Category Archives: Huskers News

Nebraska softball suffers worst loss in program history against Minnesota

LINCOLN — A season of struggles continued Friday night for the Nebraska softball team with the biggest loss in the 42-year history of the program.

Minnesota handed Nebraska its worst loss ever with a 16-0, five-inning drubbing in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams before an estimated crowd of 150 at Bowlin Stadium.

Only two times before — and not since 1994 — have the Huskers given up double-digit run totals in back-to-back games.

Twice in the ’94 season, when Nebraska was playing in the Big Eight Conference, the Huskers lost 11-3 and 10-0 to Kansas in Lincoln.

Later that season, NU dropped 11-1 and 11-0 decisions at Oklahoma State. After falling 7-3 to the Cowboys in the third game of the four-game series, Oklahoma State won the finale 13-2.

The only other time that happened was in 1977 when the Huskers lost three straight — two to Northwest Missouri State (10-0, 14-2), followed by a 10-0 loss to UNO.

Friday’s loss to the No. 8-ranked Gophers also was the biggest margin of defeat Nebraska has had to any opponent and matched the most runs ever given up in one game. Nebraska lost to Iowa 15-1 in five innings in 1997, and New Mexico State beat Nebraska 16-11 in 2015.

It was a quick team huddle after the game for the Huskers, who have a chance to bounce back at 1 p.m. Saturday, the second game of the three-game series. NU coach Rhonda Revelle said she didn’t expect the team to dwell long on how the 26th game of the season turned out for the 8-18 Huskers.

“There’s not a lot to say after a game like that,” Revelle said. “The message was just continue to stay together and that I was proud of them that I could hear them the whole game and they still had a really good spirit about them.”

The Huskers didn’t get a base runner or hit until there were two outs in the bottom of the third against Sara Groenewegen, the Golden Gophers’ two-time All-America pitcher.

But Nebraska’s struggles started long before that as there were few positives to find from the Huskers’ offense, defense or pitching performances.

Minnesota out-hit the Huskers 15-3, but only two of those 15 hits went for extra bases — a double by right fielder Sam Macken and a three-run home run by third baseman Danielle Parlich. Those two combined to go 4 for 6 with eight runs scored and seven RBIs.

Nebraska was playing from behind just a few pitches into the game. Two errors on one play — by first baseman Alexis Perry and right fielder Tristen Edwards — gave the Golden Gophers a 1-0 lead after two batters.

The Huskers got out of the top of the first giving up just one more run, but Groenewegen got the Huskers’ hottest hitters — Alyvia Simmons, MJ Knighten and Edwards — out in order in the bottom of the inning.

Minnesota then got four more runs off Husker starter Kaylan Jablonski, who left the game after two innings having given up five hits and four walks, but only three earned runs.

Groenewegen again set the Huskers down in order in the second before the Gophers scored five times in the top of third off relief pitcher Caitlin Bartsch. One of those runs was unearned from the third of Nebraska’s four errors.

Nebraska finally got a base runner when Groenewegen issued a two-out walk to Laura Barrow in the bottom of the third. The Huskers followed with singles by Simmons and Knighten to load the bases before Edwards grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.

“At the plate we’re facing a first-team All-American and I think we came out swinging,” Revelle said. “This has happened to us a few times this year, but when you come out and give up so many runs early and you’re facing a great pitcher, it’s like you start in such a hole that it’s, I don’t know, it’s a different energy.”

Five more runs in the fourth inning put any hope of a comeback out of reach and shifted the focus to bouncing back on Saturday.

Minnesota (26-2, 1-0)……………….245 50—16 15 0

At Nebraska (8-18, 0-1)………………000 00— 0 3 4

W: Sara Groenewegen, 12-1. L: Kaylan Jablonski, 3-10. 2B: M, Sam Macken. HR: M, Danielle Parlich. A: 150 (est.).

Huskers hold off Cal Poly to win series opener

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Behind a strong start from Jake Hohensee, Nebraska earned a 3-2 win over Cal Poly in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday night.

The win was Nebraska’s fifth in six games. Cal Poly had won four of five entering the game.

Hohensee, who entered the night with a 2.33 ERA, shut out the Mustangs for the first six innings as he improved to 2-2 on the season.

Nebraska (10-9) and Cal Poly (7-13) will play the second game of the series Friday at 4 p.m.

Nebraska led throughout as the Huskers took advantage of Cal Poly mistakes from pitcher Erich Uelmen to score twice in the top of the first inning.

