Huskers Host Wildcats for Big Ten Home Opener
Probable Starters: RHP Christian DeLeon (2-2) vs. RHP Zach Morton (3-0)
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Saturday, March 30 – 2:05 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Ryan Hander (0-2) vs. RHP Luke Farrell (1-1)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Sunday, March 31 – 1:05 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: TBA vs. RHP Brandon Magallones (3-1)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
Following 12-straight games away from Hawks Field, the Nebraska baseball team returns for its Big Ten home opener with the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Friday’s series opener between the Huskers and Wildcats is scheduled to be shown nationally on the Big Ten Network.
The teams enter the weekend tied for third in the Big Ten Conference with 2-1 records.
Following Friday’s meeting, the series continues on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
After playing three games with Northwestern, the Huskers make their second trip to Manhattan, Kan., for a midweek game with the Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday, April 2.
The game between the two former Big 12 foes will be shown live on Fox Sports Midwest.
Easter Weekend at Hawks Field
Fans will be treated to fireworks on Friday night following Nebraska’s game with Northwestern.
On Sunday, kids are invited to take part in an Easter Egg hunt at the playground beyond the right-field wall following the game.
On the Radio this Weekend
Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe and Jeff Culhane 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 Weekend
Friday’s game with Northwestern will be shown nationally on the Big Ten Network.
Time Warner (SD-24, HD-333)
DISH Network (SD/HD-439)
Tuesday’s game at Kansas State will be shown regionally on Fox Sports Midwest.
Time Warner (SD-37, HD-309)
DISH Network (SD/HD-418)
Web Streams this Weekend
Friday’s game can be watched for free on BTN2Go.com if you have BTN as part of your television subscription. Saturday’s and Sunday’s games with Northwestern will be shown live on HuskersNSide (subscription required).
Tuesday’s game at Kansas State will be shown on K-StateHD.TV (subscription required).
The Northwestern Wildcats enter Friday’s series opener with a 10-6 overall record and a 2-1 mark in Big Ten play.
The Wildcats have played the fewest games of any Big Ten team at 16 games, while the next fewest is Iowa with 19.
Northwestern has had to cancel four games already this season and postpone another other, including a three-game series at Missouri that was canceled due to weather.
The Wildcats have won six of their last seven games after being swept at Missouri State in a three-game series. Northwestern opened Big Ten play last weekend with Iowa, taking 2-of-3 from the Hawkeyes.
The series with the Hawkeyes was scheduled to be at Northwestern’s home field, Rocky Miller Park, but due to weather the games were played 30 miles away at Lee Pfund Stadium in Carol Stream, Ill.
Offensively, the Wildcats are led by Kyle Ruchim, who plays second base and pitches. The 5-10 junior is hitting .538 (21-39) in 10 games played, with five doubles, one triple, and on an on-base percentage of .612.
Only two other Wildcats regulars are hitting over .300 on the year, including Jack Havey (.393) and two-way player Zach Morton (.333).
As a team, the Wildcats have only three home runs on the year, but have roped 33 doubles, over two a game.
Northwestern hasn’t been a constant threat to steal, but has been successful when they do with 16 steals in 21 attempts.
On the mound, Morton is scheduled to start for Northwestern on Friday night and also serves as the team’s DH. The senior right-hander is 3-0 on the year in five starts with a 0.74 ERA. Over 36.2 innings of work he has allowed just five runs (three earned) on 29 hits and eight walks, while striking out 29. He has given up six extra base hits on the year, but of which being a home run.
Senior Luke Farrell is schedule to take his 1-1 record to the mound on Saturday. In four starts he has a 2.25 ERA in 28.0 innings of work. The 6-6 righty has been tough on opposing hitters with a team-high 35 strikeouts to just nine walks, while holding opposing hitters to a .194 average. Farrell has given up two of Northwestern’s three home runs on the year.
