Senior Abbie Clanton and the Omaha softball team welcomes Neew Mexico State Tuesday for its home opener.
Courtesy: Michael Dunlop

Omaha Hosts New Mexico State, Visits Nebraska

Omaha Athletics | March 20, 2017

Leading Off
The Omaha softball team is set for five games this week, hosting New Mexico State on Tuesday, March 21.  First pitch is set for 1 p.m. The Mavericks then travel to in-state foe Nebraska on Wednesday, March 22.  First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.  UNO wraps up the week with a three-game set against Fort Wayne March 25-26.  Links to live stats, audio and video will be available on OMavs.com.

Quick Hits
• Omaha is 9-18 (0-0 Summit League) overall after a 1-4 weekend at the Rock Chalk Challenge in Lawrence, Kan.
• UNO played three nationally rated teams during tournament play this season, going 1-2.  The Mavericks defeated No. 16 Utah but lost a doubleheader to No. 9/10 Oklahoma and a single game to No. 16/17 LSU.
• Last weekend, Omaha went 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts and hit a pair of home runs.
• Senior Lia Mancuso led the Mavericks at the Rock Chalk Challenge, batting .438 with a .563 slugging percent and a .471 on-base percentage.
• Junior Kelly Pattison finished the tournament with a .429 average with three RBI, while freshman Kaitlynn Hunt hit .417.
• Senior Nicole Warren and freshman Vicky Kinney each hit home runs for the Mavericks in Lawrence, Kan.
• Mancuso and Warren were 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts, while Pattison and senior Lizzie Noble each swiped a base.
• Senior Abbie Clanton earned a win in relief against Southeast Missouri.  She is 4-9 with a 4.23 ERA so far this year.
• Mancuso and Pattison lead the team with seven multiple hit games, while Hunt and Pattison are on four-game hitting streaks.
DJ Sanchez is in her first year leading the Omaha softball program.
• The Mavericks open the year with 27 straight road games.
• UNO returns eight letter winners, including four position starters: Mancuso, Noble, Pattison and Warren.  Clanton and Roecker return to the circle this season for the Mavericks.
• Three All-Summit selections highlight the Mavericks’ returning corps: Mancuso, Roecker and Warren.
• Omaha was picked second in the Summit League preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Scouting the New Mexico State Aggies
New Mexico State enters Tuesday’s game with a 9-14 (0-0 WAC) record after dropping a weekend series to Nebraska.

Kelsey Horton leads the team with a .390 batting average with four home runs, nine doubles and 20 RBI.  Rachel Rodriguez is hitting .338 and 12-for-13 in stolen base attempts.  Kalya Green is 5-8 on the season with a 3.62 ERA and 32 strikeouts.  Samaria Diaz is 4-6 with a 4.25 ERA and 31 strikeouts.

Head coach Kathy Rodolph is in her 14th season at New Mexico State with a 416-355 record and is 485-389 over 16 seasons.  Tuesday will be the first all-time meeting between Omaha and New Mexico State.

Scouting the Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nebraska enters Wednesday’s game with a 7-16 (0-0 Big 10) record after a weekend sweep of New Mexico State.  The Cornhuskers visit Wichita State for a non-conference game Monday, March 20 at 5 p.m.

At the plate, Gina Metzler leads the team with a .371 batting average with three doubles and five RBI.  Tristen Edwards has a team-best three home runs, while Austen Urness leads the team with 13 RBI.  In the circle, Cassie McClure is 4-5 with two saves and a 3.81 ERA.  Kaylan Jablonski has a 3-8 record with a save and a 5.42 ERA.

Head coach Rhonda Revelle is in her 26th year at Nebraska with a 921-501 record and is 928-517 in 27 seasons.  Wednesday will be the 35th all-time meeting between Omaha and Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers have an 18-16 series advantage and won the last game 12-8 in Lincoln, Neb

A Look Back at Last Weekend
Omaha went 1-4 at the Rock Chalk Challenge hosted by Kansas.  The Mavericks scored five runs in the final two innings to defeat Southeastern Missouri State, 6-5.  UNO fell to Kansas, Tulsa, UMKC and No. 12/13 LSU.

Home Sweet Home
The 2017 season will see the Mavericks play 12 home contests, including nine league matchups.  Since moving to Division I in 2011-12, UNO has enjoyed a combined record of 42-17 at home.

