Huskers Open 2013 with Four Games in California
(0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at CSU Bakersfield (0-0, 0-0 WAC)
Friday, Feb. 15 - 5 p.m. (CT)
RHP Brandon Pierce (0-0) vs. LHP Jeff McKenzie (0-0)
Live Radio - Husker Sports Network
Video Stream - None
Nebraska (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at No. 22 Cal State Fullerton (0-0, 0-0 Big West)
Saturday, Feb. 16 - 4/7p.m. (CT)
(Gm. 1) - RHP Ryan Hander vs. RHP Grahamm Wiest (0-0)
(Gm. 2) - LHP Zach Hirsch vs. RHP Justin Garza (0-0)
Live Radio - Husker Sports Network
Video Stream - BigWest.TV (Free)
Nebraska (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at USC (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Sunday, Feb. 17 - 3 p.m. (CT)
RHP Christian DeLeon (0-0) vs. LHP Kyle Twomey (0-0)
Live Radio - Husker Sports Network
Video Stream - Pac-12 (Free)
This Week: The Nebraska baseball team (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) kicks off the 2013 season with seven straight road games, including four games this weekend in the state of California to open the year.
The Huskers open the 2013 campaign in Bakersfield, Calif., on Friday with a 5 p.m. (CT) game with the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners at Hardt Field. The Roadrunners hold a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series, while the teams split a two-game series last year in Lincoln, as the third game in the series was cancelled due to rain.
Nebraska's West Coast trip continues on Saturday when it heads south down Interstate 5 to Fullerton, Calif., for a double header with the No. 22 Cal State Fullerton Titans. Coming off their 26th Big West Conference title and their 21st-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the Titans host the Huskers for a pair of games starting at 4 p.m. (CT) at Goodwin Field. The Huskers are 0-2 all-time against the Titans, as Fullerton won at home, 9-7 in 1984, and held on to a 5-4 win over the Huskers at Rosenblatt in the opening round of the 2001 College World Series.
NU's weekend comes to a close on Sunday with a trip to Dedeaux Field on the campus of Southern California for a 3 p.m. (CT) meeting with the Trojans. It will be the first meeting between the Huskers and Trojans since 2005 and the first time the teams have met in Los Angeles since 1984. Nebraska holds a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series, with both wins coming in Los Angeles in 1979 and 1984.
On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM and 94.5 FM in Lincoln - and on the Internet at Huskers.com or the Official Husker App. A complete list of HSN affiliates can be found on page 14
Huskers Aim for NCAA
Tournament in 2013
Head Coach Darin Erstad begins his second season in Lincoln in 2013 after leading the Huskers back to the postseason with a conference tournament appearance in 2012 for the first time since the 2008 season.
A trip to the Big Ten Tournament was a step in the right direction a year ago, but was short of the team's ultimate goal of an NCAA Regional bid and beyond.
At the plate, the Huskers blossomed under the direction of Erstad and Associate Head Coach Will Bolt.
The Huskers led the Big Ten Conference in six categories, including home runs (47), RBIs (375), runs (413), total bases (916), on-base pct. (.384) and slugging pct. (.445).
The Huskers also made noise on the national scene, as they ranked in the top-20 nationally in seven categories, including top-10 rankings in both batting average and scoring.
After hitting .270 as a team in 2011, the Huskers hit .315 in 2012 to rank eighth in the country. The Huskers also ranked eighth nationally in scoring with 7.1 runs per game after scoring 5.4 runs a game in 2011.
With a more disciplined approach at the plate, NU had 106 fewer strikeouts than it had in 2011, while playing three more games in 2012. The Huskers also produced 150 more hits, drove in 107 more runs and hit 17 more home runs to lead the Big Ten with 47 home runs. No other team in the league hit more than 38 homers.
Three Huskers were named first-team All-Big Ten, including shortstop Chad Christensen, outfielder Rich Sanguinetti and designated hitter Michael Pritchard, all of whom return for the 2013 season. Overall, eight Huskers earned All-Big Ten honors across the first, second and third teams.
Nebraska returns nearly all of its offensive firepower from a year ago. Out of 15 offensive categories, the Huskers return last season's leader in 12 of the categories. Departed senior Richard Stock led the squad in doubles (20) and triples (3) a season ago, while fellow 2012 senior Kale Kiser led the team in walks (38).
