Huskers Start 6-Game Homestand with Creighton
Probable Starters: RHP Brandon Pierce(1-3) vs. RHP Tommy Strunc (4-0)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
The Nebraska baseball team (13-17, 7-2 Big Ten) returns home for its longest homestand of the season, starting with a midweek meeting with the No. 30 Creighton Bluejays on Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m.
The game with the Jays will be the first of six-straight home games at Hawks Field, as the Huskers host Ohio State this weekend for a three-game Big Ten series and then welcome the Arkansas Razorbacks for a pair of midweek games next Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Huskers are coming off a 2-1 series win at Iowa, where they nearly posted a sweep of the Hawkeyes, but fell, 6-5, in Sunday’s series finale.
With the series win, the Huskers won their fifth straight conference series dating back to last season and won three straight conference series in the same season for the first time since 2008.
The Huskers are schedule to make two appearances on NET this week, as fans can catch Tuesday’s game with Creighton and Friday’s series opener with Ohio State on the network.
Both games on NET will also be streamed live at BTN.com.
On the Radio this Weekend
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 12.
TV Coverage this Week
Tuesday’s game with Creighton and Friday’s game with Ohio State are both scheduled to be shown across the state of Nebraska on NET.
Time Warner (SD-12, HD-1012)
DISH Network (SD/HD-12)
Web Streams this Week
Both games on NET will also be shown live on BTN.com (subscription required).
Saturday’s and Sunday’s games with Ohio State will be shown live on HuskersNSide (subscription required).
The Huskers host the No. 30 Creighton Bluejays on Tuesday night for the first game of a three-game season series between the two instate programs.
The Huskers and Jays are also scheduled to meet on Friday, April 26 at the TD Ameritrade Classic in Omaha and on Tuesday, May 14 at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Jays enter Tuesday with a 18-6 overall record and recently joined the national rankings with a No. 30 ranking in this week’s Collegiate Baseball Poll.
Last season, Nebraska took the first two games to win the season series, before Creighton won the series finale to escape a season sweep. Creighton went on to post a 4-0 record at the Missouri Valley Tournament, earning them a spot in the UCLA Regional, where they were eliminated with a pair of losses to the Bruins.
Entering Tuesday, Creighton has won its past four games after sweeping Bradley at home last weekend and have won 9 of their last 11 games. The Jays have yet to lose two consecutive games this year.
The Jays have been just as good on the road as at home, posting a 7-2 home record and an 8-2 road record, while recording a 3-2 record in neutral site games. Their lone road loss came at Austin Peay (March 9) and at Evansville (March 23).
After struggling with the bats last season, the Jays have hit the ball well in 2013, posting a .303 team batting average. They are averaging 6.4 runs per game on 10.1 hits.
Five regulars are hitting .300 or better, including a team-high .402 average from Jake Peter, who also leads the team with 22 RBIs.
With a team on-base percentage of .412, the Jays put together quality at-bats, as they have just nine more strikeouts than walks on the year, 128-to-119.
On the basepaths, Creighton has laid down 48 sacrifice bunts on the year and is 32-for-39 in steal attempts.
The Jays play solid defense behind their pitchers, with 20 errors in 24 games, while turning 14 double plays.
On the mound, Creighton’s staff has held opposing batters to a .244 average and has given up just four home runs on the year.
With a team ERA of 3.82, the Jays have given up 103 runs (90 earned) on 190 hits (7.9 per game) and 82 walks (3.4 per game, while striking out 122 (5.1 per game).
Head Coach Ed Servais is scheduled to start right-handed pitcher Tommy Strunc on Tuesday night.
Strunc is tied for the team lead with seven starts and is perfect on the year with a 4-0 record.
In a team-high 39.0 innings of work, Strunc has a 3.23 ERA. He has given up 14 runs (all earned) on 25 hits and 20 walks, while striking out 36.
Strunc is holding opposing hitters to a .187 average and is yet to give up anything more than a double this year, which he has given up five of.
In his last start against Bradley last Friday, Strunc went 6.0 innings, giving up one runs on three hits and three walks, while striking out five in a no decision.
Since taking over as Nebraska’s leadoff hitter at Cal State Fullerton on March 19, Rich Sanguinetti has turned around his season senior season.
Over the past 13 games, Sanguinetti leads the team with a .391 batting average, while producing four doubles and five RBIs. He has posted a .443 on-base percentage and is slugging .453.
A first-team All-Big Ten pick a year ago, Sanguinetti has eight multi-hit games in the 13-game stretch, including a four-hit game and three, three-hit games.
He is also currently riding an 11-game hit streak into Tuesday’s game with Creighton.
