Huskers Host Northern Colorado for Pair of Games
Tuesday, March 11 – 1:35 p.m.
Probable Starters: LHP Bummer (1-2) vs. RHP Johnson (0-0)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (HuskersNSide, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Wednesday, March 12 –1:35 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP Hohensee (0-0) vs. TBA
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (HuskersNSide, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
Following a three-game sweep of the St. John’s Red Storm this past week at Hawks Field, the Nebraska baseball team (8-5, 0-0 Big Ten) is set to host its first midweek games of the season when the Northern Colorado Bears visit Hawks Field.
The two-game series is scheduled to start at 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, and will be followed with another 1:35 p.m. start on Wednesday.
The Huskers will look to run their winning streak to six straight games with a pair of wins on Tuesday and Wednesday following a win over The Citadel and three wins over St. John’s.
Junior Aaron Bummer is scheduled to start on Tuesday, marking his fourth start of the season. Bummer’s previous three starts came as Nebraska’s No. 2 starter in its weekend rotation. The lefty enters Tuesday with a 1-2 record and a 8.31 ERA over 13.0 innings of work with six strikeouts.
On Wednesday, the Huskers are set to rollout freshman Jake Hohensee, who will be making his first career start. The Lincoln native has seen five appearances in a relief role so far in 2014, working 3.1 innings. The right hander is 0-0 on the year with a 5.40 ERA, as he has given up two runs on four hits, while walking six and striking out three.
Offensively, the Huskers have produced at least 10 hits in five straight games entering Tuesday, led by 10 hits from sophomore Jake Placzek. The Huskers are hitting .341 over the five game span with 45 runs scored on 62 hits.
On the Radio this Week
Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen to Greg Sharpe and Ben McLaughlin 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.
Depending men’s basketball coverage at the Big Ten Tournament, baseball may be shifted from 1400 AM to 105.3 FM in Lincoln.
TV Coverage this Week
No TV coverage this weekend.
Web Streams this Week
A free radio stream of the game will be provided on Huskers.com. HuskersNSide will provide a video stream of the game (subscription required).
Scouting the Northern Colorado Bears
Northern Colorado brings its 4-12 record to Lincoln, including a 0-9 road record. The Bears are now members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) after previously competing in the Great West Conference.
The Bears started the season with five straight losses, before coming home and taking 2-of-3 from Colorado Mesa. They then lost four straight at New Mexico, but again played well at home with a split in a four-game series with North Dakota State, including a win 8-6 win in the series finale on Sunday.
The Bears will be looking to get off to a good start on Tuesday, as its two-game series with the Huskers marks the first two games of 12 straight road games for the Bears.
Offensively, Jake Ekman is the only Bear hitting over .300 on the year with a .328 average, and he leads the team with 19 hits. Former Husker Nick Miller, who played in nine games for the Huskers as a freshman in 2011, leads the Bears with nine RBIs.
The Bears have struck out 111 times on the year, while walking 43 times.
Junior Ross Johnson is scheduled to climb the hill for the Bears on Tuesday and he will be making his first start of his career at Northern Colorado. In three appearances this year, the righty has a 0.00 ERA over 4.0 innings of work. He has given up three hits and two walks, but is yet to produce a strikeout. Johnson transferred to Northern Colorado after spending a pair of season’s at Johnson County CC, where he was more of an offense threat than a pitcher. Johnson led the Cavaliers at the plate last season with a .345 average, but only threw a combined 6.2 innings during his two year stint.
As of Monday afternoon, the Bears have not announced their starter for Wednesday’s game.
The Huskers have struck out 63 times this year, an average of 4.8 times per game, but more impressively the Huskers have 55 walks on the year, an average of 4.2 per game.
Combined with their seven HBP, the Huskers have nearly drawn more free passes then strikeouts this season, 63-62.
Leadoff hitter Austin Darby has led the charge with 10 walks to four strikeouts.
Get on Base
Senior Michael Pritchard enters Tuesday’s game with Northern Colorado with an on-base streak of 55 straight games dating back to last season, which ranks second as the second-longest active streak in the country behind Texas’ Mark Payton (56). The current streak betters Pritchard’s 31-game streak during the 2012 season.
Since becoming a regular starter in 2012, Pritchard has played in 119 games and has failed to reach base by a hit, walk or hit-by-pinch in just eight games.
Including his freshman season in 2011, Pritchard has played in 153 games during his career and has failed to reach in 18 games.
During his career when Pritchard has at least three official at-bats in a game, he failed to reach base at least once just eight times.
Pritchard’s is the longest by a Husker since 2000. That is how long Nebraska game-by-game stats are available digitally.