After Jake Meyers reached on a fielder’s choice and Scott Schreiber singled, Meyers came home on an errant pickoff attempt. Schreiber would later score on a wild pitch.

The score stayed 2-0 until Meyers scored again in the sixth. Meyers singled and stole second, and then with two outs, Ben Miller delivered an RBI double to right center.

Hohensee, meanwhile, was cruising against the Mustangs, who have been shut out six times this season.

The right-hander from Lincoln East retired the Mustangs in order in four of the first six innings.

The only inning Hohensee was in trouble was second, when he hit a batter, gave up a single and walked a batter to load the bases with two outs. But he got a groundout to first base to end the threat.

He got the first two batters in the seventh before allowing a single on his 102nd pitch of the night. For the night, Hohensee allowed three hits and walked one while striking out two — entering Thursday, he had walked 14 in 191⁄3 innings.

Nebraska coach Darin Erstad brought in reliever Jake McSteen, but he allowed three straight singles, including RBI hits by Scott Ogrin and Myles Emmerson. Erstad then called on Robbie Palkert, who got a groundout from Alex McKenna to end the threat with the Huskers up 3-2.

The bullpen then took care of the rest for the Huskers. Palkert pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing a single while striking out three. Then Luis Alvarado pitched a perfect ninth with a flyout and two strikeouts for his second save this season.

Nebraska finished with just four hits on the night — two in the first and two in the sixth — while Cal Poly had seven. Ogrin and Elijah Skipps had two hits apiece for the Mustangs.

Derek Burkamper will start for Nebraska on Friday, and Spencer Howard will take the mound for the Mustangs.

Nebraska (10-9) ……… 200 001 000—3 4 0

At Cal Poly (7-13) ……. 000 000 200—2 7 1

W: Hohensee, 2-2. L: Uelmen, 1-4. S: Alvarado, 2. 2B: NU, Miller.

Huskers come back to upset No. 11 Sun Devils

TEMPE, Ariz. — Nebraska upset No. 11 Arizona State 3-2 Thursday at the PERA Club.

The Huskers trailed 2-1 after Arizona State’s top two pairs won in straight sets, while Nebraska’s point came from Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney at the No. 4 spot.

But Nebraska got the final two team points to grab its first win over a ranked opponent this season. Lauren Stivrins and Kelly Hunter beat Sage Patchell and Ellyson Lundberg 21-19, 21-15 to square the match at 2-2.

Sydney Townsend and Brooke Smith won 11-21, 22-20, 16-14 over Frances Giedraitis and Kwyn Johnson to secure the win for the Huskers.

Looking for 3-point shooting help, Nebraska targets junior college standout Zach Copeland

LINCOLN — Nebraska basketball’s search for 3-point shooting help has led to a scholarship offer to the California Community College Athletic Association co-player of the year.

Zach Copeland is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound guard who helped City College of San Francisco to the 2016 state championship. CCSF, trying to repeat last week, was upset in the state semifinals by a basket, even though Copeland had 28 points and seven rebounds.

Copeland made 103 of 216 3s this season (47.7 percent), and 63 of 151 (41.7 percent) as a freshman. For comparison, Nebraska’s school record for most 3-pointers in a season is 89 by Cary Cochran in 2002.

Overall this season, Copeland hit 49.1 percent of his field goals and 86.2 percent of his free throws.

League coaches agreed to name Copeland the conference player of the year without even voting. He averaged 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

Marty Levinson, a former Bellevue West and University of Nebraska at Kearney player, now is an assistant coach at Saddleback Community College in suburban Los Angeles. Levinson has seen Copeland’s work in person, as CCSF toppled the defending champions from Saddleback a year ago.

“I love Zach’s game,’’ Levinson said Thursday. “He is a true shooting guard who can knock down big shots. He has a great pace to his game, decent size and the ability to handle the ball. And guard the 1, 2 or 3.

“He kicked our butt in the state championship game a year ago, and backed it up with another great year. He’s a Bay Area kid, and has no fear.’’

Copeland, a native of Oakland, California, played at Berkeley High School, which won a state championship his senior year.

Illinois State offered Copeland a scholarship in January. Other schools showing interest include Colorado, Washington State, Hawaii and New Mexico State.

Two Nebraska scholarships opened earlier this month.

Redshirt junior forward Nick Fuller will graduate in May and transfer to another school with immediate eligibility. Freshman forward Jeriah Horne also will transfer.

