Huskers Open Three-Game Series at MSU on Saturday
Saturday, May 10 – 2:05 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Sinclair (7-1) vs. RHP VanVossen (6-2)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (None)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Sunday, May 11 – 12:05 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: LHP Bummer (5-3) vs. RHP Alleman (5-1)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (None)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Monday, May 12 – 12:05 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: LHP Kubat (3-2) vs. LHP Vieaux (6-3)
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (BTN2Go.com)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
After not playing any midweek games to focus on final exams, the Nebraska baseball team (32-17, 13-5 Big Ten) gets back on the diamond this weekend with a three-game series against the Michigan State Spartans (25-20, 8-10 Big Ten) in East Lansing, Mich.
The series runs Saturday-Sunday-Monday, with the series opener set for 2:05 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, May 10. The second and third games of the series are both scheduled for 12:05 p.m. (CT) starts. Monday’s game will be carried live on BTN.
This weekend will mark the first-ever Big Ten series between the two teams, who have met on just four occasions all-time.
Nebraska enters the weekend tied with Illinois for second place in the conference with a 13-5 record, while the Spartans are in a three-way tie with Iowa and Ohio State for sixth place with a 8-10 record.
The Spartans have played their best baseball at home this season, posting an 11-2 record at McLane Stadium, including a 5-1 Big Ten record. MSU’s only home conference loss came in the series opener against Purdue, when the Boilermakers won 5-3 in 11 innings.
While teams are scheduled to play 12 home and 12 road conference games, MSU will only play nine conference games at home this season, as its three-game series against Ohio State was moved from East Lansing to Columbus due to weather. The Buckeyes won the series, 2-1.
After its series with the Spartans, the Huskers will play their fourth game in four days when they play their final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. against Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park.
Nebraska then returns home for a three-game series against the Illinois Fighting Illini to wrap up the regular season. The Huskers and Fighting Illini opened conference play against each other each of the past two seasons.
Huskers’ Weekend Rotation
A Chance Sinclair is scheduled to make his 13th start of the season on Saturday, and will be in search of his eighth win of the year. The junior is 7-1 with a Big-Ten leading 1.87 ERA.
Sinclair is coming off his 10th start of at least 6.0 innings, following a 6.1-inning outing against Penn State.
Sinclair is the only pitcher in the Big Ten with an ERA under 2.00, as Ohio State’s Tanner Tully ranks second in the league with a 2.02 ERA.
Junior lefty Aaron Bummer is scheduled to start Sunday and is coming off a 7.0-inning outing against Penn State, where he allowed one run on four hits, while striking out six.
His 7.0 innings of work against the Nittany Lions came after starts of 5.1 and 3.2 innings against Michigan and Northwestern, respectively.
Bummer has gone at least 7.0 innings in four of his last six starts, including his first career complete game against Ohio State on April 6.
With Christian DeLeon out of the weekend rotation for the second straight week, Kyle Kubat is scheduled to climb the hill for Nebraska in Monday’s series finale.
The junior lefty is 3-2 on the year with a 5.40 ERA. Kubat has yet to show the consistency that he had during his first two years at Nebraska, when he posted a combined record of 10-1 with a 2.23 ERA.
Kubat is in search of his first 7.0-inning outing of the year, as he has gone 6.0 or more innings only twice in nine starts this 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
Michigan State, Monday - BTN
Web Streams this Week
Michigan State, Saturday - None
Michigan State, Sunday - None
Michigan State, Monday - BTN2Go (Live)
Nebraska-Michigan State History
The Huskers and Spartans have met just four times heading in the weekend, with the series split 2-2.
The Huskers have made a trip to East Lansing once before, as they dropped the final game of the 1937 season, 6-0.
The teams next met for a pair of neutral site games in 1982, with the Huskers taking both contests.
The Huskers and Spartans last met during the opening round of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, when the Spartans held off a late Husker rally to win, 10-9. Michigan State held a 10-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Huskers rallied with seven runs and had the tying run on third base with two outs, but a leaping catch by All-Big Ten second baseman Ryan Jones on a ball off the bat of Pat Kelly ended the Huskers’ comeback.
Over the Past 10 Games for Nebraska
• Nebraska was 7-3, including a 3-1 road record and a 6-3 Big Ten record
• Nebraska’s offense worked 50 walks and was HBP seven times, while striking out 39 times.
