Huskers Welcome Wildcats to Hawks Field
Friday, April 18 – 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP DeLeon (4-2) vs. LHP Mason (1-2)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (BTN2Go)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Saturday, April 19 –2:05 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP Sinclair (5-1) vs. RHP Magallones (0-5)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (BTDN, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Sunday, April 20 – 1:05 p.m.
Probable Starters: LHP Bummer (4-2) vs. TBA
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (HuskerNSide, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
Winners of five-straight games and 10 of its last 11, the Nebraska baseball team (25-14, 7-2 Big Ten) welcomes the Northwestern Wildcats (8-24, 2-9 Big Ten) to Hawks Field this weekend for the three-game Big Ten series.
The series kicks off at 7:05 p.m. on Friday night in front of a national TV audience on the Big Ten Network. Game two of the series is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. on Saturday, with TV coverage provided by NET. The series finale is set for 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
The Wildcats will make 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.
The series opener last season went 16 innings and was over five hours long, with the Huskers winning on a walk-off single by Chad Christensen
Nebraska enters the series second in the Big Ten standings with a 7-2 conference record, while Northwestern enters the week 11th in the Big Ten with a 2-9 record, including an 0-2 road record. Northwestern dropped the first two games of its series at Penn State before the third game was canceled.
Huskers’ Weekend Rotation
After moving out of the Friday role and pitching on Saturday last weekend due to illness, Christian DeLeon will be back on he bump Friday night for the Huskers. The senior has thrown a complete game in each of his last two starts and has gone at least 8.0 innings in each of his three Big Ten starts this season. DeLeon has thrown a Big Ten-high 66.0 innings over nine starts in 2014 and leads the Huskers with 35 strikeouts.
Saturday starter Chance Sinclair is coming off his second-shortest outing of the year, a 5.0-inning no decision against Minnesota. Sinclair allowed a career-high five runs on six hits, but only allowed one hit through the first four innings against the Gophers. With a 5-1 record on the year, Sinclair enters the weekend ranked fourth in the Big Ten with a 1.76 ERA.
Junior Aaron Bummer is scheduled to climb the hill on Sunday and will look to win his fifth games of the season. Bummer went 7.0 inning and struck out a career-high seven last weekend at Minnesota, but didn’t factor into the Husker win, as he left the game with it tied 2-2. Bummer has gone at least 7.0 innings in each of his last three starts after not working into the seventh in any of his first five starts of the season.
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
The Huskers will 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
Northwestern, Friday - BTN2Go
Northwestern, Saturday - BTDN (video.btn.com)
Northwestern, Sunday - HuskersNSide
The Huskers and Wildcats enter the weekend knotted 6-6 in the all-time series that started in 1897.
Northwestern one the first ever meeting at home, 9-5, and won against in 1902, 11-3.
The teams then didn’t meet for 87 years, before Nebraska won its first game in the series, 5-2, on March 26, 1989 at Buck Beltzer Field.
The first ever Big Ten meeting between the two teams came during the 2012 season in Evanston, when Nebraska won the series opener, 7-4, but Northwestern took the final two games of the series.
After not meeting during the 2013 season, Nebraska hosted the Wildcats for its Big Ten home opener and posted a series sweep. The first game of the three-game series went 16 innings, with Chad Christensen delivering walk-off single in a 10-9 win.
NEB and NU Series History -- Tied 6-6
2013 at NEB W, 8-6
at NEB W, 8-5
at NEB W, 10-9 (16 inn.)
2012 at NU L, 6-1
at NU L, 8-4
at NU W, 7-4
2004 vs. NU W, 19-3
1996 vs. NU L, 13-9
vs. NU L, 13-10
1989 at NEB W, 5-2
1902 at NU L, 11-3
1897 at NU L, 9-5
Over the Past 10 Games for Nebraska
• Nebraska was 9-1, including a 6-0 Big Ten record and a 5-1 home record
• Michael Pritchard hit .450 (18-for-40) with five doubles, one triple, one homer and 14 RBIs
• Six Huskers had double-digit hits, including Michael Pritchard (18), Blake Headley (15), Jake Placzek (13), Ryan Boldt (11), Steven Reveles (10) and Austin Darby (10)
• 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 produced 15 doubles
• Nebraska pitchers totaled 59 strikeouts, while walking 28
• Nebraska posted a .307 batting average, while holding opponents to a .255 average
• Nebraska hit three of its eight homers for the year
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
Michael Pritchard has been a hit machine during his career at Nebraska, producing 223 career hits. Earlier this season he fell into a slump, but has recently again found his stroke at the plate.
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 seven games entering Friday, Pritchard has raised his average 57 points to .318, as he is 16-for-29 with five multi-hit games, including a career-high 5-for-5 night against Kansas State on April 15.
During the seven-game stretch Pritchard has five doubles, including one double in each of his past three games entering Friday, and has notched 10 of his 31 RBIs on the season.
Following his three-RBI game on Wednesday against Omaha, Pritchard has eight multi-RBI games in 2014, the same amount he had during his first three seasons at Nebraska combined.
Get out the Brooms
Last 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.
This weekend Nebraska is not only looking for its third straight conference sweep, but it is also trying to win three-straight Big Ten series for just the second time since joining the Big Ten Conference prior to the 2012 season.
Last season the Huskers opened conference play with three straight series wins: at Illinois (2-1), Northwestern (3-0) and at Iowa (2-1). The streak came to and end when the Ohio State Buckeyes took 2-for-3 from the Huskers in Lincoln.
Rest the Pen
Senior Christian DeLeon has tossed back-to-back complete games in his last two starts, 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, including nine in 2014.
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.
The three times DeLeon hasn’t gone at least 6.0 innings have come in his first appearance each season as well as the series opener against Northwestern in 2013.
