Huskers open home schedule this weekend

The 21st-ranked Nebraska softball team will play its first home games of the season this weekend, when the Huskers open a nine-game homestand against New Mexico State in a three-game series at Bowlin Stadium. In a change to the original schedule, the Huskers and Aggies will play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, before concluding the series with a single game on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available for both days and fans can purchase single-game or season tickets online at Huskers.com, over the phone by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED, in person weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Nebraska Ticket Office (located on Stadium Drive across the street from West Memorial Stadium) or on game days beginning 90 minutes prior to first pitch at the Bowlin Stadium ticket office (located at the main entrance behind home plate). Fans unable to make it out to Bowlin Stadium can follow all three games live, as Nate Rohr will call all of the action for a free radio broadcast on Huskers.com, while HuskersNSide subscribers can watch all three games.

Following Friday's doubleheader, a special on-field ceremony will be held to honor Head Coach Rhonda Revelle, who became Nebraska's all-time wins leader in all sports with her 768th win against Oklahoma State on March 3. As part of the celebration, the first 768 fans through the gates on Friday will be given a free t-shirt honoring Coach Revelle's historic accomplishment.

Nebraska opens its home schedule after playing its first 21 games away from Lincoln. The Huskers are 16-5 on the year and have won five straight games. Each of Nebraska's five losses have come to teams ranked in the top 20 - including four losses to top-10 opponents - while the Huskers own victories over No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 23 Florida State.

NU has not trailed during its current five-game winning streak, a stretch that totals 33 innings. Even in their losses the Huskers have not trailed by much, as two of Nebraska's five losses have been by a score of 1-0, while a third loss was a 2-0 setback to No. 1 Oklahoma, and that game was tied going into the seventh inning.

Nebraska and New Mexico State have already met once this season, with the Huskers spoiling the Aggies' home opener with a 5-1 win in Las Cruces on Feb. 8. NMSU will try to return the favor on Friday, but the Huskers have won six straight games against the Aggies, winning by an average of 7.5 runs per game. Nebraska has also won seven straight home openers and 10 of the 11 home openers at Bowlin Stadium. The Huskers have won 18 of their last 19 home games, including a 15-1 home record in 2012.

Scouting the New Mexico State Aggies (15-10)
New Mexico State brings a 15-10 record into play this weekend. The Aggies have lost three straight games to Notre Dame (twice) and second-ranked Arizona State. Prior to the losing streak, NMSU had won five straight. The Huskers and Aggies share common opponents this season in Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico. Nebraska went 4-0 against those opponents, while New Mexico State posted a 3-1 record.

Offensively, New Mexico State is batting .293 as a team and averaging nearly five runs per game. Five starters are hitting .300 or better, led by Amber Olive, who is batting .360 with three triples and 10 stolen bases. Teresa Conrad is hitting .354 with eight doubles, while Kelsey Dodd is batting .333 with six doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs. Malena Padilla, who homered against Nebraska earlier this year, is batting .313, while Lacey Rother is hitting .300. Staci Rodriguez is batting .293 but leads the Aggies with eight home runs and 28 RBIs.

In the circle, NMSU owns a 2.58 staff ERA while allowing 3.3 runs per game. The staff has shown excellent control, walking only 35 batters in 165.2 innings while posting a strikeout to walk ratio of 3-to-1. Alex Newman has started 13 of New Mexico State's 25 games, posting a 7-5 record with a 1.82 ERA in 69.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .271 against her, but she has struck out 36 and walked only seven. Karysta Donisthorpe has made seven starts and 11 total appearances, and she owns a 5-2 record with a 3.23 ERA in 39.0 innings. Donisthorpe leads the Aggies with 47 strikeouts. Makayla McAdams is 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 29.1 innings and she has walked 12 and struck out 10, as she is the only NMSU pitcher who does not own a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 3-to-1. Celisha Walker rounds out the staff with a 1-1 record and a 2.75 ERA in 28.0 innings.

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