals.
  • Mac Barbara is the only other starter hitting above .300. Barbara is batting .310 this season with team-high totals of nine hits, two homers, 13 RBIs and a .552 slugging percentage. Barbara is the only Aztec to homer this season.
  • In the circle, SDSU has primarily relied on three pitchers. Allie Light is 2-1 on the season with a team-low 1.01 ERA in a team-high 27.2 innings. She has allowed only four extra-base hits.
  • Cece Cellura and Dee Dee Hernandez have both seen extensive action. Cellura is 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA in 20.1 innings. Hernandez owns a 2-1 record with a 2.93 ERA in 14.1 innings. Cassidy West rounds out the staff with an 0-2 record, one save and a 2.74 ERA in 7.2 innings.
  • Stacey Nuveman Deniz is in her third season at San Diego State, where she is 83-38. Nuveman Deniz led the Aztecs to a Mountain West regular-season title and NCAA Tournament appearance in her first season in 2022. Last season, San Diego State won the conference tournament and made another trip to the NCAA Tournament, winning the UCLA Regional to advance to an NCAA Super Regional.

Scouting #19 UCLA (3-4)
UCLA brings a 3-4 record and a No. 19 ranking into the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Bruins’ losses have come to No. 2 Texas (twice), No. 3 Georgia and No. 7 Oklahoma State. UCLA also owns a win over No. 12 Florida State. UCLA is averaging 4.6 runs per game while batting .245. The Bruins are allowing 8.0 runs per contest with a 6.84 ERA, averages that are inflated by two games where UCLA allowed a total of 26 runs.

  • Alexis Ramirez has been the Bruins’ top bat through the first two weeks. She leads the team with a .455 average, an .818 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage.
  • Mya Brady, the 2023 Pac-12 Player of the Year, is batting .350 and leads the team with two homers and eight RBIs. Jordan Woolery (.316) and Thessa Malau’ulu (.308) are also hitting above .300.
  • Taylor Tinsley has thrown more than half of the innings for UCLA. Tinsley is 0-3 on the season with two saves and a 4.73 ERA in 23.2 innings. She ranks fourth nationally in saves.
  • Kaitlyn Terry has seen the most action behind Tinsley, posting a 1-0 record with a 4.59 ERA in 10.2 innings. Jada Cecil is 2-1 with an 11.90 ERA in 10.0 innings, while Mackenzie Ficke (0-0, 42.00 ERA in 0.2 IP) rounds out the staff.
  • Kelly Inouye-Perez is in her 18th season at her alma mater. Inouye-Perez is the active wins leader in the Pac-12, boasting a record of 778-201-1. The only person to win an NCAA championship as both a player and head coach, Inouye-Perez has led the Bruins to a pair of national championships and nine trips to the Women’s College World Series.

Scouting #23 Oregon (6-5)
Oregon brings a 6-5 record and a No. 23 ranking into this weekend. The Ducks’ five losses include setbacks to No. 9 Clemson and No. 18 Texas A&M twice. Oregon is batting .316 and averaging 4.6 runs per game. Defensively, the Ducks own an impressive 1.62 ERA and .978 fielding percentage and are allowing just 2.2 runs per contest. Oregon ranks ninth nationally with two shutouts.

  • Kai Luschar (.459) and Vallery Wong (.444) are both hitting above .400 this season. Luschar leads the team with 17 hits in only 11 games with 10 runs and nine stolen bases, a total that ranks fifth nationally. Wong paces the Ducks with a .704 slugging percentage.
  • Alyssa Daniell (.333), Ariel Carlson (.333) and Paige Sinicki (.310) are all hitting above .300. Daniell and Carlson are tied for the team lead with two home runs. Carlson also leads the Ducks with four doubles and 11 RBIs.
  • In the circle, four pitchers have an ERA under 2.00. Morgan Scott has seen the most action, posting a 2-2 record with a 1.93 ERA in a team-high 25.1 innings. Scott ranks second nationally with two shutouts. Taylour Spencer is 2-1 with a 1.12 ERA in 18.2 innings.
  • Behind those two pitchers, Elise Sokolsky is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in 9.0 innings this season, while Stevie Hansen is 0-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 12.1 innings and Raegan Breedlove is 0-0 with a 3.82 ERA in 3.2 innings.
  • Melyssa Lombardi is in her sixth season at Oregon in 2024. She boasts a 161-90 record with the Ducks. Lombardi has led Oregon to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, as the Ducks lost a regional final in both 2021 and 2022 before winning an NCAA Regional in 2023.