On the mound, Nebraska staff's continues to grow under the tutelage of Ted Silva. Silva's proven approach was a change in philosophy for NU's arms last year and while it took some adjustments early, success on the mound started to show in the second half of the season.
Compared to the first 12 games of Big Ten play, the NU pitching staff gave up 13 fewer runs in the final 12 game of Big Ten action, while also surrendering few walks and producing more strikeouts. Opponents hit .307 at the plate in the first half of the conference season, but just .293 over the final 12 games of the year.
Out of the 14 players who saw action on the mound a year ago, nine return, including four pitchers who started four or more games. Silva brought in nine new pitchers as well, which should breed plenty of competition on the mound.
Huskers Amp Up Schedule in
The Nebraska baseball is set to play one of the tougher schedules in the county during the 2013 season. The Huskers will play 18 games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, including two games against 2012 College World Series qualifier Arkansas at Hawks Field. The series with the Razorbacks marks the third straight year that the Huskers have hosted a CWS team from the previous season, as UCLA visited Lincoln in 2011 and California split a four-game series at Hawks Field last season.
Nebraska has four teams on its 2013 schedule who are ranked in one of the four preseason polls, including Arkansas, who is ranked No.1 in the country in three polls.
After playing 31 homes games in 2012, the Huskers are set to host 21 games at Hawks Field in 2013, while playing 31 true roads games and two neutral site games at the TD Ameritrade Classic in late April. Head Coach Darin Erstad and his staff worked hard on setting up challenging schedule that gets the team ready for not only the Big Ten schedule, but to also make a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
Nebraska is scheduled to play 19 of its first 24 games on the road, including four games in the Southern California area to open the season.
Ranked in the Preseason Polls
Arkansas No. 1 (CB, USA Today, NCBA); No. 3 (BA)
Cal St. Fullerton No. 22 (BA, USA Today); No. 23 (CB, NCBWA)
Texas No. 21 (CB); No.26 (NCBWA)
New Mexico No. 21 (BA)
Vogt of Confidence
Prior to the start of the 2013 season, Head Coach Darin Erstad announced the senior Dylan Vogt will be the team's closer.
Vogt may not be a typical closer though, as the Omaha native may come into the game in the sixth or seventh innings if needed.
Vogt became arguably the top arm in the Husker pen last season, as he pitched 53.2 innings over 25 appearances, while producing a blistering 1.84 ERA.
While striking out 34 and walking just 14, Vogt gave up just five extra base hits all season, including no home runs.
On Friday, Feb. 8, Vogt was one of 75 players named to the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List. He was one of four Big Ten pitchers selected, joining Ohio State's Josh Dezse, Illinois' Reid Roper and Northwestern's Kyle Ruchim.
Second baseman Pat Kelly earned four freshman All-America accolades in 2012, the most for any Husker freshman in school history. Previously, Matt Hopper collected the most awards following a freshman season with three in 2000, when he was honored by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and Baseball Weekly.
A native of Red Wing, Minn., Kelly was a first-team freshman All-American by both Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He was a second-team freshman All-America selection by Perfect Game and was named to Collegiate Baseball freshman All-America list.
Freshman teammate Kyle Kubat was also one of 32 starting pitchers named a Collegiate Baseball freshman All-American.
Kelly's and Kubat's selections marked the first time since 2005 that the Huskers had a player earn freshman All-America honors, as pitchers Johnny Dorn and Tony Watson were each picked by Collegiate Baseball and Dorn was a first-team pick by Baseball America.
New Year, New Streak?
Last season, Michael Pritchard put together one of the top individual performances at the plate, as he rattled off a 25-game hitting streak.
Pritchard tied Derek Dukart for the third-longest hitting streak in NU history at 25 games.
The streak started in the Huskers' Big Ten opener against Illinois on March 23, when the Pritchard produced two hits. It came to an end on May 11 in NU's series opener against Minnesota at Hawks Field.
Pritchard notched at least a pair of hits 10 times during the streak, including three or more hits twice.
Teammate Richard Stock also put together quite a streak of his own at 21 games, marking the first time in school history that a pair of Huskers produced hit streaks of 20 or more games in the same season.
