NU Returns to Hawks Field for Five-Game Homestand
Tuesday, April 15 – 6:35 p.m.
Probable Starters: LHP Christensen (1-0) vs. Kalmus (3-1)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (BTN2Go)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Wednesday, April 16 –6:35 p.m.
Probable Starters: LHP Kubat (2-2) vs. TBA
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (HuskersNSide, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
Fresh off its second straight Big Ten Conference sweep, the Nebraska baseball team returns home to Hawks Field for a five-game homestand.
The week kicks off on Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. when the Kansas State Wildcats come to Lincoln for the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Wildcats have taken the first two games of the year, including a 10-6 win in Lincoln last Wednesday.
Tuesday’s game between Nebraska and Kansas State will be carried nationally on the Big Ten Network.
The Omaha Mavericks then pay a visit to Hawks Field the following night and it will be the first ever meeting between the two instate teams since UNO moved to Division I. The game is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch and will be streamed live on HuskersNSide.
Nebraska returns the trip to Omaha in two weeks on Wednesday, April 30, when the teams meet at Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers.
The five game homestand comes to an end when the Huskers host the Northwestern Wildcats for a three-game Big Ten series, starting on Friday at 7:05 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
The Wildcats will be making a trip to Hawks Field for the second straight year, as Nebraska swept Northwestern at home last season in the Huskers’ Big Ten home opening series.
Nebraska enters the week sitting second in the Big Ten standings with a 7-2 conference record. Northwestern enters the week 11th in the Big Ten with a 2-9 record in conference play, including an 0-2 road record. Northwestern dropped the first two games of its series at Penn State before the third game was canceled.
Sophomore Austin Christensen is scheduled to make his first career start on the mound Tuesday against Kansas State. Christensen has made four relief appearances this year and has a 0.00 ERA over 6.1 innings of work, including a scoreless inning of relief at Kansas State earlier this season, his first career appearance on the mound.
Christensen redshirted his first season at Nebraska in 2012 and then missed the 2013 season after having Tommy John surgery in the Fall of 2012.
Junior Kyle Kubat is scheduled to get the ball on Wednesday against Omaha and will try to win his third game of the year. The lefty is 2-2 on the year with a 5.96 ERA in 25.2 innings of work.
Walks have hurt Kubat on the year, as he has 15 walks to 14 strikeouts. Last season he had 14 walks in 49.2 innings of works and 19 walks as a freshman in 2012 in 51.1 innings of work.
On the Radio this Week
Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen to 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 live on the Internet at Huskers.com or the Official Husker App.
TV Coverage this Week
Tuesday’s game against Kansas State will be carried live on the Big Ten Network.
The Huskers will also be on BTN Friday night at 7:05 p.m. when they open a three-game series against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Saturday’s game against the Wildcats will be carried statewide on NET, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m.
Web Streams this Week
Kansas State, Tuesday - BTN2Go
UNO, Wednesday - HuskersNSide
Northwestern, Friday - BTN2Go
Northwestern, Saturday - BTDN (video.btn.com)
Northwestern, Sunday - HuskersNSide
Nebraska-Kansas State History
The Huskers hold a 165-110 lead in the series history with the Kansas State Wildcats, with a majority of the meetings coming when the teams were members of the same conference.
Even though the Huskers joined the Big Ten Conference prior to the 2012 season, the teams have still met three times each of the past two seasons and are scheduled to meet for the third time in 2014 on Tuesday night.
Kansas State won the first two meetings this season, 12-6 in Manhattan on March 26 and 10-6 last Wednesday in Lincoln.
The series started in 1898, with the Huskers winning 33-3 at home.
Last season, the Wildcats swept the three-game season series after the Huskers did the same in 2012.
The Huskers and Mavericks will be meeting for the 60th time on Wednesday night, but it will be the first ever meeting between the two teams since UNO moved to Division I. The Huskers enter Wednesday with a 49-10 lead in the all-time series.
Wednesday night’s game will be the first game between the two teams since 2000, when the Huskers posted a 18-2 win at Hawks Field on March 7.
Omaha’s last win in the series came during the 1997 season when the they took the first game of a doubleheader, 17-13. The Huskers bounced back with a 21-5 victory in game No. 2 of the double dip.