Nearly 700 college players transferred last season, and a similar total is expected this year. Recent NCAA studies show about 40 percent of players who enter Division I out of high school will transfer by the end of their sophomore season.

Among the schools this spring already with two or more transfers: Georgetown, Marquette, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, SMU, Tulsa and Virginia.

Nebraska has high interest in at least two other guards for next season.

Mark Smith — 6-4, 225 pounds from Edwardsville, Illinois — was just voted the state’s player of the year, the first non-Chicago athlete to win since 2004. He averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds in Illinois’ largest class.

The former Missouri baseball commit focused on basketball this season. After having only low- to mid-major interest, Smith now has offers from Butler, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Missouri and Ohio State.

Tywhon Pickford — 6-4, 195 pounds from Minneapolis — has started at city power Maple Grove High since he was a freshman but suffered a knee injury last season that slowed his recruiting.

Pickford bounced back to average 21.1 points and 8.3 rebounds and was one of 10 finalists for Mr. Basketball in Minnesota. His team was in the Class 4A state semifinals Thursday night. He has offers from Tulane, Ball State, Loyola-Chicago and Northern Iowa. Nebraska has been evaluating him throughout the state tourney.

The spring signing period starts April 12.

MJ Knighten’s homer in 6th helps NU put UNO away in offensive battle

After a stunning setback to Wichita State earlier in the week, Nebraska bounced back with an 18-hit performance Wednesday that powered the Huskers to a 15-11 softball victory over UNO.

The Huskers surrendered five runs in the sixth inning against the Shockers that turned a 5-2 lead into a 7-5 loss. NU coach Rhonda Revelle said “the bus ride back was silent” and the team had the day off Tuesday before the annual game against the Mavs.

Turns out the 8-17 Huskers needed those runs to hold off a pesky Mavs team that fought back from an early seven-run deficit to get within 12-10 in the top of the sixth inning.

Nebraska answered UNO’s five-run sixth with a three-run home run from All-America third baseman MJ Knighten in the bottom of the inning to take a 15-10 lead into the seventh inning.

UNO (9-20) scored once in the seventh, and that run helped produce a historic score. The 26 combined runs are the most in the 16-year history of Bowlin Stadium, eclipsing the 25 scored in Nebraska’s 15-10 win over Michigan State in the 2015 Big Ten opener.

Revelle said Husker hitting coach Diane Miller told the team before the game she wanted them to score 15 runs.

“I thought our offense fought,” Revelle said. “That was the message of the day, that offense needs to win it for us. Diane actually asked for 15 runs before the game started, and we needed 15.”

Cassie McClure also fought from the circle to even her record at 5-5. The senior from Kingwood, Texas, twirled 144 pitches through 52⁄3 innings, giving up 13 hits and 10 runs, eight of those earned.

Freshman Sydney McLeod got the final four outs to earn the first save of her career before 391 fans.

It’s been a rough start to the season for the Huskers, who haven’t had a losing season since going 25-28 in 2008. There were only two other losing seasons in Revelle’s first 24 years, and those were her first two seasons leading the program in 1993 and 1994.

Revelle said it’s important for the team to be accountable in all aspects of the game.

“We get upset when pitchers seem to give pitches away,” she said. “I don’t want us to give pitches away when they’re in the batter’s box. I want to hold the same accountability for our offense.

“Our offense needs to think, ‘We’re going to be the offensive team and we’re going to carry our pitchers as long as we need to.’ ”

Like the pitching staff, the offense has had its share of struggles this season. When the team scores 15 runs it helps dull memories of the 12 games when Nebraska’s offense was shut out or scored just one run.

Three home runs certainly go a long way toward helping soothe concerns about an offense that was hitting .259 as a team entering Wednesday’s game. NU’s defense also committed three errors, running the season total to 36.

McClure aided her own cause with a three-run home run to left-center field in the bottom of the first inning that helped the Huskers flip a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 lead heading into the second inning.

Freshman shortstop Haley Donaldson of Fort Collins, Colorado, made the first extra-base hit of her collegiate career a memorable one with a grand slam tucked just inside the left-field foul pole, putting NU ahead 9-2.

UNO got two runs back in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Kelly Pattison. The Huskers responded with three in the bottom of the fourth.

McClure and Donaldson reached on back-to-back one-out singles. Freshman Alexis Perry drove home Taylor Otte, who was pinch-running for McClure, with a double to center field before pinch-hitter Kaylan Jablonski stroked a two-run single to right-center that put Nebraska ahead 12-4.

