Photo by Stephanie Carpenter/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Open 2018 Campaign in Arizona

By NU Athletic Communications

Friday, Feb. 16 • 5 p.m. (CT)
UC Riverside vs. Nebraska
TV/Stream: None • Radio: HSN
Luis Alvarado (0-0) vs. Hazahel Quijada (0-0)

Saturday, Feb. 17 • 1 p.m. (CT)
Washington State vs. Nebraska
TV/Stream: None • Radio: HSN
Jake McSteen (0-0) vs. Cody Anderson (0-0)

Saturday, Feb. 17 • 5 p.m. (CT)
Nebraska vs. UC Riverside
TV/Stream: None • Radio: HSN
Nate Fisher (0-0) vs. Cole Percival (0-0)

Sunday, Feb. 18 • 1 p.m. (CT)
Nebraska vs. Washington State
TV/Stream: None • Radio: HSN
Matt Warren (0-0) vs. Scotty Sunitsch (0-0)

The Nebraska baseball team makes its 2018 debut this weekend as the first of two trips to Arizona in February. NU is scheduled to play four games at the Husker Classic from Friday to Sunday at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., the Spring Training home of the Angels.

The Huskers open against UC Riverside on Friday at 5 p.m. (CT). On Saturday, Nebraska faces Washington State at 1 p.m., before facing the Highlanders at 5 p.m. NU’s finale is set for Sunday against the Cougars at 1 p.m. UC Riverside and Washington State will face each other twice, Friday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. (CT). Parking and admission for the Husker Classic is free.

The Big Ten released its preseason poll on Wednesday, and the Huskers are picked to finish second in the league. Indiana is picked to finish first, while Minnesota (third), Maryland (fourth), Michigan (fifth) and Iowa (sixth) round out the top six.

NU’s Big Ten Preseason Honors List includes Luis Alvarado, Jake McSteen and Scott Schreiber. Alvarado earned Preseason All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA. Schreiber is a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. Nebraska also returns 2017 All-Big Ten performers Angelo Altavilla and Jake Hohensee in 2018.

How to Listen/Watch the Huskers
Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe and Ben McLaughlin call the weekend action on the Husker Sports Network. Every game this season can be heard on Huskers.com and the Official Nebraska Huskers App for both iOS and android devices. 

Friday’s season opener will be carried on 1400 AM in Lincoln and 590 AM in Omaha. Fans can also listen to the game on TuneIn.com or the TuneIn App on the Husker IMG Sports Network channel.

Saturday’s games won’t be on TuneIn due to the Nebraska women’s basketball game. Sunday’s game won’t be on TuneIn due to the Nebraska men’s basketball game.

There won’t be any TV or video stream coverage this weekend in Tempe.

Next Up
The Huskers return to the Grand Canyon State for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, Feb. 22-25, in Surprise, Ariz. NU faces Oregon State twice and Utah twice during the four-day tournament. Nebraska’s first three games will be played at Surprise Stadium, while the finale on Feb. 25 will be played at the Royals Practice Field.

Quick Notes

  • Luis Alvarado enters the 2018 campaign with the team’s longest active hitting streak (7) and longest active reaching base streak (17).
    » Alvarado began his seven-game hitting streak on May 19, 2017. His career-long hitting streak is 10 games.
    » Alvarado began his career-long 17-game reaching base streak on April 29, 2017.

  • Of the 37 players listed on Nebraska’s 2018 roster, 21 are upperclassmen. NU has 15 juniors and six seniors.
  • From last season, Nebraska returns...

        » 65 percent of its runs (217 of 336)

        » 65 percent of its hits (369 of 565)

        » 68 percent of its doubles (73 of 108)

        » 89 percent of its triples (8 of 9)

        » 64 percent of its home runs (16 of 25)

        » 67 percent of its RBIs (195 of 292)

        » 57 percent of its pitcher wins (20 of 35)

        » 100 percent of its saves (20 of 20)

        » 71 percent of its strikeouts (273 of 386)

Scouting the UC Riverside Highlanders

  • Nebraska leads the all-time series against UC Riverside, 6-3, dating back to the first meeting in 1980. The two teams have never met in Lincoln, Neb., but the Huskers are 4-0 at UC Riverside and 2-3 at a neutral site. The Huskers and Highlanders split an opening day doubleheader last season in Tempe, Ariz.
  • The Highlanders went 22-32 last season and finished ninth in the Big West with an 8-16 record in conference play.
  • Head Coach Troy Percival begins his fourth season at UC Riverside in 2018. He holds a 63-101 record at his alma mater. Percival is assisted by Bryson LeBlanc, Curtis Smith and Justin Johnson.