The first meeting in the series came in 1987, when the Huskers opened the season with a 10-9 win.
Over the Past 10 Games for Nebraska
• Nebraska was 8-2, including a 5-1 road record
• Nebraska fielded at a .985 clip, Huskers are fielding at .975 on the year
• Michael Pritchard and Blake Headley led the team with 11 hits each
• Michael Pritchard notched 10 of his 26 RBIs on the season
• Michael Pritchard slugged three doubles
• Nebraska had four complete games (Christian DeLeon - 2, Chance Sinclair - 1, Aaron Bummer - 1). NU had one complete game in the first 146 games of the Darin Erstad era.
• Nebraska pitchers totaled 53 strikeouts, while walking 25
• Husker batters struck out 55 times and walked 40 times
• Nebraska hit two of its seven homers for the year
• Closer Josh Roeder for 3-for-3 in save opportunities
• Nebraska hit just .252, but held opponents to .248
• Nebraska laid down 11 sacrifice bunts and produced five sacrifice flies
If you could only use one word to describe Head Coach Darin Erstad, the word would be “grind”.
No matter what the score is, Erstad preaches to his team that they need to grind at-bats and stick to the team’s offensive approach.
A total of 10 times this year the Huskers have been behind or tied after six innings and have come back to win, including six times in their past eight games.
2/14 vs. Pacific | Tied 3-3 after 6th, won 5-3
- Scored twice in bottom of 7th
3/8 vs. St. Johns | Tied 6-6 after 7th, won 7-6
- Walk off single by Taylor Fish
3/15 vs. UC Irvine | Tied 2-2 after 6th, won 7-4
- UC Irvine took 3-2 lead top of 7th, Huskers responded with 3 runs bottom 7th and 2 in bottom 8th
3/19 vs. Creighton | Down 4-3 bottom 10, won 5-4
- After NU tied the game 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Creighton took a 4-3 lead top of 10. Huskers answered with 2 in the bottom of the 10, including a walk-off single by Jake Placzek
4/1 vs. Ohio State | Down 2-0 after 7, won 3-2
- Trailing 2-0 headed bottom of 8, Huskers scored 3 runs to win 3-2
4/2 vs. Ohio State | Down 3-0 after 7, won 4-3
- Trailing 2-0 after 7, the Huskers scored 1 in the 8th and 3 in the 9th, including a walk-off single by Michael Pritchard to win 4-3
4/3 vs. Ohio State | Tied 1-1 after 8, won 2-1
- With the game tied 1-1 after 4, the Huskers won the game 2-1 in the 9th on a walk-off single by Tanner Lubach
4/8 at Creighton | Down 2-1 after 7, won 4-2
- Trailing 2-1 headed to the 8th, Huskers scored 3 runs and won the game 4-3
4/11 at Minnesota | Tied 6-6 after 7, won 8-6
- After NU took a 5-0 lead after 2 innings, Minnesota tied the game 6-6 after 7. Huskers scored 2 in the top of the 9th to win 8-6
4/13 at Minnesota | Down 2-1 after 6, won 3-2 in 10
- Down 2-1 after 6 innings, Huskers tied the game 2-2 in the top of the 7th. Huskers won the game 3-2 in 10 innings after scoring in the top of the 10th
Not Nice to Steal
Junior catcher Tanner Lubach has been throwing out bases runners at a rapid rate of late.
Over the Huskers’ last eight games Lubach has thrown out 7-of-11 base runners, with two of the four steals against him coming on a successful double steal.
Get out the Brooms
This past weekend in Minneapolis the Huskers swept a three-game series from the Minnesota Golden Gophers after sweeping the Ohio State Buckeyes one week earlier in Lincoln.
It marked the first time since 2006 that the Huskers swept consecutive conference series. During the 2006 season, the Huskers took three games at Missouri and then took three from Texas A&M at Hawks Field.
Nebraska last swept three-straight conference series in 2000, when the Huskers swept four straight Big 12 series against Kansas, Missouri, Texas A&M and Iowa State.
Getting Back on Track
Michael Pritchard has been a hit machine during his career at Nebraska, but earlier this season he fell into a slump and recently has started to find a way back to his raking ways.