In last year’s series opener, DeLeon allowed a career-high seven runs in a career-low 4.1 innings.
Austin Darby hit leadoff for the Huskers 32 times in the first 34 games of the season and NU was 19-13. Over the past five games Darby has moved down in the order, giving him more opportunities to drive in runs.
In 32 games in the leadoff spot Darby hit .315 (41-130) with 19 RBIs. He also posted a .384 on-base percentage with a even 15-to-15 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
Over the past five games Ryan Boldt moved to the leadoff spot and Nebraska is 5-0, while Darby has hit fifth in the lineup four times and sixth once. His RBI production has gone up significantly with over one per game, as he has seven RBIs in five game.
Going for the Century Mark
Pat Kelly enters Friday night’s game against Northwestern with 99 career RBIs, including 29 this season.
If Kelly breaks the 100-RBI barrier, he’d be the 43rd Husker since 1986 to reach the mark.
Matt Hopper is the only Husker to ever top the 200-RBI mark, with a school-record 271 RBIs.
Lean on Hirsch
Zach Hirsch has been one of Nebraska’s best arms out of the bullpen in 2014.
The one-time starter has made a team-high 18 appearances, all out of the pen, in 2014 and holds a 1.27 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .190 average over 28.1 innings of work. He also ranks second on the team with 33 strikeouts.
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 last weekend. 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.
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 eight of those appearances.
The Huskers have produced double-digit hits 24 times this year in 39 games, including 11 of their 17 home games.
Nebraska produced a season-high 22 hits on Tuesday night in a 14-5 win over Kansas State. It was the most hits by a Husker offense since 2012, when the Huskers notched 24 hits in a 22-3 win over Louisiana Tech.
Blake Headley has been on a multi-hit tear of late, with four multi-hit game in his last five games, including each of his last three games entering Friday.
Over the last five games Headley is 11-for-20 and has raised his batting average from .284 to .330.
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.
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 Friday tied with Nebraska Director of Operations Curtis Ledbetter for 17th in school history with 223 hits.
Junior Pat Kelly has a good shot at joining the list before the end of the season as well, as he enters Friday with 182 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.
NU 200-Career Hit Club
1. 338 Matt Hopper 2000-03
2. 305 Jeff Leise 2000-03
3. 281 Will Bolt 1999-02
4. 261 Darin Erstad 1993-95
5. 250 Paul Meyers 1984-86
6. 249 Joe Simokaitis 2002-05
7. 248 Jed Dalton 1992-95
8. 247 Chad Christensen 2010-13
9. 246 Darin Petersen 1992-95
10. 242 Mark Kister 1985-87
11. 240 Alex Gordon 2003-05
12. 238 DJ Belfonte 2007-10
13. 234 Todd Sears 1996-97
14. 231 Daniel Bruce 2002-05
15. 229 Ken Ramos 1987-89
16. 227 Jake Opitz 2005-08
17. 223 Curtis Ledbetter 2003-05
223 Michael Pritchard 2011-present
19. 222 John Cole 1999-01
20. 203 Ken Harvey 1997-99
21. 201 Francis Collins 1995-97
Tough to Fit on the Scoreboard
In the second inning against Omaha on Wednesday night, the Huskers scored 10 runs on 11 hits and had three players record at least two hits in the inning.
It was the most runs scored in an inning by the Huskers since they put up 10 in a 15-2 win over Northern Colorado during the 2010 season.
Huskers in MLB
Seven former Huskers were on MLB rosters for Opening Day, with Cody Asche (Phillies) and Andrew Brown (Mets) both hitting home runs.
Michael Mariot became the 35th former Husker to reach the Majors when he was called up by the Kansas City Royals on April 7. Mariot made his MLB debut in Minnesota on April 11 with 2.0 inning so relief against the Twins
According to Baseball America, as of April 9, 2014 Nebraska is tied for fourth nationally with Cal, Miami and Stanford, all with eight former players in MLB.
Arizona State led the list with 11 players, while Long Beach State was second with 10 and North Carolina ranked third with nine players.
The Big Ten Conference ranked sixth with 15 players. Minnesota ranked second in the league with three players
Player Years at NU MLB Team
Cody Asche (2009-11) Philadelphia Phillies
Andrew Brown (2006-07) New York Mets
Joba Chamberlain (2005-06) Detroit Tigers
Brian Duensing (2002-05) Minnesota Twins
Alex Gordon (2003-05) Kansas City Royals
Dan Jennings (2006-08) Miami Marlins
Michael Mariot (2008-10) Kansas City Royals
Tony Watson (2003-05) Pittsburgh Pirates
Nebraska enters Friday with a RPI of 36 according to both Boyd’s World and Warren Nolan.
The Huskers have an 11-7 record against top-100 RPI teams
RPI Top-100 Wins
Washington - 1 (RPI 15)
UNLV - 1 (RPI 16)
Oregon State - 1 (RPI 25)
Kansas State - 1 (RPI 60)
UC Irvine - 2 (RPI 62)
Arkansas - 1 (RPI 69)
Wichita State - 1 (RPI 72)
Ohio State - 3 (RPI 82)
Need for Speed
Nebraska has produced 16 triples on the year through 39 games entering Friday, which tops their 13 triples in 59 games last season.
The 16 triples are the most by a Husker squad since 2002 when NU totaled 20 triples.
Entering the week, the Huskers ranked seventh in the country with 16 triples. Louisiana-Lafayette led the nation with 22 triples.
Seven Huskers have a triple on the season, including four from Michael Pritchard, as well as three each from Ryan Boldt and Austin Darby. Blake Headley has two triples, while Pat Kelly, Tanner Lubach, Austin Christensen and Quinn McGill each have one.