Sophomore Brandon Magallones rounds out the Wildcats’ rotation and is scheduled to throw on Sunday. The 6-3 righty is 3-1 on the year in five starts and has a 3.09 ERA over 32.0 innings. He has giving up 11 runs on 26 hits and 10 walks, while totaling 22 strikeouts.
The previously mentioned Ruchim has seen the most work out of the bullpen with 12.2 innings over six appearance. He holds a 0.71 ERA and a 2-1 record, as he has given up two runs on eight hits, while striking out 15.
Going for 2,000
The Nebraska baseball team is two wins away from notching the 2,000th win in program history.
Dating back to the team’s first season in 1889 when the team went 1-2, the Huskers entered the season ranked 45th all-time in the NCAA record books in wins.
Entering 2013, only 44 programs in NCAA history had won more than 2,000 games, while only two programs had posted 3,000 or more wins. Fordham entered the season ranked first all-time with 4,320 wins and Texas was second with 3,276 wins.
Home Sweet Hawks
The Nebraska baseball program is celebrating its 12th year at Hawks Field in 2013. The Huskers are 253-88-1 (.741) since opening the park on March 5, 2002 with a 23-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.
After playing 31 homes games in 2012, the Huskers are set to host 20 games at Hawks Field in 2013, while playing 31 true roads games and three neutral site games at the TD Ameritrade Classic in late April.
Senior Chad Christensen is four hits away from joining the 200-hit club at Nebraska. Christensen would become the 15th player in school history to eclipse the 200-hit mark during their career.
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.
Junior Christian DeLeon has been a welcome addition to the Husker pitching staff in 2013.
Projected to be a long-relief arm and a spot starter, DeLeon was throw into the weekend rotation to start the season and has been arguably the Huskers’ top starter.
The 6-3 righty has at least 7.0 innings in three of his last four starting, including a pair of 8.0-inning starts. The junior leads the team with 40.0 innings pitched.
DeLeon holds a 2.70 ERA on the year and ranks second on the team with 19 strikeouts, while issuing just five walks.
Huskers Open Big Ten Play with Win
Last season the Huskers were 4-4 in Big Ten series openers, but only got back to .500 by winning their last three series openers.
This season, Nebraska got off to on the right foot with a 9-5 win on Friday, March 22 at Illinois to open conference play. The teams then split a doubleheader on Saturday, earning the Huskers a series win, 2-1.
Nebraska lost on Friday night in four of its first five Big Ten series openers last season, including a loss to Illinois to open Big Ten play in Lincoln.
At home last season, Nebraska was 1-4 in Big Ten series openers, with the first win coming in its finale against Minnesota, as the Huskers swept the Gophers.
On the road last year, NU was 3-1 in conference series openers, with the only loss coming at Ohio State. Nebraska went on to win the series with the Buckeyes.
Darby Dialed In
Over the Huskers’ past 10 games, sophomore right fielder Austin Darby has been on fire with a .381 average (16-for-42), including one home run, one triple and two doubles.
Along with his team-high .381 average over the stretch, Darby also leads NU with a .548 slugging percentage and is tied for the team lead with seven RBIs.
The Huskers are 8-15 on the season, but nine of their 15 losses have come by two runs or less, including six losses by one run.
Four of the losses have been walk-off loses, including games at USC and Texas where Nebraska had the lead entering the bottom of the ninth.
Nebraska has already played four doubleheaders this season through 23 games entering its series with Northwestern, after playing three doubleheaders all last year.
This season, Nebraska is 4-4 in the eight games.
NU was swept at then No. 22 Cal State Fullerton during the season’s opening weekend, but swept Northern Colorado at Hawks Field.
The third doubleheader of the year came at Louisiana Tech, where the two teams split the day, with the Bulldogs winning game one, 2-1, and the Huskers winning game two, 3-2.
After winning its Big Ten opener on Friday, March 22 at Illinois, the two teams played a doubleheader the following day, with Illinois winning game one on a walk-off squeeze, 8-7, while the Huskers took game two, 6-4, to win the three-game series.
