Tatum Edwards woke up Wednesday to all kinds of congratulations.
Nebraska's softball ace just wasn't sure why.
Then she remembered a text from coach Rhonda Revelle reminding the team that Big Ten awards were coming out that morning. The congratulations were for winning Big Ten pitcher of the year.
“It was just cool,” Edwards said.
What made it even more special was that her twin sister, Taylor, also was a unanimous selection to the Big Ten first team. They were joined by second-team picks Courtney Breault, Brooke Thomason, Jordan Bettiol, Alicia Armstrong and Emily Lockman.
Tatum Edwards, a junior right-hander from Murrieta, Calif., is the first Husker to earn a league player of the year award since All-American Peaches James was Big 12 player of the year in 2004. Edwards said it's a huge honor, but she couldn't have done it without her team.
“I put in my own work, but those girls have done so much for me as well,” she said. “It may have my name on it, but I don't see it as just me winning it. I see it as my whole team winning it with me.”
Edwards has spent a lot of time on conditioning and improving her game. She said it's no secret she's a dropball pitcher, but she started to realize what else worked and what didn't.
It's resulted in a 25-8 record with a 1.84 ERA in 194 innings. She led the Big Ten with a .183 opponent batting average while ranking second in wins, third in ERA and fifth in strikeouts (181).
She was the only Big Ten pitcher to post an ERA below 2.25 in league play while throwing a league-high 9513 innings.
With her and Lockman in the circle, the Huskers earned the second seed for the Big Ten tournament this weekend in Lincoln. No. 14 NU (39-12, 16-6) will play Purdue at 7 p.m. Friday at Bowlin Field. A win would move the Huskers into a 4:30 p.m. semifinal game Saturday.
The Huskers get a bit of an edge playing at home, Edwards said, especially with such supportive fans.
“We are so excited to move into the postseason and start a new chapter,” Edwards said. “We just need to stay on it for the next month.”
Edwards didn't contribute only in the circle. She hit .295 with 10 home runs and 23 RBIs. Taylor, meanwhile, batted a team-leading .345 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs.
Tatum said she couldn't say who was the better hitter, but they enjoy trying to outdo each other. They've homered in the same game nine times, including twice this season.
“When she hits a home run, I'll say, 'Now I have to do it,'” Tatum said.
Despite the competition, the sisters also help each other out, letting each other know what they see from opposing pitchers. It's a communication they also share as battery mates.
“She calms me down and resets me and gives me time to just relax for a minute,” Tatum said. “A lot of time we have the same mindset and the same thoughts. I just feel more comfortable when she's out there.”
Edwards said the highlight of the season was winning two against league leader Michigan.
She's also enjoyed working with such a young team. Seven freshmen are on the roster, with at least three starting every game.
“Just to see them all grow and work well as a group, that's been the main thing I've loved seeing,” Edwards said. “Just seeing where we can take our game and pushing each other every day to get better.”
Huskers draw Purdue for conference tourney
The Nebraska softball team will face Purdue at 7 p.m. Friday in the Huskers' Big Ten tournament opener at Bowlin Stadium.
The Huskers (39-12, 16-6) finished the regular season second in the Big Ten to earn a first-round bye.
Purdue advanced to the second round by holding off Michigan State 8-5 Thursday night.
The Huskers were 3-1 against Purdue in the regular season, winning two of their three conference games and beating the Boilermakers 4-3 at the Hillenbrand Invitational in February.
The Boilermakers (23-31, 8-15) finished 10th in the Big Ten and lost six straight to end the regular season.
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