        » Percival and Nebraska Head Coach Darin Erstad were teammates for the Angels and return to Tempe Diablo Stadium, where they attended Spring Training as players.

      » Percival made his Major League debut in 1995 and Erstad made his MLB debut in 1996 after he was selected by the Angels with the first overall pick in the 1995 MLB Draft. Both were instrumental in the team’s 2002 World Series title.

  • Players to Watch

        » Colby Schultz (Senior INF): Led the 2017 team in hits (66), doubles (15) and runs scored (38)

        » AJ Sawyer (Senior OF/RHP): Batted .281 with 47 hits and 28 runs scored last season

        » Connor Cannon (Sophomore P/1B): Led the 2017 team with eight home runs and had 28 RBIs

Scouting the Washington State Cougars

  • The series between Nebraska and Washington State is tied, 2-2, with all four meetings taking place at neutral sites. The Huskers and Cougars first met in 1986, but haven’t played since 2000.
  • Washington State went 24-29 last season and finished ninth in the Pac-12 with a 10-20 record in conference play.
  • Head Coach Marty Lees begins his third season at Washington State in 2018. He holds a 43-64 record at the helm of the Cougar program. He is assisted by Dan Spencer, Jim Horner and Kurt Lupinski.
  • Players to Watch

        » Andres Alvarez (Junior INF): Led the 2017 team with 60 hits, ranked second with a .308 average

        » Justin Harrer (Junior OF): Led the 2017 team with five home runs and 17 doubles

        » J.J. Hancock (Senior OF): Hit .298 with four home runs and 23 RBIs last season

        » Cody Anderson (Senior LHP): Went 5-4 with a team-best 3.40 ERA last season, struck out 58

        » Ryan Walker (Senior RHP): Led the 2017 team with 59 strikeouts, went 5-5 with a 5.67 ERA

On the Road Again to Start the Season

  • Nebraska is scheduled to play 11 consecutive games away from Lincoln to start the year. The Huskers will play a pair of four-game sets in Arizona in February before their first road series of the year at Wichita State, March 2-4. Nebraska opens its home slate on Thursday, March 8 against Cal Poly.
  • The last time the Huskers opened the season at home was 1990, when Nebraska hosted Kearney on Feb. 11 at Buck Beltzer Stadium.

Consecutive Games Away from Lincoln to Start the Season

2012: 10 games (Gonzaga, Utah, TAMU-Corpus Christi, UNLV, West Virginia, NMSU, Minnesota)

2013: 7 games (CSU Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, USC, Texas)

2014: 10 games (Pacific, Gonzaga, Oregon State, Washington, Utah, The Citadel)

2015: 13 games (UNLV, BYU, Loyola Marymount, Texas A&M, Hawaii, LSU)

2016: 9 games (College of Charleston, San Diego, Arizona, Tulane, Long Beach State)

2017: 9 games (UC Riverside, Oregon State, Utah, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Arizona)

2018: 11 games (UC Riverside, Washington State, Oregon State, Utah, Wichita State)

 

Another Opening Day in Arizona

  • The Huskers open their season at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., for the third time in the last five years (2014, 2017, 2018). Nebraska is 3-3 on opening day under Darin Erstad.
  • This weekend’s trip will mark the first of back-to-back visits to the Grand Canyon State for the Huskers in 2018. NU heads to Surprise, Ariz., for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, Feb. 22-25, to play Oregon State and Utah.