Since 2000, 10 Huskers have reached base in 30 or more consecutive games.
Kelly Keeps Hitting
Opposing pitchers don’t want to see junior Pat Kelly after he has an 0-for-3 or worse game.
Kelly was 0-for-3 in the season opener against Pacific and responded by going a career-best 5-for-5 against No. 2 Oregon State the next afternoon.
In 113 career games, Kelly has gone 0-for-3 or worse 19 times. Only twice following those has he not produced at least one hit in the following game. Following three 0-for-games he has rallied with at least four hits.
Through 13 games this season, Kelly is tied with Michael Pritchard for the team lead with 19 hits, including three doubles and one triple.
Last season, Kelly led the team in hits with 85, while ranking third in batting average (.331), RBIs (33) and doubles (12). The Red Wing, Minn., native tied former first-team All-American John Cole (2001) for sixth in the single-season record book with 70 singles on the year.
Kelly is one of just six players in program history to produce 70 of more singles in a single season, while school-record holder Francis Collins (86 in 1997; 79 in 1996) achieved the feat twice.
Join the Club
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.
Michael Pritchard is now looking to join the club, entering Tuesday’s game with Northern Colorado he is five hits shy of 200 and ranks 21st in school history with 195 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.
Packing the Park
During the 2013 season, Husker Nation proved once again why the Nebraska baseball team plays in front of the best fans in the country.
Even with the below average temperatures last spring, Nebraska ranked 19th in the country with 2,859 fans per game in 2013.
In its 12 home Big Ten games, the Huskers averaged 3,294 fans through the gates at Hawks Field.
The Huskers have ranked in the top 30 in average attendance the past 12 seasons, including nine times in the top 15.
With just three home games in the books this season, the Huskers enter the week ranked 28th in the country with an average of 2,267 fans through the gates at Hawks Field.
Placzek Stepping Up
Sophomore Jake Placzek started the 2014 season as a reserve infielder, but following an injury to starting shortstop Steven Reveles on Feb. 22, Placzek has made seven straight starts for the Huskers.
The La Vista, Neb., native is hitting .393 (11-for-28) during the seven-game stretch with six RBIs and has scored five runs.
Placzek rides a five-game hitting streak into Tuesday and has produced a multi-hit game in four of NU’s past five games.
Turning on the Jets
Through Sunday, March 9, Nebraska has produced 10 triples, including three from Michael Pritchard. Ryan Boldt, Austin Darby and Blake Headley each have a pair of triples on the year.
Last season the Huskers didn’t have 10 triples until the 52nd game of the season on May 16, when the Huskers slugged two triples in the series opener against Michigan at Hawks Field
The single-season team record for triples is 38 by the 1980 squad, while Shawn Buchanan set the individual single-season record in 1990 with nine.
Rely on Roeder
Junior Josh Roeder has picked up right where he left off in 2013, as the right-handed has earned a pair of saves and a win in four appearances this year and has a 0.00 ERA over 3.2 innings of work.
Roeder was a welcome addition to the Husker pitching staff in 2013, as he helped solidify the back end of NU’s bullpen. He ended the season with a team-best 1.74 ERA and six saves in 31.0 innings of work over 21 appearances. The 6-0 righty posted 29 strikeouts to seven walks (one intentional), while holding opposing hitters to a .209 average.
Roeder is one of 50 pitchers named to the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch list, given annually to the top relief pitcher in college baseball.
Roeder was one of four Big Ten pitchers on the list, joining Michigan’s Jacob Cronenworth, Ohio State’s Trace Dempsey and Indiana’s Ryan Halstead.
Nebraska has scored over a third of its runs in two innings this year, as 37 of the Huskers 95 runs have come in the second and sixth innings.
The Huskers are out scoring opponents 17-4 in the second inning and 20-5 in the sixth inning of games this season.
Not only do seniors Zach Hirsch and Bob Greco each have their bachelor’s degrees, but both have been two of Nebraska’s best arms out of the bullpen in 2014.
The two have combined for 14.1 innings of relief, giving up four runs on eight hits, while striking out 14.
Both have been tough on opposing hitters, especially Hirsch, as batters are hitting just .095 off the lefty.
Need to Finish
The Huskers were likely just one win away from reaching the NCAA Tournament a year ago, but failed to qualify with a 29-30 record.
Close games hurt the Huskers all year, as they were 4-11 in one-run games.
Last season, Nebraska was 28-1 when leading after eight innings, but 0-24 when trailing after eight and 1-5 when tied. Nebraska was also just 4-24 when trailing after six innings and 1-26 when trailing after seven innings.
All five of Nebraska’s losses this year have come with Nebraska trailing after the sixth.