Francis Collins holds the NU school record with a 38-game hitting streak in 1996, while Ken Ramos is second with a 28-game streak in 1987.
For his efforts, Pritchard was named a 2012 third-team All-American by the NCBWA and was a 2013 preseason second-team NCBWA All-American selection.
Take it for the Team
Senior infielder Bryan Peters enters the 2013 season ranked fourth on Nebraska's career list 43 HBP.
Peters should easily move to the No. 3 spot in 2013, and possibly have a chance at moving to the No. 2 spot on the all-time list.
In 2012, Kale Kiser moved to third on the all-time list with 46 HBP after getting hit 14 times during his senior season.
DJ Belfonte (2007-10) sits second on the career list with 59 HBP and Daniel Bruce (2002-05) holds the NU career record with 67 HBP.The Bolt Effect
The Husker offense saw major improvement under the direction of Associate Head Coach Will Bolt.
Looking at NU's numbers in 2012, compared to its offensive output in 2011, the Huskers were a drastically improved team.
Nebraska struck out 106 fewer times, walked five more times, produced 150 more hits, scored 114 more runs, drove in 107 more runs, hit 45 points higher as a team at .315 and had saw its team on-base percentage go up 25 points.
Heading West Early
The Nebraska baseball team will open its season in the state of California for the third time in program history on Friday and the first time since 2010. NU started the 2010 campaign with a four-game series at Fresno State, where the Bulldogs took 3-out-of-4.
The first time NU open the season in California was in 2008 when it visited the Stanford Cardinal. The two teams split a double header to start the year, before Stanford won the series with a win in game three the following day.
Draftees on 2013 Roster
Five members of the 2013 Husker baseball team have previously been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including Kash Kalkowski, who has each been picked twice.
The Big Ten coaches have picked Nebraska to finish second out of the league's 11 teams in 2013. One senior and a pair of Husker juniors were also named to the 'Players to Watch List', including senior right-handled pitcher Dylan Vogt, as well as junior outfielder Michael Pritchard and junior right-handed pitcher Brandon Pierce.
Indiana was picked as the league favorite by the coaches. The Hoosiers finished second in both the regular-season standings and at the conference tournament to the Purdue Boilermakers.
NU Signs Versatile Class
Nebraska's 2013 signing class includes a talented group of 12 prep players and one junior-college transfer.
The 13-player signing class hails from eight different states throughout the Midwest, including a group-high four players from Minnesota. Nebraska also signed a pair of standouts from both Iowa and Colorado, while adding one future Husker each from Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and South Dakota.
Nebraska's coaching staff assembled an athletic class, as multiple players have to ability to play multiple positions or pitch.
The class contains nine players that are ranked in the top-1,000 by Perfect Game, including a six top-500 prospects and one top-20 player. 10 of the prep standouts are regarded as top-20 players in their state, including five who are tabbed as a top-five prospects.
2013 Signing Class
Ryan Boldt Red Wing, Minn. (Red Wing)
Derek Burkamper Muscatine, Iowa (Muscatine)
Christian Cox Aberdeen, S.D. (Hutchinson CC/Aberdeen Roncalli HS)
Wes Edrington* Fishers, Ind. (Hamilton Southeastern)
Beau Fandel Forest Lake, Minn. (Forest Lake)
Grant Gamble Fort Collins, Colo. (Rocky Mountain)
Michael Klein Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Mountain Vista)
Max Knutson Arden Hills, Minn. (Mounds View)
Matt Leuty Shoreview, Minn. (Totino-Grace)
Ben Miller Clive, Iowa (West Des Moines Valley)
Quinn McGill Wahoo, Neb. (Wahoo)
Bryce Only Algonquin, Ill. (Huntley)
Jake Wimer Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley Northwest)
* - enrolled in January and is on the 2013 roster
Huskers Across the
The 2013 Huskers hale from 10 different from all across the nation. Nebraska natives make up 16 of the 35 players on the 2013 roster, while Texas has the second most representatives at five. Other states with more than one player include, Colorado (3), Iowa (2), Minnesota (2), Missouri (2) and South Dakota (2).
Nebraska - 16
Texas - 5
Colorado - 3
Iowa - 2
Minnesota - 2
Missouri - 2
South Dakota - 2
Arizona - 1
Illinois - 1
Indiana - 1