Opening Day Sites and Results Under Erstad

2012: Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Ariz. (Feb. 17): Lost to Gonzaga, 7-4

2013: Hardt Field in Bakersfield, Calif. (Feb. 15): Lost to CSU Bakersfield, 9-4

2014: Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. (Feb. 14): Defeated Pacific, 5-3

2015: Earl E. Wilson Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. (Feb. 13): Defeated UNLV, 2-0

2016: Patriots Park in Charleston, S.C. (Feb. 19): Defeated College of Charleston, 4-0

2017: Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. (Feb. 17): Lost to UC Riverside, 4-3

2018: Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. (Feb. 16)

Huskers Eye Return to NCAA Tourney in 2018

  • Nebraska opens its 2018 campaign after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four years (2014, 2016, 2017)
  • In 2017, the Huskers captured their first Big Ten regular-season crown since joining the conference before the 2012 season. NU finished second in the Big Ten on three occasions from 2013 to 2016 before breaking through last season. Nebraska and Indiana are the only two teams to qualify for the eight-team Big Ten Tournament every season since 2012.
  • Nebraska returns six of its position starters from last season, but lost All-American Jake Meyers, who signed with the Houston Astros organization following his junior season at Nebraska in 2017. Starters Ben Miller, Derek Burkamper and Jake Schleppenbach each completed their season season in 2017.
  • NU returns three of its four All-Big Ten selections from last season with the departure of Meyers.

        » Scott Schreiber, a senior in 2018, made the first team in 2016 and 2017.

        » Angelo Altavilla, a junior in 2018, made the third team in 2017.

        » Jake Hohensee, a fifth-year senior in 2018, was a third-team selection in 2017.

  • The Huskers saw improvements in several statistical categories last season.

        » Nebraska had 108 doubles last season, the most under Darin Erstad and the most by a Nebraska team since hitting 109 doubles in 2008.

        » Nebraska’s 2017 pitching staff recorded 386 strikeouts, the most under Darin Erstad and the most by a Nebraska team since 2011 when the Huskers had 389 strikeouts.

        » Nebraska earned 20 saves as a team in 2017, the second-most single-season saves by a Husker team behind the 23 accomplished by the 2005 squad. Nebraska has recorded double-digit saves during all six seasons under Darin Erstad.

        » NU scored 336 runs in 2017, an 11-run improvement from 2016 despite playing one fewer game. In 2016, NU scored 325 runs after scoring 274 runs in 2015.

        » Nebraska posted a 3.73 ERA as a team in 2017 after a 3.89 ERA in 2016.

  • Nebraska welcomes nine newcomers, eight of which are freshmen, to the roster in 2018.
  • 2018 will mark the 112th season of Nebraska baseball, dating back to 1889. The Huskers hold an all-time record of 2,171-1,574-17 (.579). Nebraska did not field a baseball team during 18 years: 1894-96, 1903, 1911, 1913-18, 1926-28, 1932 and 1943-45.

Alvarado Joins Starting Rotation

  • Senior right-hander Luis Alvarado is set to start on Friday night after spending the 2017 season as a reliever for the Huskers. He earned second-team preseason All-America accolades from Collegiate Baseball and third-team recognition from the NCBWA, while also making the NCBWA Stopper-of-the-Year Preseason Watch List.
  • Alvarado was drafted in the 13th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners, but elected to return to Nebraska for his senior season.
  • Alvarado, who didn’t pitch during his first two years at Nebraska, made 16 appearances last season out of the bullpen. He led the Huskers with 10 saves, which tied for the seventh-most single-season saves in program history. In Big Ten play, Alvarado earned a save in all seven of his appearances on the mound.
  • Alvarado had a 1.72 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work last season. His longest outing was 1.1 innings at Penn State on May 19, 2017.

Schreiber Climbing the Husker Charts

  • Senior Scott Schreiber is 20 hits away from becoming the 26th member of Nebraska’s 200-hit club. Schreiber, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, was drafted in the 26th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but chose to return to Nebraska for his senior campaign.
  • The Huskers have had at least one player join the 200-hit club in each of the last five seasons, including Ben Miller (2017), Ryan Boldt (2016), Austin Darby (2015), Michael Pritchard (2014), Pat Kelly (2014) and Chad Christensen (2013).