What Makes Up the Mavericks?
• UNO returns much of its offensive production from last season, as this year’s returners accounted for 45.3 percent of the Mavericks’ hits, 49 percent of their runs scored, 50.6 percent of their homers, 48.8 percent of their RBI and 80.6 percent of their stolen bases in 2016.
• Omaha’s returning pitchers threw 87.6 percent of the team’s innings pitched last year, 93.3 percent of its victories, and 91.8 percent of its strikeouts.
• The Mavericks return two of their top five hitters from a year ago: Lia Mancuso (.333) and Nicole Warren (.309).
• Warren had 204 at-bats in her junior season, the most of any hitter on the team.
• Warren’s 20 home runs last season set a Summit League single-season record and was one short of tying the team record of 21 set in 2006 by Leslie Svoboda.
• UNO’s 2017 roster includes four seniors, three juniors, two sophomores, two redshirt freshman and four freshmen.
•The Mavericks hail from four different states. Eleven are from Nebraska, two are from Iowa, and one apiece are out of Illinois and Missouri.
 
Sanchez in Charge
Head coach DJ Sanchez enters her first season at the helm of the Omaha softball program in 2017.  Sanchez spent four seasons leading St. Gregory’s University (Okla.), before coming to Omaha last summer.
 
In her four seasons at SGU, she compiled a 172-47 overall record, an 81-25 mark in the Sooner Athletic Conference and advanced to the NAIA post-season four times.  The Cavaliers won their conference championship last season and twice earned a spot in the NAIA World Series.
 
Joining Sanchez is first-year assistant coach Ryan Wondrasek.  Wondrasek previously worked with Coach Sanchez at St. Gregory’s University, where he helped the Cavaliers become one of the top offensive and defensive teams in the country.
 
Fresh Faces
Seven newcomers – freshmen, redshirts or transfers – are on the Omaha roster in 2017.  Four true freshmen are in the mix: Hailey Bartz (Lincoln, Neb.), Emma Dargy (LaVista, Neb.) Kaitlynn Hunt (Ashland, Neb.), and Emily Klosterman (Omaha, Neb.).  Anna Albaugh (Johnston, Iowa) and Vicky Kinney (Bennington, Neb.) redshirted in 2016, with Albaugh transferring from Lake Land College.
 
Home is Where the Heart Is
Eight of the 15 players on UNO’s 2017 roster hail from the Omaha area and three more come from the Lincoln area.  From the Omaha metro area, two players come from Papillion-LaVista, while one each is from Bennington, Central, Elkhorn, Millard South, Millard West, and Papillion-LaVista South.  Additionally, the Mavericks have one player from Mead, Lincoln Southeast and Lincoln Southwest.
   
Summit League Preseason Poll Released
Omaha was picked second in the 2017 Summit League Preseason Coaches’ Poll; the conference office announced Feb. 2.  The league's coaches picked defending league champion North Dakota State as the league’s favorite after collecting six first-place votes and 36 total points.  Omaha claimed the final first-place tally and placed second with 27 points.  Western Illinois came in third with 25 votes, while South Dakota (23) was fourth.  South Dakota State (19), IUPUI (11) and Fort Wayne (five) rounded out the poll.   
 
2017 Slate Takes Mavericks Coast to Coast
Omaha’s 2017 schedule includes 51 games, and the team will play in nine states against schools from 17 other Division I conference.  Six opponents – LSU, Nebraska, North Dakota State, Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Utah – played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.  LSU and Oklahoma advanced to the Women’s College World Series with the Sooners claiming the national title.
 
Getting it Done in the Classroom
The Omaha softball team registered the second-highest grade point average among NCAA Division I programs for the 2015-16 academic year, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced.  The Mavericks, who had the 11th-highest team GPA in 2014-15, registered a 3.643 team GPA last year. They trailed only Grand Canyon (3.670) in Division I.
 
Among the Summit League schools, Western Illinois (19th), North Dakota State (59th) and South Dakota State (72nd) all made the list.
 
Earning NFCA Scholar-Athlete honors were Abbie Clanton, Campbell Ditto, Sydney Hames, Lia Mancuso, Lizzie Noble, Kelly Pattison, Kourtney Pock, Laura Roecker, Bailey Schulenberg, Kylie Schwarting, Tara Trede and Nicole Warren.
 
Mavericks Sign Six
Head coach D.J. Sanchez announced Lexi Burchfield (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound), Aubrey Hacke (Highland, Ill./Highland), Halley Jones (Blaine, Minn./Spring Lake Park), Madison Otte (Lincoln, Neb./Southeast), Kayla Peak (Olathe, Kan./Olathe North) and Alexa Sedlak (Gretna, Neb./Gretna) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Omaha softball program in 2017-18.
 
Next Up
Omaha returns to the road for a single game at Nebraska on Wednesday, March 22.  The first pitch from Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. is set for 3 p.m.  Links to live stats, audio and video are available on OMavs.com.

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