Nebraska Travels to Rutgers for Three-Game Series

Photo Credit: NU Athletic Communications
Photo Credit: NU Athletic Communications

The Nebraska softball team travels to Piscataway, N.J., this weekend for a three-game Big Ten series against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Rutgers Softball Complex.

The Rutgers series is the first of two consecutive Big Ten road series for the Huskers. Including this weekend, three of the four Big Ten series between Nebraska and Rutgers have been played in Piscataway. The Huskers hold a 5-2 record at the Rutgers Softball Complex, but the Scarlet Knights have won the last two meetings in Piscataway.

Nebraska brings a 23-15 record into the series, and the Huskers sit in fourth place in the Big Ten standings. Rutgers is 25-16 overall and in sixth place in the Big Ten standings (7-4). Nebraska is coming off a series loss at home last weekend to Penn State. The Nittany Lions hit a game-winning two-run homer in the sixth inning of game one before hitting a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning of game three, which they won in 10 innings.

This weekend’s matchup pits two of the Big Ten’s best sluggers against each other. Rutgers’ Morgan Smith leads the Big Ten with 30 extra-base-hits and 17 home runs, while Nebraska’s Billie Andrews ranks second in the conference with 25 extra-base hits and 14 homers.

Fans can watch all three games this weekend with a subscription to Big Ten+, with subscriptions starting at $9.99 per month. A free radio broadcast of every game of the series - and every game this season - will be available on or the official Huskers app.

Leading Off

  • This weekend will mark Nebraska’s third conference series in Piscataway while Rutgers has come to Lincoln just once.
  • Nebraska is averaging 6.0 runs per game this season. Only twice in program history (2015 and 2022) has a Husker team averaged 6.0 runs per game.
  • Nebraska is tied for the Big Ten lead and ranks eighth nationally with 70 doubles.
  • The Huskers rank ninth nationally with 21 double plays this season.
  • NU leads the Big Ten with 116 extra-base hits. Individually, Billie Andrews ranks second in the Big Ten with 25 extra-base hits behind Rutgers’ Morgan Smith (30).
  • Nebraska has won four games when trailing after six innings this season, its most such wins in a season this century.
  • Billie Andrews needs one more home run to become the first player in school history to have three seasons with 15 or more 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 four pitchers to rank in the top 25 nationally in victories and saves.

A Look at the Lineup
Nebraska’s batting lineup has begun to take shape since Big Ten play began. The Huskers used a different batting order in each of the first 33 games this season, but Nebraska has used the same batting order in back-to-back games twice in the last six games.

  • Billie Andrews and Brooke Andrews have hit first and second for the past 22 games. During those 22 games, Nebraska has averaged 6.9 runs per game. In the first 16 games this season, NU averaged 4.7 runs per game. The sisters have combined to average 2.6 hits, 2.3 runs and 1.8 RBIs per game when hitting first and second in the lineup.
  • Ava Bredwell, Samantha Bland and Sydney Gray have hit third, fourth and fifth in the lineup, respectively, in each of the past nine games. During those nine games, Nebraska has averaged 7.1 runs per game. Bredwell, Bland and Gray have solidified their spots in the middle of the lineup after putting up big numbers the past 20 games.
  • Peyton Cody has started four of the last six games at designated player, batting sixth or seventh in each of those starts. Cody is 5-for-11 with four RBIs in her last four starts.
  • Bella Bacon has also been a mainstay in the lineup, primarily batting seventh. A first-year transfer from Purdue, Bacon has reached base more than any other Husker over the last 10 games, posting a .515 on-base percentage in that stretch to complement a .360 average.
  • Caitlynn Neal has hit her way back into the lineup. In a stretch of three games from March 31 to April 5, Neal earned at bats as a defensive replacement and went 4-for-5 with a double off the bench. She has returned to the starting lineup the past two games and is 4-for-7 in those two games with a double, a homer, three runs and five RBIs.
  • Katelyn Caneda has hit ninth in each of the past 12 games, acting as a second leadoff hitter batting ahead of Billie Andrews. NU is averaging 7.3 runs with Caneda hitting ninth.

