Huskers and Wolverines Set for Big Ten Battle in Ann Arbor

Husker Mascot logo on the left and the words Nebraska Softball on the right.

The Nebraska softball team travels to Ann Arbor this weekend for a pivotal three-game series with Michigan in a battle of two of the top three teams in the Big Ten standings.

Michigan (30-14) enters the weekend in second place in the Big Ten standings with an 11-3 conference record. Nebraska (25-16) is third in the standings with an 8-3 Big Ten record. In addition to trying to improve their conference standing, Michigan and Nebraska are also looking to strengthen their position for a potential at-large NCAA Tournament berth. 

Both the Huskers and Wolverines are in the top 50 of the NCAA RPI and each school has claimed its highest RPI ranking of the season this week. Nebraska is No. 44 in the RPI heading into Friday’s game after a season-high ranking of No. 43 on Tuesday. Michigan brings a season-high RPI ranking of 50 into this weekend’s series.

Including this weekend’s series, Nebraska has three challenging weekend series remaining on its conference schedule. After taking on second-place Michigan this weekend, the Huskers will host league-leading Northwestern next weekend. NU then closes the regular season with a three-game series at Minnesota, which is fifth in the Big Ten standings.

Fans can watch Friday’s game on FS1 or the Fox Sports app. The final two games will air on Big Ten+, with subscriptions starting at $9.99 per month. A free radio broadcast of every game this season will be available on or the official Huskers app.

Leading Off

  • Six of Nebraska’s 24 players (25 percent of the roster) are out for the season with an injury.
  • A total of 12 Huskers have missed at least one game due to injury this season.
  • Nebraska is averaging 6.1 runs per game this season. Only twice in program history (2015 and 2022) has a Husker team averaged 6.0 runs per game.
  • NU leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally with 76 doubles. The Huskers are on pace for 111 doubles this season which would be a Big Ten record.
  • Nebraska leads the Big Ten with 127 extra-base hits.
  • Nebraska has won four games when trailing after six innings this season, its most such wins in a season this century.
  • Billie Andrews is two home runs shy of becoming the sixth player in Big Ten history with 60 career home runs.
  • Billie Andrews and Sydney Gray are the only players to win multiple Big Ten Player of the Week awards this season.
  • Brooke Andrews enters this weekend’s series with 99 career RBIs.
  • Kaylin Kinney is one of only six pitchers nationally with at least 15 wins and four saves this season.

Offense Ranks Highly in School History
Nebraska boasts one of the top offenses in school history this season. The Huskers rank seventh nationally in doubles (76), 28th in home runs (46) and 30th in scoring (6.1 runs per game).

  • With a .300 average that currently ranks seventh in school history, NU is looking to post a .300 batting average for the third straight season and for the seventh time in program history.
  • Nebraska also owns a .493 slugging percentage that is on pace to rank fifth in school history.
  • The Huskers are averaging 6.1 runs per game. That currently ranks as the second-highest scoring average in school history. Only twice in program history has Nebraska averaged 6.0 runs per game: 2015 (6.9 runs per game) and 2022 (6.0 runs per game).
  • Nebraska leads the Big Ten with 127 extra-base hits and is on pace for 164 extra-base hits this season. That extra-base hit total would rank third in school history.
  • The Huskers also lead the Big Ten with 76 doubles and are on pace for 111 doubles. The school record for doubles is 94 and the Big Ten doubles record is 110 by Minnesota in 2015.

Huskers Showing Comeback Ability in 2024
Nebraska has shown a knack for coming from behind this season. The Huskers have trailed in 15 of their 25 wins, including nine times when Nebraska came back from a multi-run deficit.

  • The Huskers have won four times when trailing after six innings this season. Nebraska is 4-10 when trailing after six innings in 2024 after a 3-74 record in the previous five seasons.
  • Nebraska’s four wins this season when trailing after six innings match the 2016 team for the most wins when trailing after six innings since at least 2000.

