The Nebraska softball team opens its 2019 season this weekend in Houston, Texas, at the Lone Star College Classic. The tournament is hosted by the Scrap Yard Dawgs and will take place at the team’s facility. The Huskers will play a total of five games from Feb. 8-10, in addition to an exhibition game against the Japan National Team on Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. CT. After the exhibition game, NU kicks off its season with a game against Lamar on Feb. 8, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The Huskers will then take on Texas Tech later that evening at 7. On Saturday, Nebraska faces Lamar again at 11:30 a.m., followed by another game against Texas Tech at 2 p.m. Nebraska will round out its opening weekend on Sunday against in-state rival Omaha at 9 a.m. While Nebraska will not play Wisconsin this weekend, the Badgers will also be at the tournament in Houston.
Scouting the Opponents
Lamar finished the 2018 season 28-28 but begins a new era under first year-head coach Amy Hooks. Lamar is led by its five seniors: Kelly Meeuwsen, Savana Guidry, Maddy Myers, Julia Voluntad and Taylor Davis. Last season, Guidry finished second on the team with a .351 batting average. She had 66 hits and drove in 19 during 2018. She had a .401 on-base percentage. Meeuwsen, a three-time All-Southland Conference selection, finished third on the team with a batting average of .328. She had a team-high eight home runs and drove in 32 runs while posting a .401 on-base percentage.
Davis appeared in 51 games while making 50 starts last year and hit .277 on the season. She had one home run and was third on the team with 22 RBIs. She led the Cards in on-base percentage (.430) and set a single-season Lamar record with 35 walks and had five multi-RBI games. Myers started 49 games and appeared in 51 last season. She had 24 hits, including one home run and drove in 17 runs on the season. Voluntad played in 12 games, recording four hits, including one double. She also had one RBI and drew two walks. In the circle, Voluntad made 10 appearances last year and posted a 3.15 ERA in 13 innings. She had a 1-0 record last season.
Texas Tech finished 31-28 last season and played in the National Invitational Softball Championship Tournament, finishing with a 2-2 record at the regional. The 2018 season marked Texas Tech’s first winning season under fifth-year head coach Adrian Gregory. Texas Tech returns 12 members from last year’s squad and welcomes nine newcomers.
Leading the charge into the 2019 season is All-American Jessica Hartwell, who returns for her senior season. Hartwell set a school record with 20 home runs in 2018 and is one of eight position starters returning from last year’s squad. She was also one of 50 players named to the 2019 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List. Hartwell batted .400 (66-for-165) last season, with 14 doubles, four triples, 22 walks and 61 RBIs. She slugged .897 and had an on-base percentage of .490. The Red Raiders also return their top pitcher from last season in sophomore Erin Edmoundson, who finished her freshman campaign 17-12 with a 2.97 ERA. Edmoundson also had 135 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .244. A trio of Division I transfers – Trenity Edwards (Missouri), Missy Zoch (DePaul) and Shelby Henderson (Louisiana) – as well as six talented freshmen will don a Texas Tech uniform for the first time stepping into the Red Raiders’ 2019 campaign.
UNO went 21-30 in 2018 and must replace three of its top five hitters from last season, including its top two. The Mavericks are led by first-year coach Amanda Eberhart. Their assistant coach is former Husker All-America pitcher Tatum Edwards. The Mavericks are a young team with just seven upperclassmen, including junior Emma Dargy and senior Savannah Fisher. The duo will lead the offensive efforts this season after batting .273 and .267, respectively in 2018. Dargy also ranked second on the team with seven homers last season. Joining Dargy and Fisher as upperclassmen are Taylor Conkling, Natalie Mostek, Raith Romero, Emily Klosterman and Hailey Barts. In the circle, UNO returns sophomores Sydney Hampton and Halley Jones. Hampton is the most experienced of the two, appearing 28 times last season with 16 starts. She finished with a record of 11-13 and pitched seven complete games. She also recorded 65 strikeouts and had an ERA of 5.74. Jones appeared 13 times, making eight starts. She finished with a record of 1-2, an ERA of 10.67 and recorded four strikeouts. UNO will depend on its 10 freshmen to help them this season as they make up nearly half of the 22-player roster.
Lone Star College Classic History
The Huskers are playing in the Lone Star College Classic for the first time, as 2019 marks the tournament’s inaugural season. The tournament is hosted by the Scrap Yard Dawgs, an independent women’s professional softball team based in Conroe, Texas. The team began in 2015 and played in the National Pro Fastpitch during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, before becoming independent. The Dawgs won the NPF Championship in 2017. Several former Huskers play for the Dawgs, including Taylor Edwards, Kiki Stokes and MJ Knighten.
Follow the Huskers
A live radio broadcast will be available on Huskers.com and the official Huskers App for all of Nebraska’s games this season. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter (@HuskerSoftball).