Kinney Pitching Well Despite Increased Workload
Kaylin Kinney has pitched in 76 percent of Nebraska’s games, ranking ninth nationally with 29 appearances, including pitching in 11 straight games. She has made 12 starts with 113.2 innings pitched in 2024 after combining for 14 starts and 114.1 innings in her first three seasons.

  • Kinney is 14-10 this season with four saves. She has earned either the win of the save in 18 of Nebraska’s 23 victories. Kinney has been involved in the decision in each of Nebraska’s last 11 games, posting a 6-2 record with three saves during that stretch.
  • Kinney ranks 22nd nationally in wins and 24th in saves. She is one of only four Division I pitchers who rank in the top 25 nationally in wins and saves. The other three pitchers are: NiJaree Canady (Stanford); Emiley Kennedy (Texas A&M); and Emily Winburn (Delaware).

Scouting Rutgers (25-16, 7-4 Big Ten)
Rutgers is 25-16 after sweeping a doubleheader at Maryland on Wednesday. The Scarlet Knights are 7-4 in Big Ten play, with the seven conference victories ranking second in the Big Ten. Rutgers has won five of its last six games, all against Big Ten teams.

Nebraska and Rutgers share three common opponents this season in Duke, UCLA and Wisconsin. The Huskers went 3-2 against that group while the Scarlet Knights were 2-3. Rutgers hits .295 as a team and leads the Big Ten with 253 runs while averaging 6.2 runs per game. The Scarlet Knights are limiting their opponents to 3.8 runs per game and fielding at a .963 clip. Rutgers has outscored its opponents by 98 runs this season, the best run differential of any Big Ten team.

  • Offensively, Rutgers has started the same nine players in the batting lineup in all 41 games this season.
  • Morgan Smith is the Scarlet Knights’ top hitter and one of the top hitters in the Big Ten and the country. Smith leads the team with a .457 average, nine doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 57 RBIs, a .984 slugging percentage and a .503 on-base percentage.
  • Smith leads the Big Ten in hits (59), home runs, RBI and slugging percentage and ranks second in triples and third in batting average.
  • Nationally, Smith ranks second in RBIs, third in home runs, fourth in slugging percentage, eighth in hits and ninth in batting average.
  • In game two Wednesday at Maryland, Smith had five RBIs to increase her season total to 57, setting a school record for RBIs in a season.
  • Kyleigh Sand is hitting .375 with eight doubles, four triples and 20 RBIs. She leads the team in triples, runs (45), walks (27) and stolen bases (11). Sand ranks second in the Big Ten and 10th nationally in runs scored.
  • LA Matthews (.308) and Kayla Bock (.302) give Rutgers four starters hitting above .300. Matthews has added nine doubles and 21 RBIs while Bock has five doubles, two homers and 25 RBIs.
  • Katie Wingert is batting .287 with seven doubles, 11 home runs and 35 RBIs.
  • In the circle, Rutgers has relied heavily on the duo of Mattie Boyd and Morgan Smith. Those two have combined to throw 231.1 of Rutgers’ 276.2 innings (84 percent).
  • Boyd is 14-6 on the season with two saves and a 2.42 ERA in 127.1 innings. She leads the Scarlet Knights in ERA, wins, saves, innings, appearances (26), starts (20), complete games (13), shutouts (2), strikeouts (117) and opponent batting average (.197).
  • Boyd ranks second in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally in wins. She also ranks 15th nationally in starts, 18th in complete games and 24th in innings pitched.
  • Smith is 8-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 104.0 innings over 23 appearances and seven starts. She has thrown six complete games - including one shutout - and has limited opponents to a .241 batting average.
  • Laurelai DePew (1-0, 2.47 ERA in 11.1 IP) and Georgia Ingle (2-2, 1 save, 4.12 ERA in 34.0 IP) round out the Rutgers staff.
  • Kristen Butler is in her sixth season at Rutgers, where she owns a 129-147 record. Butler led the Scarlet Knights to a 32-25 record last season, the program’s first 30-win season since joining the Big Ten. With 25 wins this season, Butler is on the verge of leading Rutgers to back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in the 50-year history of the program.
  • Butler previously spent four seasons at Toledo from 2015 to 2018. She had a 104-122 record at Toledo and is 233-269 in 10 career seasons.