The 19th-ranked Nebraska softball team begins postseason play this weekend at the NCAA Columbia Regional, hosted by the University of Missouri. The Huskers will open the regional Friday at 12:30 p.m. against Kansas, before the 15th-seeded Tigers host Bradley at 3 p.m.
Nebraska is seeking back-to-back trips to the Women’s College World Series, after the Huskers made it to Oklahoma City last season. The first step on that journey is winning a tough Columbia Regional, which is one of only four regionals to feature a pair of teams ranked in the top 20 of the two major polls (No. 13 Missouri and No. 18 Nebraska).
The Huskers will open play Friday against a strong Kansas squad that gave Nebraska everything it could handle in a 1-0 Husker victory on March 15. Bradley or Missouri awaits Nebraska on Saturday. Bradley erupted for 20 runs in three games en route to winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament last weekend. Missouri earned its No. 15 national seed by winning 11 games against ranked opponents this season. The Tigers have also been one of the nation’s top postseason teams the past few seasons. Missouri has won six consecutive NCAA Regionals, becoming one of only three schools in the country to advance to an NCAA Super Regional in each of the past six seasons.
Nebraska has faced the nation’s third-toughest non-conference schedule according to the NCAA RPI, and the Huskers hope that challenging schedule will help them this weekend. NU owns a 10-10 record against the 2014 NCAA Tournament field, including a 4-8 mark against the 16 national seeds and a 6-2 record against non-seeded teams. The Huskers also challenged themselves on the road this season, posting a 16-4 record in opposing stadiums. NU’s 16 road wins this season rank second in the country.
The Huskers also appear to be playing their best softball heading into the postseason. Despite an early exit from the Big Ten Tournament, Nebraska has won 14 of its last 16 games, outscoring its opponents 117-21 during that stretch. Since April 1, the Huskers are 17-4, and NU has outscored its opponents by an average of more than five runs per game during that time.
Nebraska is makings its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 20 seasons. Overall, the Huskers have appeared in 22 NCAA Tournaments, the 10th-most appearances in NCAA history. NU also ranks 10th in NCAA history with seven trips to the Women’s College World Series and 13th win 55 all-time NCAA Tournament wins. Rhonda Revelle owns a 39-35 record in 18 postseason appearances.
Nebraska was selected for postseason play for the 18th time in the past 20 seasons. Overall, the Huskers will be making their 22nd all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, a total that ranks 10th in NCAA history. NU owns a 55-45 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, posting the 13th-highest win total in NCAA history. After advancing to the program’s seventh Women’s College World Series in 2013, the Huskers are seeking back-to-back trips to the WCWS for the first time since 1987 and 1988. Nebraska’s seven all-time appearances at the Women’s College World Series rank 10th in NCAA history.