The Mavs scored once in the fifth to keep the game going before scoring five runs in the sixth. The big blow was a two-out grand slam by Hailey Bartz before Knighten’s three-run blast in the bottom of the inning.

The Huskers will host No. 8 Minnesota in the Big Ten season-opening series beginning with a 5:30 p.m. game Friday at Bowlin Stadium. The other two games are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

UNO (9-20)…………………..200 215 1—11 17 2

At Nebraska (8-17)…………540 303 x—15 18 3

W: Cassie McClure (5-5). L: Abbie Clanton (4-10). 2B: UNO, Emma Dargy; N, Alexis Perry. HR: UNO, Lizzie Noble, Hailey Bartz; N, MJ Knighten, McClure, Haley Donaldson. A: 391.

Six Huskers make up 2017 Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame class

A group of six Huskers make up the 2017 Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame class, which was released Wednesday.

The members of the 2017 class are: Bob Brown, Karen (Dahlgren) Schonewise, Denise Day, Rich Glover, Dave Hoppen and Scott Johnson. This will be the third class enshrined in the Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame.

The class combined to win three individual national titles, six team national championships and 19 All-America accolades. All six have either had their Nebraska jersey retired or are already enshrined in their respective sport’s Hall of Fame.

The class will be formally inducted on Oct. 13.

More on each member of the 2016 class:

>> Bob Brown, football (1961-63): Brown was the Huskers’ first African-American to be named an All-American, helping Nebraska to its first Big Eight tile in 1963 as an offensive lineman and linebacker. He’s one of three Huskers enshrined in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. His No. 64 jersey is retired at Nebraska. Brown, a No. 2 overall draft pick, went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and seven-time first-team All-NFL selection.

>> Karen (Dahlgren) Schonewise, volleyball (1983-86):Nebraska swept the Big Eight regular-season and tournament championships during Dahlgren’s four seasons. She was a two-time All-American and Nebraska’s first winner of the Honda Award (1986), which goes to the nation’s best player. She ended her career as Nebraska’s all-time leader in blocks (555), and her No. 13 jersey was retired in 2003. A native of Bertrand, she is also No. 49 in The World-Herald’s Nebraska 100.

> Denise Day, softball (1982-85) and track & field (1985): The first All-American in Nebraska softball history, the Huskers won six conference championships (regular season and tournament) during her career. She was a two-time All-American, won the 1985 Honda Award, and the Huskers reached the Women’s College World Series twice during her career. Nebraska retired her No. 10 jersey in 1999. Day also threw javelin and finished second at the 1985 Big Eight Outdoor Championships.

>> Rich Glover, football (1970-72): Glover won the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy in 1972, the second player in college football history to win both honors in the same season. He was also a two-time All-American, the 1972 Big Eight defensive player of the year and finished third for the Heisman Trophy. The Huskers won a pair of national championships and three Big Eight titles during his career. Also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Glover’s No. 79 jersey is retired at Nebraska.

>> Dave Hoppen, basketball (1983-86): Hoppen is the all-time leading scorer in Nebraska history with 2,167 career points, the only player to surpass the 2,000-point mark. He broke or tied 19 Nebraska records and five Big Eight records during his career. Hoppen was a four-time All-Big Eight selection with three first-team distinctions. Nebraska retired his No. 42 jersey in 1986 as part of his Senior Day ceremony. An Omaha Benson alumnus, Hoppen is No. 78 in the Nebraska 100.

>> Scott Johnson, gymnastics (1980-83): Johnson was a part of four national championship teams while winning three individual titles and capturing 11 All-America honors. He was also a five-time Big Eight champion. He helped the United States win its first Olympic gold medal at the 1984 Games and also competed at the 1988 Olympics. Johnson is a member of both the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Nebraska women’s basketball players are buying in to coach Amy Williams’ message, plan to return

LINCOLN — Nebraska women’s basketball coach Amy Williams hasn’t finished recruiting for this cycle. She’s willing to add the right high school or junior college player to the 2017 class, so she’ll be scouting plenty of prospects in the next several weeks.

But it doesn’t appear she’ll have many scholarships to fill.

In a rarity for college basketball — especially after a seven-win season like Nebraska’s — Williams said she expected none of the current players to leave. While NU loses seniors Allie Havers and Esther Ramacieri to graduation, 12 other players had their meetings with Williams and plan to return.

“We’ve been able to set the tone about expectations moving forward and feel good about everybody being on board with that,” Williams said recently in an end-of-season interview. “The scope of women’s basketball — of athletics in general — is it’s an ever-changing situation, and who knows, when they go on spring break, what kids really think about. But we just feel really excited everybody’s on the same page. It’s full throttle on the gas moving forward.”

