Before leaving for the Kajiwaka Classic in Arizona, Nebraska softball coach Rhonda Revelle made a promise. The Huskers would not come up empty in the win column during the opening weekend of the season.
In a tournament that featured three ranked teams, how does 5-1 sound?
Nebraska closed out play in Tempe on Sunday with two more wins, defeating Cal State Northridge 9-1 and Seattle University 3-2.
Nebraska went 0-4 during the opening Puerto Vallarta Challenge last year, and that led to an 0-10 start.
The Huskers, this time, are coming home with some early momentum.
They got another strong outing in the circle from Kaylan Jablonski (3-0) in the win against Seattle. The senior right-hander pitched six-plus innings, struck out five and allowed only one walk.
Nebraska scored its three runs in the third inning. Taylor Otte doubled to deep left field to score a run, and Tristen Edwards followed with a home run to center field. The Huskers scored all three runs with two outs.
Seattle scored two runs in the sixth, and had a chance to tie the game in the seventh with a runner on second base. Freshman Olivia Ferrell entered the game and struck out the final two batters to pick up her first career save.
A seven-run second inning led the Huskers to a five-inning win against Northridge earlier in the day.
Nebraska sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning. The biggest hit came off the bat of junior catcher Bri Cassidy, who hit a three-run shot over the center-field fence. Junior infielder Madi Unzicker later doubled down the left-field line to drive in two runs, and Jablonski followed with an RBI hit. Jablonski later scored on Lexey Kneib's single.
That was more than enough for junior Regan Mergele (1-1), who limited Northridge to four hits and struck out four in four innings of work.
Offensively, every Husker starter had at least one hit. Alyvia Simmons and Kneib each had two hits.
Nebraska's pitchers combined for a 2.47 earned-run average over the weekend, and allowed only nine walks.
Edwards and Jablonski were the Huskers' top hitters over the weekend. Edwards hit .524 and Jablonski .474.