Nebraska Leading the Big Ten in Extra-Base Hits
Nebraska has hit 76 doubles, five triples and 46 home runs for a total of 127 extra-base hits this season. That total leads the Big Ten and two Huskers rank in the top five in extra-base hits.

  • Nebraska leads the Big Ten with 127 extra-base hits. The Huskers lead the conference with 76 doubles and are tied for second with 46 home runs, two shy of the Big Ten lead.
  • Individually, Billie Andrews ranks third in the Big Ten with 26 extra-base hits. Ava Bredwell is tied for fifth in the Big Ten with 22 extra-base hits.

Kinney Pitching Well Despite Increased Workload
Kaylin Kinney has pitched in 31 of Nebraska’s 41 games (76 percent), ranking 15th nationally in appearances. Kinney has pitched in 13 of Nebraska’s last 14 games and in 10 of the Huskers’ 11 Big Ten Conference games. She has started 14 games and thrown 122.2 innings this season after combining for 14 starts and 114.1 innings in her first three seasons.

  • Kinney is 15-10 this season with four saves. She has earned either the win of the save in 19 of Nebraska’s 25 victories. Kinney has been involved in the decision in 12 of Nebraska’s last 14 games, posting a 7-2 record with three saves during that stretch.
  • Kinney ranks 25th nationally in wins and 31st in saves. She is one of only six Division I pitchers with at least 15 wins and four saves this season.

Billie Andrews Breaks Husker Home Run Record
Billie Andrews ranks 10th nationally in home runs per game (0.4) with 15 homers in 37 games. She is Nebraska’s all-time home run leader with 58 career homers.

  • Andrews hit the record-breaking 55th home run of her career against Illinois on March 22. Nebraska’s previous home run record was 54, set by Taylor Edwards (2011-14).
  • Andrews has also tied another home run record. She has seven games with multiple homers in her career, tying Tristen Edwards (2017-21) for the most multi-homer games in NU history.
  • Andrews has 15 home runs this season. She is the first Husker to hit 15 or more home runs in three different seasons and just the second to have two 15-homer seasons.
  • Andrews ranks 13th among all active Division I players with 58 career home runs. 

Billie Andrews Becomes second Husker In 40-40 Club
Billie Andrews has joined Jennifer Lizama as the only players in program history to hit 40 career home runs and steal 40 career bases. With three more stolen bases, Andrews would become the first Husker with 50 career home runs and 50 career stolen bases.

  • Nationally, there are only nine active Division I players with 40 career home runs and 40 career stolen bases. Of those nine, Andrews is one of only four players who has played her entire career in a power conference.

Billie Andrews Moving Into Big Ten Record Book
Billie Andrews’ production at the plate is leaving its mark in the Big Ten record book. Andrews already finds herself on the Big Ten’s all-time home runs list and she is also looking for a place on the Big Ten’s career slugging percentage top 10.

  • Andrews’ 58 career home runs rank sixth in Big Ten history. Andrews is on pace to finish her career with 63 home runs, a total that would rank fourth in Big Ten history.
  • Andrews’ .683 career slugging percentage currently ranks 10th in Big Ten history.
  • Andrews is on pace to hit 20 home runs this season. Andrews is bidding to become just the third player in Big Ten history with two 20-home run seasons. The only two Big Ten players with two 20-home run seasons are Michigan’s Sierra Romero and Samantha Findlay.

Billie Andrews Among Nation’s Extra-Base Hit Leaders
Billie Andrews ranks third in school history with 96 career extra-base hits, including 26 this season. Forty-three percent of her career hits have gone for extra bases.

  • Andrews ranks 15th nationally with 25 extra-base hits. She ranks seventh in extra-base hits per game (0.70) and fourth among Power Conference players.
  • Andrews has at least one extra-base hit in 22 of her 37 games this season. Andrews has also had three games this season with multiple extra-base hits.
  • In addition to ranking fourth in extra-base hits per game, Andrews ranks seventh nationally in runs per game (1.2), eighth in home runs per game (0.4) and 24th in slugging percentage (.821). Andrews is one of only seven players nationally - and one of four from a Power Conference - who ranks in the top 25 nationally in each of those three categories.
  • Andrews ranks 21st among all active Division I players with 96 career extra-base hits. She ranks ninth in career extra-base hits per game (0.49).