Pritchard was hitting .407 after the Huskers’ first two weeks of play and was at .373 after a 3-for-5 day against Northern Colorado on March 11, NU’s 14th game of the season.
Over his next 16 games, Pritchard went 9-for-60 with only two multi-hit games and saw his average fall to .261 on April 6.
Over his past five games Pritchard has raised his average 20 points to .281, as he is 8-for-20 with three multi-hit games, including a 3-for-4 day against Kansas State last week.
The past weekend against Minnesota, Pritchard was 4-for-13 with a homer and a pair of doubles.
Rest the Pen
Senior Christian DeLeon has tossed back-to-back complete games, becoming the first Husker pitcher since Erik Bird to throw consecutive complete games. Bird tossed two straight complete games against New Mexico and Baylor at the end of the 2009 season.
Since joining the Huskers last season, Christian DeLeon has made 23 starts for the Huskers.
The senior has gone at least 6.0 innings 20 times, at least 7.0 innings 13 times and 8.0 or more innings nine times.
DeLeon has gone 6.0 or more innings in his last eight starts this season, including 8.0 inning in four of his last five starts.
Go the Distance
Nebraska’s rotation of Christian DeLeon, Chance Sinclair and Aaron Bummer were workhorses in a three-game sweep of Ohio State April 4-6, as all three pitchers tossed complete games.
No other staff in the country has thrown three 9.0-inning complete games in a weekend. Monmouth is the only other team that has come close with two 9.0-inning complete games along with a 7.0-inning complete game.
At least since 1999, the Huskers have never had three pitchers throw consecutive complete games. Due to incomplete records the last time the feat occurred has not been found yet.
Since 1999, the Huskers had thrown 9.0-inning complete games in back-to-back games on two occasions prior to the Ohio State series:
May 16-17, 2009 vs. Baylor
May 16 - Sean Yost (9.0 innings)
May 17 - Erik Bird (9.0 innings)
April 14-15, 2006 vs. Texas A&M
April 14 - Tony Watson (9.0 innings)
April 15 - Johnny Dorn (9.0 innings)
The closest the Huskers had come to throwing three consecutive games before last weekend was against Texas A&M in March of 2002. Shane Komine threw 8.0 of the Huskers’ 9.0 innings on Friday, before Jamie Rodrigue threw a 9.0-inning complete game on Saturday and Aaron Marsden threw an 8.0-inning complete game on Sunday. Sunday’s game was called after 8.0 innings due to the Big 12 mercy rule with the Huskers ahead 10-0.
The Huskers have produced double-digit hits 22 times this year in 37 games, including nine of their 16 home games.
Lean on Hirsch
Zach Hirsch has been one of Nebraska’s best arms out of the bullpen in 2014.
The senior lefty had a streak of 14.1 innings of scoreless relief before the Gophers scored a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh that tied the game 6-6. Hirsch pitched a season-high 3.0 inning of relief against the Gophers and ended up picking up his fourth win of the season when NU scored twice in the top of the ninth and Josh Roeder shut the door for a 8-6 NU win.
The one-time starter has made a team-high 17 appearances, all out of the pen, in 2014 and holds a 1.76 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .196 average over 27.1 innings of work. He also ranks second on the team with 31 strikeouts.
Hirsch has 13 appearances where he has thrown at least an inning and hasn’t given up a run, and hasn’t given up a hit in five of those appearances.
Join the Club
Senior Michael Pritchard joined Nebraska’s 200-hit club on Friday, March 21, with a first inning single at Iowa.
Pritchard became the 21st player in school history to join the club and enters Tuesday ranked 19th in school history with 215 hits.
Junior Pat Kelly has a good shot at joining the list before the end of the season as well, as he enters Tuesday with 180 career hits. Last season Kelly totaled a team-high 85 hits on the year, and with 38 hits this season Kelly is on pace to join the list by the end of 2014.
Last season, Chad Christensen became the 20th 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.
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 Hopper 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.
Extending the Season
After missing out on the postseason for three-straight seasons from 2009-2011, the Huskers have qualified for the Big Ten Tournament the past two years.
The last time the Huskers made three-straight trips to the conference tournament was 2006-2007-2008.
Nebraska is looking to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.