For most softball teams, the bottom of the batting order creates less offensive production. This season however, Nebraska defies this trend.
2022 has been one of Nebraska softball’s most successful seasons in recent memory. With just one regular-season series remaining, the Huskers sit at 35-13 and are second in the Big Ten conference. From March 19 to April 17, Nebraska softball did not lose a single game. An 18-game winning streak that resulted in a mid-season Top 25 ranking.
“This is going to be a season that nobody’s gonna want to end,” Nebraska Manager Rhonda Revelle said. “We’re in a Big Ten race, that’s exciting. We’re kind of controlling our own destiny.”
Surprisingly, the bottom of Nebraska’s lineup has been a crucial part of the team’s success. Specifically, sophomore center fielder Caitlynn Neal and senior right fielder Peyton Glatter. Both Neal and Glatter have had stellar hitting seasons, despite typically batting near the bottom of the order.
“We bounced off of each other really well,” Glatter said about the bottom of the batting order. “Caitlynn [Neal] bats in front of me, and at the plate, she’s been really hot. It’s been really easy to bounce off of her energy and her at-bats.”
Neal and Glatter have produced offensively at a high rate, but both have hit their best down the stretch of the season. In just the last 15 games, Neal has 16 hits and 14 RBI. Glatter has produced at an even higher rate during that period, earning 17 hits and 14 RBI.
Since April 9, the two have combined to produce over 30% of Nebraska’s total RBIs and 24% of the team’s total hits. A much higher clip than one would expect.
“At the top of our lineup, clearly there are some very good players,” Glatter said. “Our job is to find a way to flip the lineup. The odds of them hitting us home are very high.”
Glatter has played for Nebraska for four years, but her Senior season has been her best. She already has her career-high in hits, RBI’s and batting average.
“I think this season has been my favorite season yet,” she said. “It’s been really easy to play the game and have fun with my teammates. It’s an environment where it’s easy to play hard and just pick each other up.”
This is Neal’s second year with the program, and she has improved exponentially since her freshman season.
Before Big Ten play began, some of the bottom-of-the-order hitters had a player’s meeting. Revelle said that her players set one goal for themselves; not to have better stats or a better batting average, but to simply get on base.
Soon after this meeting, the Huskers would begin their 18-game winning streak. The improved offensive production from the bottom of the lineup has been critical to their success.
“It was all about getting on base,” Revelle said. “If they can get on base, then the top of our lineup will do what they do. We’re gonna score a lot more runs.”
The Huskers have struggled as of late, losing four of six games to Wisconsin and Ohio State. But despite the winning streak coming to an end, the team is still optimistic about the remainder of the season.
“I don’t think this team even looks at games as a whole,” Glatter said “Take each inning at a time and each pitch at a time. You have to have a short memory.”
The Huskers will host Indiana for their final home series of the regular season. The series is scheduled for May 6-8 before the Huskers travel to East Lansing, Michigan for the Big Ten tournament.