Scouting Michigan (30-14, 11-3)
Michigan won its 30th game of the season Wednesday, defeating in-state rival Michigan State, 5-1. The Wolverines are 30-14 and have won six straight games. Michigan is in second place in the Big Ten standings with an 11-3 conference record. The Wolverines have swept every Big Ten series with the exception of Northwestern in the first weekend of April, when the first-place Wildcats swept Michigan.

Nebraska and Michigan share seven common opponents this season in Cal State Fullerton, Illinois, Long Beach State, Maine, Northern Colorado, Sacramento State and UCLA. The Huskers posted a 9-2 record against that group while Michigan went 5-4.

Michigan is 10-0 at home as the Wolverines are one of only 14 teams with a perfect home record in 2024. Dating back to last year Michigan has won 12 straight home games.

The Wolverine offense has come alive over the second half of the season. In the first 19 games this season, Michigan averaged only 3.0 runs per game. But in the last 26 games, the Wolverines have averaged 6.9 runs per game. Michigan is hitting .336 as a team in conference play, the second-best batting average in the Big Ten.

Defensively, Michigan is allowing 3.2 runs per game while posting a 2.81 team ERA and .968 fielding percentage. The Wolverines lead the Big Ten with 277 strikeouts and rank second in the conference in ERA and opponent batting average (.233).

  • Maddie Erickson is hitting .366 to lead a trio of Michigan starters batting above .300. Erickson also leads the team in hits (52), doubles (11) and RBIs (32) while ranking second in home runs (8) and slugging percentage (.613).
  • Ellie Sieler is second on the team with a .362 average, and her 11 sacrifice bunts lead the Big Ten and rank 11th nationally. Sieler has scored a team-high 35 runs while adding six doubles, two triples and four home runs.
  • Ella McVey is hitting .303 to round out the three Michigan starters with a .300 average.
  • Keke Tholl is batting .281 and leads the Wolverines with 12 home runs and a .620 slugging percentage. She also ranks second on the team with 30 RBIs. Tholl is the reigning co-Big Ten Player of the Week after she went 7-for-12 with five home runs in five games last week.
  • Jenissa Conway is one of the top power threats in the Michigan lineup, as she has five doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 26 RBIs.
  • Ella Stephenson is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week after she went 8-for-19 (.421) with five runs and five RBIs in five games last week. Stephenson is hitting .244 on the year.
  • In the circle, Lauren Derkowski and Erin Hoehn have been the Wolverines’ primary pitchers this season, combining to throw 76 percent of the team’s innings.
  • Derkowski is 12-7 with three saves and a 2.37 ERA in 132.2 innings. Derkowski ranks second in the Big Ten in innings and strikeouts (143) and fourth in ERA. Nationally, Derkowski ranks 27th nationally in strikeouts.
  • Hoehn is 14-4 with two saves and a 3.14 ERA in 84.2 innings. She leads the team in wins and opponents are hitting just .218 against her.
  • Jessica LeBeau (2-2, 2.97 ERA in 37.2 IP), Hannah George (2-1, 2.59 ERA in 24.1 IP) and Emerson Aiken (0-0, 8.40 ERA in 5.0 IP) round out the Michigan staff.
  • Bonnie Tholl is in her second season as Michigan’s head coach after previously spending 29 years as a Wolverine assistant coach. Tholl has guided Michigan to a 56-39 record in her two seasons as head coach.
  • Overall, Tholl is in her 31st season on the Michigan staff in 2024. She has helped the Wolverines win the 2005 national championship, 22 Big Ten regular-season championships and 10 Big Ten Tournament titles in her time as a Wolverine coach.