Nebraska’s Career 200-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. 251 - Michael Pritchard (2011-14)
6. 250 - Paul Meyers (1984-86)
7. 249 - Joe Simokaitis (2002-05)
8. 248 - Jed Dalton (1992-95)
9. 247 - Chad Christensen (2010-13)
10. 246 - Darin Petersen (1992-95)
11. 242 - Mark Kister (1985-87)
12. 241 - Ben Miller (2014-17)
13. 240 - Alex Gordon (2003-05)
14. 238 - DJ Belfonte (2007-10)
15. 234 - Todd Sears (1995-97)
16. 231 - Daniel Bruce (2002-05)
17. 229 - Ken Ramos (1987-89)
18. 227 - Jake Opitz (2005-08)
19. 226 - Austin Darby (2012-15)
20. 223 - Curtis Ledbetter (2003-05), Ryan Boldt (2014-16)
22. 222 - John Cole (1999-01)
23. 212 - Pat Kelly (2012-14)
24. 203 - Ken Harvey (1997-99)
25. 201 - Francis Collins (1995-97)

--

-- 180 - Scott Schreiber (2015-present)

  • Schreiber is eight home runs away from joining Nebraska’s top-10 career home runs list. Curtis Ledbetter (34) and Rich King (34) are tied for ninth.
  • Schreiber is 26 RBIs away from his 150th career RBI. He is 39 RBIs away from joining Nebraska’s top-10 career RBIs list. Mark Kister (163), who played from 1985 to 1987, is in 10th.

Hohensee Takes the Mound for Senior Season

  • Senior right-hander Jake Hohensee spent the 2017 season as Nebraska’s Friday night starter, but will take on a new role for the Huskers during his senior campaign. Hohensee will likely come out of the bullpen for the Big Red this weekend in Arizona.
  • Hohensee is seven strikeouts away from his 100th career strikeout.
  • Hohensee earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2017 after going 7-3 with a 4.39 ERA in 14 starts, and tied for the most strikeouts on the team (57). He threw 80.0 innings in 2017 after missing the 2016 campaign due to injury.
  • In 2015, Hohensee made 12 appearances out of the bullpen for 17.1 innings, earning a 1-0 record with a 2.08 ERA.
  • In 2014, Hohensee started three of his 18 appearances and compiled 28.1 innings. He went 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA.

Altavilla Aims to Continue Consistency

  • Junior Angelo Altavilla achieved third-team All-Big Ten status in 2017 after starting 56 of his 57 appearances for the Huskers. The infielder made 45 starts at shortstop, nine starts at third base and two at second base.
  • Altavilla’s .316 batting average last season ranked second on the team. Altavilla ranked in the top four on the team in several other offensive categories, including runs (38), doubles (14), slugging percentage (.406), hits (67) and RBIs (39).
  • In 2016, Altavilla made 14 appearances, including two starts, and managed four hits.
  • Altavilla is 29 hits away from his 100th career hit.

Sophomores Looking for More in 2018

  • After each making the lineup regularly and contributing as true freshmen last season, Mojo Hagge and Luke Roskam each enter their sophomore season for the Huskers in 2018.
  • Hagge started 49 of his 56 appearances last season in the outfield. Hagge batted .277 with 57 hits, 33 runs, 27 RBIs and a team-leading three triples. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on May 22 and also made the Frisco College Baseball Classic All-Tournament Team.
  • Roskam, a Big Ten All-Freshman selection in 2017, started 35 of his 42 appearances last season. Roskam batted .266 with 34 hits, 21 runs, 20 RBIs and four home runs.

Closing Time

  • One of Nebraska’s strengths under Head Coach Darin Erstad has been the bullpen. NU’s closer from the last two seasons, Chad Luensmann, will miss 2018 with an injury, but the Huskers will look to others to step up. Luensmann has 21 career saves, which ranks third in program history.
  • Nebraska has had a pitcher earn 10 or more saves in each of the last four seasons after no Husker pitcher reached the 10-save milestone during the previous seven seasons (2007-13).
  • Nebraska earned 20 saves as a team in 2017, the second-most single-season saves by a Husker team behind the 23 accomplished by the 2005 squad. Nebraska has recorded double-digit saves during all six seasons under Darin Erstad.

