Hotel Encanto Invitational
Where: Las Cruces, N.M.
Schedule: 10:30 a.m. Friday vs. Texas-El Paso, 3 p.m. Saturday vs. Florida State, 5 p.m. Saturday vs. New Mexico State, 10 a.m. Sunday vs. Florida State
Scouting Nebraska: The Huskers open the season ranked No. 9 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll, NU’s highest preseason ranking since 2004. ... Nebraska has won 13 consecutive games at the New Mexico State Complex, dating back to 2010. The Huskers went 5-0 in Las Cruces last season en route to a 9-1 start, equaling the best 10-game start in school history. ... Nebraska returns its entire pitching staff and five position starters. ... Senior twins Tatum and Taylor Edwards make Nebraska one of seven teams with multiple All-Americans on its roster. ... Playing a tough schedule to kick off the season is nothing new for Nebraska. Last season the Huskers faced the nation’s toughest nonconference schedule. This season, they will face nine teams ranked in the preseason top 16 in their first 22 games.
Scouting Texas-El Paso: New Miners coach Tobin Echo-Hawk is a former Nebraska All-American — the first in NU coach Rhonda Revelle’s tenure. Echo-Hawk inherits a UTEP team that finished 13-35 in 2013. ... Danielle Pearson is the Miners’ top returning pitcher. She finished 2013 with a 6-14 record and a 3.80 ERA in 1562⁄3 innings. ... Erika Arcuri is UTEP’s top returning hitter, batting .347 and scoring 26 runs last spring.
Scouting Florida State: The Seminoles are the returning Atlantic Coast Conference champions and ranked 12th by USA Softball and 16th by USA Today/NFCA. ... Florida State won an NCAA regional tournament in 2013 but was just 2-11 against ranked teams, including seven shutout losses. ... Two of FSU’s top three hitters are gone, leaving Courtney Senas as the top returning hitter. Senas batted .333, scored 58 runs, hit 14 home runs and had a .646 slugging percentage. ... The Seminoles were ranked 10th nationally last season in pitching with a staff ERA of 1.82. Junior ace Lacey Waldrop is back after being named a third-team All-American in 2013.
Scouting New Mexico State: The Aggies were runner-up in the Western Athletic Conference in 2013 after finishing 37-20, including a 21-8 home record. ... Five of the Aggies’ top six hitters are back, led by Staci Rodriguez, who hit .357 with 11 doubles, 20 home runs and 63 RBIs. ... The New Mexico State pitching staff is young as ace Alex Newman has exhausted her eligibility. She appeared in all but 11 of the Aggies’ games last season and finished with a 24-13 record and a 1.88 ERA.