The 14th-seeded Nebraska softball team heads to Eugene, Ore., this weekend to battle No. 3 Oregon for a spot in the Women’s College World Series. The best-of-three NCAA Super Regional begins on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Central), with game two set for 2 p.m. (Central) on Sunday and a third if-necessary game slated to begin at 5 p.m. (Central) on Sunday. The winner advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City next week.
The Huskers earned a spot in their first-ever NCAA Super Regional by going 3-0 at their home regional last weekend. Nebraska defeated Northern Iowa, 4-0, in its opening game of the NCAA Tournament, before beating 13th-ranked Stanford twice. The Huskers earned a spot in the regional final by defeating the Cardinal 7-1 on Saturday. Nebraska then waited through three weather delays and fought back from an early two-run deficit to post a 10-5 victory over Stanford in Sunday’s regional finale. The regional title was Nebraska’s sixth in school history, but its first since the NCAA adopted the regional-super regional format beginning with the 2005 season.
Overall, Nebraska is a regional champion for the first time since 2002. That is also the last time the Huskers advanced to the Women’s College World Series, finishing in a tie for fifth place. Nebraska hopes to make it back to Oklahoma City this season, but standing in its way is a formidable foe in Oregon.
The Ducks won the Pac-12 championship this season and bring a 49-9 record into play this weekend. Oregon has been even better at home, posting a 19-0 record at Howe Field this season after finishing with a 3-0 record at its home regional last weekend. Overall, Oregon boasts a nation-leading 24-game home winning streak dating back to last season. The Ducks, who handed Nebraska its only run-rule loss of the season when the teams met on Feb. 23, also boast plenty of postseason experience, as they are competing in their fourth straight NCAA Super Regional.
Pitching is expected to be at the forefront this weekend. Oregon’s ace is Jessica Moore, the 2013 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, while Nebraska ace Tatum Edwards was the 2013 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. The Eugene Super Regional will also feature two of the nation’s top freshmen pitchers in Oregon’s Cheridan Hawkins, a second-team all-region selection who ranks second nationally among all freshmen in ERA, and NU’s Emily Lockman, a first-team all-region honoree who is fourth in ERA among all freshmen.
The Eugene Super Regional will be televised live on ESPNU with Adam Amin and former U.S. Olympian Jennie Finch calling the action. A free radio broadcast will also be available on Huskers.com.