Huskers Finish Non-Conference with Games in Omaha
Tuesday, April 29 – 6:35 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: LHP Kubat (3-2) vs. LHP Bamesberger (2-1)
TV: CBS Sports Network
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (None)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Wednesday, April 30 – 6:35 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: TBA vs. RHP Williamsen (2-2)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (None)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
The Nebraska baseball team is set to play its finale two non-conference games of the year this week with a pair of trips to Omaha.
The Huskers and Creighton Bluejays are set to hold their third and final meeting of the 2014 season on Tuesday, April 29 at TD Ameritrade Park. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. and the game will be carried nationwide on CBS Sports Network.
Nebraska returns to Omaha on Wednesday, April 30, for a 6:35 p.m. game against the Omaha Mavericks. The game will take place at Werner Park, the home of the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, the Omaha Storm Chasers. It will be Nebraska’s first ever game at Werner Park.
After the pair of midweek games, the Huskers will have nine Big Ten Conference games left on their 2014 regular-season schedule, including a pair of home series.
The nine-game stretch starts this Friday when the Huskers welcome the Penn State Nittany Lions to Lincoln for the first-ever regular-season conference meeting between the two schools. The Huskers and Nittany Lions met at the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, with the Huskers knocking Nittany Lions out of the postseason tournament.
Nebraska then heads to East Lansing, Mich., for a three-game set against the Michigan State Spartans, before ending the regular season with a three-game series at home against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The Huskers and Fighting Illini opened conference play against each other each of the past two seasons.
Huskers’ Midweek Rotation
Junior Kyle Kubat is scheduled to make his second start of the season against the Bluejays on Tuesday night, after also facing them in Lincoln on March 19.
Kubat improved his season record to 3-2 last week in a victory of Omaha, going 6.0 innings for the Huskers with a season-high five strikeouts.
In his last outing against the Jays, Kubat gave up one run on two hits in 4.0 innings of work.
The Huskers haven’t announced a starters for Wednesday’s game against Omaha.
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 at Creighton will be carried nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Friday’s series opener against Penn State will be carried statewide on NET.
Web Streams this Week
Creighton, Tuesday - None
Omaha, Wednesday - None
Penn State, Friday - BTDN (video.btn.com)
Penn State, Saturday - BTDN (video.btn.com)
Penn State, Sunday - BTDN (video.btn.com)
Nebraska holds a 75-49-2 lead in the all-time series with Creighton. Last season the teams split a pair of games, as the third game in the series was cancelled due to weather and never made up.
The first meeting came during the 1902 season when the Huskers won at Creighton, 9-3. Nebraska won the last meeting on March 19 of this season, 5-4, on a 10th-inning walk-off single by Jake Placzek.
Nebraska has won the first two meetings this season and is going for the season sweep on Tuesday night.
The Huskers last posted a season sweep of the Jays during the 2008 season when NU won at home on April 22 (4-3) and then went to Omaha the next night and won (16-7). NU completed the sweep on May 13 with a 8-1 win.
The last time the Bluejays won the season series was during the 2010 season, as the Jays took the first two games of the year. The Huskers avoided the season sweep with a 21-5 victory at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The Huskers and Mavericks will be meeting for the 61st time on Wednesday night, and it will be the first time the Huskers have ever played at Werner Park.
The teams met earlier this year on Wednesday, April 16 in Lincoln and it was the first ever meeting between the two teams since UNO moved to Division I. The Huskers enter Wednesday with a 50-10 lead in the all-time series.
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 7-3, including a 4-1 road record and a 5-1 Big Ten record
• Michael Pritchard hit .462 (18-for-39) with six doubles and nine RBIs
• Nebraska averaged over two doubles a game with 22
• Blake Headley hit .395 (15-for-38) with three doubles and an on-base percentage of .455
• Five Huskers had double-digit hits, including Michael Pritchard (18), Blake Headley (15), Ryan Boldt (14), Steven Reveles (12) and Pat Kelly (11)
• Nebraska pitchers totaled 60 strikeouts, while walking 29
• Nebraska posted a .309 batting average, while holding opponents to a .271 average
• Closer Josh Roeder earned three of his nine saves on the year
• Nebraska’s pitching staff posted a 3.10 ERA, while opposing pitchers were at a 5.84 ERA
• Nebraska outscored opponents 66-41
• Nebraska’s offense struck out 51 times, but walked 47 times and had 5 HBP
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 11 times this year the Huskers have been behind or tied after six innings and have come back to win.