Since switching to the leadoff spot, Sanguinetti has seen his overall season average rise over .100 points from .175 to .289.
Over Nebraska’s first 17 games of the season, Sanguinetti hit .175 with just two multi-hit games.
We’re Going Streaking
Five Huskers have put together hitting streaks of 11 or more games this year, including three that are active entering Tuesday’s game with Creighton.
Austin Darby holds the longest active streak on the team at 15 games, while both Michael Pritchard and Rich Sanguinetti have active 11-game hitting streaks.
Chad Christensen put together a career-long 15-game hitting streak earlier this year and Kash Kalkowski had an 11-game hitting streak get snapped on Sunday against Iowa.
Last season, 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.
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.
Three in a Row
This past weekend at Iowa, the Nebraska baseball team won its third-straight conference series in the same season for the first time since 2008, when it did it twice.
Dating back to last season, the Huskers have won five straight Big Ten series. Nebraska ended the 2012 regular season by sweeping Minnesota at home and by taking 2-of-3 at Michigan.
The Huskers opened the 2008 season by winning four straight series before losing 2-of-3 at Oklahoma State. The Huskers then won their next three Big 12 series before dropping their final series of the year to Missouri.
Darby Dialed In
Sophomore Austin Darby enters Tuesday with a 15-game hitting streak, the longest active streak on the team in 2013.
During the streak, Nebraska’s right fielder has been on fire with a .348 average (23-for-66), including one home run, one triple, three doubles and nine RBIs.
Darby has five multi-hit games during the streak, including a three-game stretch where he had three hits in each game.
Join the Club
Senior Chad Christensen recently became the 14th player in Nebraska history to join the 200-hit club with his walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th inning against Northwestern on Friday, March 29.
On the year, Christensen leads the Huskers with a .353 average (46-for-120) and is tied with Austin Darby for the team lead in RBIs with 18 each.
Prior to Christensen, Jake Opitz was the last Husker to join the club, as he ended his four-year career in 2008 with 227 career hits.
Matt Hooper holds the school record with 338 career hits and is one of just two players in school history to have topped 300 hits. Jeff Leise sits second on the career charts with 305 career hits.
The Husker bats have come alive during Big Ten play, as Nebraska leads the Big Ten in batting average (.359), on-base percentage (.419), runs (77), hits (134) and RBIs (70), while also ranking second in walks (34).
In Nebraska’s first 19 games of the season, the Huskers averaged 7.5 hits per game, but have nearly doubled the total with 14.9 hits per game during conference play.
Sophomore Josh Roeder has been tough on opposing hitters this season with a 0.57 ERA. Over 15.2 innings of work, the transfer from Louisburg College his given up just six hits, while striking out 14.
Roeder earned his first career save at Nebraska when he entered the game at No. 25 UC Irvine on March 16 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with no outs.
Roeder got pinch-hitter Jonathan Munoz to pop out for the first out of the inning and with the top of the Irvine order up, Roeder blew away Dominique Taylor with a fastball and closed out the win when he got pinch-hitter Ryan Cooper to fly out to center field for the game’s final out.
After going 0-9 in Nebraska’s 16-inning Big Ten home opener against Northwestern last Friday night, sophomore Pat Kelly responded in games two and three of the series to lead Nebraska to a sweep of the Wildcats.
Kelly posted back-to-back four-hit games on Saturday and Sunday, while also driving in a season-high four runs in the series finale.
His two-RBI single in the top of the eighth inning drove in the eventual game-winning run.
On the year, Kelly is second on the team with a .336 average and is tied with Michael Pritchard for the team lead with six doubles.
During Big Ten play, Kelly is tied with teammate Chad Christensen for the conference lead with 20 hits each, while NU leadoff hitter Rich Sanguinetti is third with 19 hits.
Senior Dylan Vogt got off to a rough start this season, as he gave up four runs over 4.1 innings in his first two appearances of the season.
Vogt came back to thrown 13.1 shutout innings over his next nine appearances, earning four saves.
Vogt gave up his first run in over a month on March 29 when Northwestern was able to scratch across one run on three hits over three innings.
The Wildcats also scored two runs two days later in the series finale, but both runs were unearned as Vogt’s defense committed a pair of errors behind him.
Since giving up four runs in his first two appearances of the year, Vogt threw 13.1 shutout innings over 10 appearances.
In his last appearance at Iowa on Saturday, April 6, Vogt delivered 3.0 innings of shutout ball on three hits. Nebraska’s pitching staff had allowed eight runs on 11 hits over the first 6.0 innings against the Hawkeyes.
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.