Nebraska is 1-3 in the first game of doubleheader this year, but 3-1 in game two of a double dip.
Nebraska played three doubleheaders a year ago, going 3-3. The Huskers swept at Ohio State, were swept at Indiana and split a doubleheader at home with CSU Bakersfield.
Sophomore Josh Roeder has been tough on opposing hitters this season with a 1.00 ERA. Over 9.0 innings of work, the transfer from Louisberg College his given up just three hits, while striking out eight.
Roeder recently 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.
Take it for the Team
Senior infielder Bryan Peters entered the 2013 season ranked fourth on Nebraska’s career list 43 HBP and recently tied Kale Kiser for third on the career list when he was hit for the 46th time in his career at Illinois.
Peters now tries and catch DJ Belfonte for the No. 2 spot, as Belfonte was hit 59 times during his career from 2007-10.
Fellow senior Kash Kalkowski has also been moving up the chart with his team-high 12 HBP this season. He was hit three times in Illinois to bring his career total to 37, tying Kalkowski for fifth place on the career list with Alex Gordon and Nick Sullivan. Kalkowski took over the No. 5 spot on the list at Kansas State when he was hit for the 38th time in his career.
Daniel Bruce (2002-05) holds the NU career record with 67 HBP and set the single-season record for HBP in 2002 when he was hit 28 times.
We Have a Pulse
The Husker bats came alive at Illinois with 39 hits over the three-game series, including 11 infield singles.
After averaging 7.5 hits per game over their first 19 games of the season, the Huskers averaged 13 hits per game in Illinois, including a season-high 16 hits their 9-5 series opening-win.
Senior Dylan Vogt was clutch out of the bullpen at Illinois this past weekend, earning a save and a win.
The senior righty worked a pair of shutout innings on Friday night to earn his fourth save of the season.
Following a 35-pitch outing on Friday, Head Coach Darin Erstad brought called on Vogt with the Huskers in a jam, as the Illini had the bases loaded and one out.
After Illini won the first game of the doubleheader on a walk-off squeeze, they tried it again to take the lead, but Vogt fielded his position well and flipped the ball from his glove to catcher Tanner Lubach at the plate to cut down Thomas Lindauer. With the bases still juiced, Vogt struck out Will Krug with a nasty pitch that got away from Lubach, but the NU backstop quickly got to the ball and beat Brandon Hohl to the plate for the third out of the inning.
Vogt retired Illinois’ 2-3-4 hitters in order in the eighth and after giving up a leadoff hit in the ninth, he got three-straight ground balls to pick up his first win of the season and secure a 2-1 series win for the Huskers.
Since giving up four runs in his first two appearances of the year, Vogt has thrown 13.1 shutout innings over 10 appearances.
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.
Home Winning Streak
With a 8-5 comeback win over New Mexico on Saturday, March 2, the Huskers have won their last 35 home openers dating back to the 1979 season. Nebraska is 12-0 all-time in home openers at Hawks Field.
Something about the 6th
On the season, Nebraska has scored more runs in the sixth inning than any other innings with 19 runs.
The Huskers hold an 19-18 advantage in the sixth inning and the only other innings they have outscored the opposition is the second (13-12) and seventh (13-12).
Nebraska’s worst inning is the third, where they have been outscored by nine runs, 22-13.
Raising the Average
Senior Chad Christensen has been tough on opposing pitchers this season, as the NU left fielder leads the team with nine of the Huskers’ 46 multi-hit games. Pat Kelly and Austin Darby are close behind with eight multi-hit games each.
Christensen and Darby have each produced three hits in a game three times this season, while Kelly and Rich Sanguinetti each have a pair of three-hit games.
10 different Huskers have produced a multi-hit game this season.
Five Huskers had a multi-hit performance in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener at Illinois on Friday, March 22 to lead NU to a season-high 16 hits.