Scouting #20 Utah (5-4)
Utah, which played in the 2023 Women’s College World Series, is 5-4 this season. The No. 20 Utes’ four losses are all to Power Conference teams (No. 11 Missouri, No. 17 South Carolina, No. 25 Mississippi State and previously ranked Auburn). Utah is batting .303 as a team and averaging 4.1 runs per game. The Utes are allowing 3.3 runs per game with a 3.15 ERA.

  • Haley Denning (.483) and Karlie Davison (.440) are both batting above .400. Denning leads the team in average, hits (14), runs (9) and stolen bases (9), ranking fifth nationally in steals. Davison paces the Utes in RBIs (5) and on-base percentage (.517).
  • Two more Utes are hitting above .300. Aliya Belarde is batting .345 and has hit both of Utah’s home runs this season while leading the team with a .690 slugging percentage. Kaylah Nelsen is batting .310 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
  • Returning All-American Mariah Lopez leads the Utah pitching staff along with Sarah Ladd. Lopez is just 2-3 this season but she has posted a 1.98 ERA in a team-high 28.1 innings. Ladd is 3-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 26.0 innings.
  • Raci Miranda (0-0, 10.50 ERA in 4.0 IP), Taylor Jacobs (0-0, 15.75 ERA in 1.1 IP) and Brooklyn Carreon (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 0.1 IP) round out the Utah staff.
  • Amy Hogue is in her 17th season as the head coach of her alma mater. Hogue has guided the Utes to a 445-398 record. She has taken Utah to four NCAA Tournaments with three NCAA Regional titles and one trip to the Women’s College World Series.

Scouting Cal State Fullerton (7-3)
Cal State Fullerton brings a 7-3 record after defeting LMU on Wednesday. The Titans began the season with five straight wins but have lost three of their last five games. Fullerton leads the Big West with a .343 average while scoring 5.1 runs per game. Defensively, the Titans rank sixth nationally with a .986 fielding percentage while posting a 2.46 ERA.

  • Megan Delgadillo, the Big West Field Plalyer of the Week, is off to a torrid start at the plate this season. Delgadillo is hitting a whopping .639 (23-for-36) and leads the team with four doubles, 12 runs and eight stolen bases. She ranks third in the country in hits and ninth in average. Bailey Wallace (.480) and Jessica Alcala (.419) are the Titans’ other .400 hitters.
  • Hannah Becerra (.346), Kate Verhoef (.333) and Peyton Toto (.320) are all hitting above .300. Becerra leads the team with three homers, six extra-base hits and 12 RBIs, while Alcala has one home run and nine RBIs.
  • In the circle, the Titans have primarily relied upon two pitchers. Haley Rainey is 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA in a team-high 25.0 innings. She has started five of Fullerton’s 10 games. Staci Chambers is 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 23.2 innings, and she has allowed only two extra-base hits while limiting opposing hitters to a .161 average.
  • Ashley Dendas (1-0, 1.05 ERA in 6.2 IP), Leanna Garcia (0-0, 2.10 ERA in 6.2 IP), Hailey Harris (0-0, 3.00 ERA in 2.1 IP) and Trisha McCleskey (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 1.0 IP) round out the staff.
  • Kelly Ford is in her 12th season at Cal State Fullerton, where she owns a 378-224-1 record. A five-time Big West Coach of the Year, Ford has led Fullerton to five conference titles and has taken the Titans to the NCAA Tournament six times in the past eight seasons.