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
4/19 vs. Northwestern | Tied 9-9 after 7, won 10-9
- Tied 9-9 after 7 innings, Blake Headley delivered a sac fly in the bottom of the 8th and Josh Roeder picked up his 8th save of the year to avoid a sweep by the Wildcats
4/26 at Michigan | Tied 1-1 after 7, won 3-1
- Tied 1-1 after 7 innings, Steven Reveles delivered a 1-out sacrifice fly and Taylor Fish added an RBI single in the top of the 8th
Michael Pritchard has been a hit machine during his career at Nebraska, producing 231 career hits. Earlier this season he fell into a slump, but since 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 13 games entering Tuesday, Pritchard has raised his average 63 points to .324. He is 24-for-51 with seven multi-hit games, including a career-high 5-for-5 night against Kansas State on April 15.
During the 13-game stretch Pritchard has eight doubles, including one double three of his last five games entering Tuesday, and has notched 13 of his 34 RBIs on the season.
In 2014, Pritchard has nine multi-RBI games, one more than he had during his first three seasons at Nebraska combined.
Pencil Him In
Junior Pat Kelly has been a regular in the Husker lineup ever since he was a freshman in 2012.
Entering Tuesday, Kelly has started 118 straight games dating back to his freshman season.
Kelly has started all 45 games this season and was in the starting lineup for all 59 games in 2013. Kelly started the 41 games as a freshman in 2012, including the final 14 games of the year.
The last time Kelly didn’t start was on April 28, 2012, when he didn’t play in the second game of a doubleheader against CSU Bakersfield.
Hitting the Century Mark
Junior Pat Kelly became the 43rd Husker since 1986 to notch 100 RBIs for their career when he drove in a run in the first game of a doubleheader with Northwestern on April 19.
Michael Pritchard needs 19 more RBIs in 2014 to also join the club.
Kash Kalkowski (123), Chad Christensen (118) and Josh Scheffert (113) all joined the club last season. Prior to the three seniors in 2012, Cody Asche was the last to join in 2011, ending his career with 135 RBIs
Matt Hopper is the only Husker to ever top the 200-RBI mark, with a school-record 271 RBIs.
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 has since continued to move of the list. He enters Tuesday tied with Daniel Bruce (2002-05) for 14th in school history with 231 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 189 career hits. Last season Kelly totaled a team-high 85 hits on the year, and with 48 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, Opitz was the last Husker to join the club in 2008.
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
231 Michael Pritchard 2011-present
16. 229 Ken Ramos 1987-89
17. 227 Jake Opitz 2005-08
18. 223 Curtis Ledbetter 2003-05
19. 222 John Cole 1999-01
20. 203 Ken Harvey 1997-99
21. 201 Francis Collins 1995-97
Taylor Fish has come up with some big hits for the Huskers late in games, including a walk-off single against St. John’s earlier this season on March 8.
A spot starter for most of the season, Fish recently moved into the starting role at catcher following an injury to Tanner Lubach.
Fish has 13 hits in 52 at bats this season, but six of his 13 hits have come in the seventh inning or later.
Lean on Hirsch
Zach Hirsch has been one of Nebraska’s best arms out of the bullpen in 2014.
For his efforts he was one of 50 relievers in the nation recently named to the NCBWA Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Award Watch List.
The one-time starter has made a team-high 21 appearances, all out of the pen, in 2014 and holds a 1.44 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .198 average over 33.0 innings of work. He ranks second on the team with 37 strikeouts, two behind starter Christian DeLeon’s 39 strikeouts.
The senior lefty had a streak of 14.1 innings of scoreless relief before Minnesota scored a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh that tied the game 6-6. The Huskers still won the game, 8-6
Hirsch has 13 appearances this season where he has thrown at least an inning of relief and hasn’t given up a run. In eight of those appearances he hasn’t given up a hit.
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 was 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
Making an Impact
True freshman Ryan Boldt has started 43 of the Huskers’ 45 games in 2014 and is hitting .307 entering Tuesday’s game at Creighton. He is also tied with Michael Pritchard for the team lead in runs scored with 34.
Boldt has moved to the leadoff spot for the Huskers over the team’s past 11 games and has reached base in NU’s first at-bat of the game five times.
Boldt is one of four Huskers with over 50 hits on the year with 51 hits, including nine doubles, four triples and one homer. He has also driven in 22 runs on the year, including a team-best 17 RBIs with two outs
Boldt had twice been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week this season and prior to the start of the 2014 season, he was named the No. 2 freshman in the country by Baseball America.
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.
Tough to Fit on the Scoreboard
In the second inning against Omaha on Wednesday, April 16, 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.
Nebraska enters Tuesday with an RPI of 42 according to the WarrenNolan.com
The Huskers have an 12-9 record against top-100 RPI teams, including a 3-3 record against top-50 RPI teams.
RPI Top-100 Wins
Oregon State - 1 (RPI 10)
Washington - 1 (RPI 25)
UNLV - 1 (RPI 26)
UC Irvine - 2 (RPI 54)
Arkansas - 1 (RPI 59)
Wichita State - 1 (RPI 84)
Ohio State - 3 (RPI 85)
Iowa - 1 (RPI 95)
Kansas State - 1 (RPI 97)