Guard Nicea Eliely, who just completed her freshman season, said she and her teammates are buying into Williams’ vision.

“We believe in each other, we believe in the coaching staff and we know enough about each other to know we’re going to do better,” Eliely said.

The returnees will include All-Big Ten center Jessica Shepard, who will miss the next 4-6 weeks after minor knee surgery. Williams praised Shepard for persisting throughout the season, making “improvements with commitment to conditioning” and becoming more versatile on offense. Shepard averaged 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds this season — 19.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in Big Ten play — despite often seeing double teams.

“The more comfortable she got in what we were doing, she was able to excel down the stretch,” Williams said. “It’s not any magic recipe of what we did or said. The credit goes to Jessica and her toughness to be able to stick with it.”

After a 7-22 campaign — the worst in school history, albeit in a major transition year with a brand new coaching staff — Nebraska has plenty to work on around Shepard, who reached 1,000 career points faster than any other player in NU history.

The list of improvements, Williams said, starts with a basic attitude.

“We want to be the hardest-working team in our conference,” Williams said. “We feel like we fell short of that. We’re going to approach each day with, ‘What can we do to be the hardest-working team in the conference?’”

That attitude can then be applied to key areas: stingier defense and more aggressive rebounding.

NU gave up 76.3 points per game last season. Opponents shot 44.5 percent from the floor.

“Thanks for reminding me,” Williams said with a laugh. Williams said a “Camp Defense” — one week of working on nothing but defense — might help address the problem.

NU also was outrebounded by an average of 2.6 boards per game. In Big Ten play, the gap grew to 5.7 rebounds per game. One of Nebraska’s best rebounders, Rachel Blackburn, redshirted this season while recovering from knee surgery.

Williams said Nebraska didn’t necessarily have to recruit another post player in this cycle to improve in rebounding.

“Rebounding is a mindset thing, a discipline, a want-to,” she said.

More competition, especially in the backcourt, should help. Bria Stallworth and Janay Morton — transfers from Massachusetts and Eastern Michigan who had to sit out this season — will give NU two college-experienced guards who can compete for starting jobs. Nebraska also adds five-star recruit Taylor Kissinger from Minden. Williams said Kissinger’s reputation as a good 3-point shooter will help.

Nebraska should have a good guard base in returning starters Eliely, Hannah Whitish and Jasmine Cincore. Whitish and Eliely, Williams said, made big strides at the end of their freshman seasons. Cincore is solid defensively and wants to improve her offense, Williams said.

Eliely led the team in blocks and steals, finished second in assists per game, and third in rebounding and points per game. Eliely said she wants to continue to work on her shot.

Williams said she’s “very excited” to see where Eliely and Whitish take their games. The same goes for junior-to-be and Lincoln Pius X graduate Maddie Simon, whom Williams said was “kind of shuttled” between positions and assignments this season. Simon averaged fewer points and minutes per game this season than she did as a freshman. Williams said Simon is close to a breakthrough.

“It’s not about skill. It’s not about talent,” Williams said. “It’s about repetition and confidence.”

The same might be said of the team as a whole. The last time Nebraska had a season this poor, it was 2003, when, in Connie Yori’s first year, the team finished 8-20 overall and 1-15 in the Big 12. The next season, NU won 18 games.

Could these Huskers make a similar leap? Two late-season wins over Michigan State and Indiana give Eliely confidence.

“Winning seven games is never something to be proud of, but I feel like, as the year went on, our team grew a lot,” Eliely said. “We got better. And I think we’re going to continue to grow.”

Two-out rally in the eighth inning carries Cal State Bakersfield past Nebraska baseball

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Nebraska overcame two deficits but gave up four runs in the eighth inning — all with two outs — to lose 8-6 to Cal State Bakersfield in its first true road baseball game of the season late Tuesday night.

In a contest that featured 29 total hits, the Huskers couldn’t answer CSUB’s late rally. NU closer Chad Luensmann got the first two outs in the eighth, but surrendered four singles and two walks from there. The Roadrunners tied the game on a bases-loaded balk, and Mahlik Jones’ two-run single provided the winning margin.

Jake Meyers and Scott Schreiber each went 3 for 5 and the Huskers matched a season high with 13 hits, but they still saw their winning streak ended at four games.