Nebraska’s Record with the Lead Since 2012

        » After six innings: 169-17

        » After seven innings: 176-10

        » After eight innings: 187-6

Erstad Among Winningest Coaches in Husker History

  • Head Coach Darin Erstad (211-141-1) is four wins away from passing Dave Van Horn (1998-2002; 214-92-0) for the fourth-most wins by a head coach in program history. Last season, Erstad became the fifth coach in program history to reach 200 wins.

Most Wins by a Head Coach in Nebraska Baseball History

  1. John Sanders: 767 wins (1978-97; 20 seasons)
  2. Tony Sharpe: 399 wins (1947-77; 31 seasons)
  3. Mike Anderson: 337 wins (2003-11; 9 seasons)
  4. Dave Van Horn: 214 wins (1998-2002; 5 seasons)
  5. Darin Erstad: 211 wins (2012-present; 7th season)

Big Red One of Big Ten’s Best

  • Since joining the Big Ten Conference prior to the 2012 season, Nebraska has annually been one of the top teams in the league. The Huskers captured the regular-season crown last season after finishing second during three of its first five years in the Big Ten.
  • Nebraska and Indiana are the only two teams to qualify for the eight-team Big Ten Tournament every season since 2012. Nebraska has finished second at the Big Ten Tournament twice, in 2013 and 2014.

Big Ten Conference Records Since 2012

  1. Indiana: 95-46-1 (.673)
  2. Nebraska: 88-54-1 (.619)
  3. Illinois: 84-58 (.592)
  4. Maryland: 42-30 (.583)
  5. Minnesota: 77-62 (.554)
  6. Michigan: 78-65 (.545)
  7. Iowa: 76-68 (.528)
  8. Michigan State: 73-68 (.518)
  9. Ohio State: 72-72 (.500)
  10. Northwestern: 50-93 (.350)
  11. Purdue: 49-94 (.343)
  12. Penn State: 46-95 (.326)
  13. Rutgers: 23-48 (.324)

Home Sweet Hawks

  • The 2018 campaign marks Nebraska’s 17th year playing home games at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. The Huskers moved to Hawks Field in 2002 after playing at Buck Beltzer Stadium for 23 years from 1979 to 2001.
  • Nebraska holds a 339-121-1 record at Hawks Field. NU has posted a winning record at home in each of the last 16 seasons, and has won 20 or more home games nine times since 2002. This season, the Huskers have 27 home games scheduled, beginning on Thursday, March 8 against Cal Poly.
  • Nebraska has won 60 percent or more of its home games 14 times over the last 16 seasons, including each of the last eight seasons.
  • Since Head Coach Darin Erstad took over in 2012, the Huskers are 110-43 at Hawks Field. He has posted 20-win seasons at home in three of his first six years at Nebraska, including 21-win seasons at home in 2015 and 2016.
  • Nebraska has ranked in the top 30 nationally in average attendance in each of the past 17 years, including three consecutive years in the top 10. Last season, the Huskers welcomed an average of 5,395 fans per home game, which ranked sixth in the nation. NU also ranked sixth nationally in 2016 when a school-record average of 5,423 fans attended home games for the Huskers.

Draft History

  • Four members of the 2018 Husker baseball team have previously been drafted:

        » Luis Alvarado - 2017 (Seattle Mariners, 13th Round) and 2014 (Boston Red Sox, 33rd Round)

        » Chad Luensmann - 2015 (New York Mets, 39th Round)

        » Scott Schreiber - 2017 (Tampa Bay Rays, 26th Round)

        » Jesse Wilkening - 2015 (Arizona Diamondbacks, 28th Round)

NCAA Tournament Qualifiers Highlight 2018 Slate

  • Nebraska has 56 regular-season games scheduled for 2018, including 27 home games at Hawks Field, 21 true road games and eight neutral-site games.
  • Nebraska is scheduled to play five teams who qualified for the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

        » Oregon State: College World Series (2-2)

        » Oral Roberts: Fayetteville Regional (1-2)

        » Iowa: Houston Regional (1-2)

        » Maryland: Winston-Salem Regional (1-2)

        » Indiana: Lexington Regional (1-2)

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