Cal State Bakersfield jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning. After Mark Pena and Andrew Penner led off with singles, Ryan Grotjohn came through with a two-out, two-run hit. Grotjohn finished 2 for 3 after going 5 for 5 against UC Riverside Sunday.

CSUB senior right-hander Garrett Nimmo retired nine of the first 12 Huskers he faced before Nebraska broke through with a three-run fourth to take the lead. A Schreiber hit and Ben Miller walk set up Luis Alvarado’s RBI single, and Jake Schleppenbach later added a sacrifice fly as Miller slid under the tag at home plate.

Another run came in on a high-throw error by Grotjohn at shortstop, and the Roadrunners ended the rally only after they threw out Alex Raburn at home on Mojo Hagge’s hit into left.

The Roadrunners retook a 4-3 edge in the fifth, highlighted by Max Carter connecting for his team’s first home run of the season. His two-out shot to left was followed by a hit by pitch and Jones’ RBI triple.

NU starter Matt Waldron lasted six innings and 126 pitches despite giving up 11 hits. The sophomore righty was charged with four earned runs but stranded eight more Roadrunners while striking out two.

Nimmo went 6-1⁄3 innings for Bakersfield and Naithen Dewsnap picked up the victory despite giving up two runs in 2-2⁄3 innings of relief.

The Huskers put Waldron in line for the win with a two-out uprising in the seventh. After Schreiber and Meyers reached on infield singles, Alvarado guided an RBI single to right-center to cap an eight-pitch at-bat. Alvarado and Schreiber then executed a double steal, with Schreiber scoring unnoticed on the play.

They led 6-4 after an Angelo Altavilla RBI single in the eighth before CSUB rallied.

Nebraska travels west Wednesday to San Luis Obispo, California, and will open a four-game series against Cal Poly beginning Thursday at 6 p.m.

Nebraska (9-9)…………………..000 300 210—6 13 0

CSU Bakersfield (11-5)…………200 020 04x—8 16 1

W: Naithen Dewsnap (3-0). L: Chad Luensmann (1-1).

Former Notre Dame assistant Scott Booker joins Nebraska staff as special teams consultant

Nebraska has hired Notre Dame’s former special teams coordinator and tight ends coach to work as a consultant.

Nebraska confirmed Tuesday that Scott Booker — who worked as ND’s special teams coordinator from 2012 through 2016 — will be a special teams consultant for the Huskers. He also recently changed his Twitter avatar to Nebraska’s logo, and several NU coaches have started following him, as well, on Twitter.

Booker was also seen at Nebraska’s spring practice Thursday.

A four-year player at Kent State, Booker coached the Golden Flashes’ defensive backs 2005-2008 before joining Notre Dame’s staff in 2010 as an intern. He became a full-time assistant in 2012 and worked several years with current Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco and current NU safeties coach Bob Elliott.

Diaco is an enthusiastic coach on special teams, asking for and receiving the duties to coach the punters. Diaco said he used to punt as a youngster.

Huskers can’t take advantage of Shocker mistakes in loss

WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita State scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday to rally for a 7-5 softball victory over Nebraska at Wilkins Stadium.

The Shockers improved to 16-10 despite committing four errors as the Huskers (7-17) consistently were unable to come up with a key hit to take advantage of the miscues.

Kaylan Jablonski took the loss for the Huskers after facing just three batters. She inherited one runner on base with no outs before issuing two more walks and a two-run single. Cassie McClure started and finished the game, throwing 6.0 innings and allowing four runs on five hits.

Alyvia Simmons and MJ Knighten again did much of the heavy lifting on offense. Simmons was 2-for-4 and scored twice out of the leadoff spot while Knighten – who earlier Monday was named the Big Ten’s co-player of the week – was 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI out of the No. 2 spot in the order.

Batters three through nine in the Husker lineup combined to go 0-for-19 against WSU starting pitcher Jenni Brooks and former Crete High School standout Katie Malone, who pitched the final 2.2 innings and gave up just one hit and no walks while improving to 14-6.

Malone got the final eight outs of the game on just 32 pitches.

Nebraska now has lost 12 consecutive road games and saw its three-game losing streak end with the loss. The Huskers return to action Wednesday with a 3 p.m. game at Bowlin Stadium against Nebraska-Omaha.

Nebraska (7-17) ……………….. 101 030 0—5 5 0

At Wichita State (16-10) ……. 000 115 x—7 6 4

W: Katie Malone (14-6). L: Kaylan Jablonski (3-9). 3B: W, McKenzie Adams. HR: W, Macklin Hitz.