• Ben Miller hit .444 (8-for-18) and posted an on-base percentage of .545
• Pat Kelly notched 16 of the Huskers’ 60 RBIs, while hitting three doubles and two home runs
• Blake Headley hit .368 (14-for-38) with three doubles and one homer
• Pat Kelly and Blake Headley each has five multi-hit games
• Michael Pritchard hit .317 (13-for-41) with a team-high five doubles
• Five Huskers had double-digit hits, including Pat Kelly (15), Blake Headley (14), Michael Pritchard (13), Ryan Boldt (12) and Austin Darby (10).
• Nebraska pitchers totaled 60 strikeouts, while walking 34
• Nebraska posted a .299 batting average, while holding opponents to a .247 average
• Closer Josh Roeder threw 4.0 innings of scoreless relief over four appearances and earned three saves
• Nebraska’s pitching staff posted a 2.64 ERA, while opposing pitchers were at a 5.56 ERA
• Nebraska outscored opponents 61-36
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
Huskers Get Hot in April & May
Since the calendar rolled over to the month of April, the Huskers have been one of the hottest teams in the country, posting a 17-5 mark after starting the season 15-12.
Nebraska is 3-0 in the month of May after sweeping Penn State last weekend in Lincoln.
Get out the Brooms
Following a sweep of Penn State last weekend in Lincoln, the Huskers have swept three Big Ten series this season after also taking three games at Minnesota and three games at home from Ohio State.
The sweeps of Ohio State and Minnesota came on consecutive weekends, marking the first time since 2006 that the Huskers had 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.
2006 was also the last time the Huskers swept three conference series in the same season, adding a sweep of Texas Tech to its sweep of Missouri and Texas A&M.
Nebraska last posted four conference sweeps in the same season in 2000, when the Huskers swept four straight Big 12 series against Kansas, Missouri, Texas A&M and Iowa State.
Following series wins over Michigan and Penn State, Nebraska is 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 an end when the Ohio State Buckeyes took 2-for-3 from the Huskers in Lincoln.
Like Your Chances with Sinclair
Junior Chance Sinclair has been a key addition to the Husker pitching staff in 2014 with his 7-1 record and an 1.87 ERA, which ranks 63rd nationally and leads the Big Ten Conference.
A transfer from Neosho County CC, Sinclair has gone 6.0 or more innings in 10 of his 12 starts, including six 7.0-inning outings and a 9.0-inning complete game against Ohio State.
Rely on Roeder
Since blowing a save at Iowa on March 21, junior closer Josh Roeder has converted seven straight save opportunities and enters the weekend ranked 19th in the country with 10 saves on the year.
In seven save chances since the Iowa game, Roeder hasn’t allowed a run over 7.1 innings of work and has struck out 13 batters, while walking none.
On the year, Roeder is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA over 15.2 innings of work. He has struck out 20 and walked four.
Nebraska is 26-1 this year when leading after the eighth inning.
Michael Pritchard has been a hit machine during his career at Nebraska, producing 232 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 17 games entering Friday, Pritchard has raised his average 56 points to .317.
He is hitting .414 during the stretch (29-for-70) with eight multi-hit games, including a career-high 5-for-5 night against Kansas State on April 15.
During the 17-game stretch Pritchard has 10 doubles and has notched 18 of his 39 RBIs on the season.
In 2014, Pritchard has 10 multi-RBI games, two more than the eight 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 the weekend, Kelly has started 122 straight games dating back to his freshman season.
Kelly has started all 49 games this season and was in the starting lineup for all 59 games in 2013. Kelly started 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.
Extending the Season
The Huskers punched their ticket to their third straight Big Ten Tournament on Sunday with their win over Penn State. The Huskers failed to reach the Big 12 Tournament during their final three seasons in the league from 2009-2011.
The last time the Huskers made three-straight trips to the conference tournament was 2006-2007-2008.
Nebraska is also looking to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
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 14 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 the weekend ranked 14th in school history with 236 hits and is two hits shy of tying DJ Belfonte (2007-10) for 12th in school history.
Junior Pat Kelly has a good shot at joining the list before the end of the weekend as well, as he enters NU’s series with Michigan State with 197 career hits. Last season Kelly totaled a team-high 85 hits on the year, and Kelly has 61 hits in 2014 after producing eight hits last weekend against Penn State.
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.
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 23 appearances, all out of the pen, in 2014 and holds a 1.43 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .189 average over 37.2 innings of work. Hirsch also leads the team with 40 strikeouts, while walking 11.
Earlier this season 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 on April 11 that tied the game 6-6. The Huskers still won the game, 8-6.
Since the Minnesota game, Hirsch has allowed two earned runs on six hits over 10.1 innings of relief in six appearances
Hirsch has 15 appearances this season where he has thrown at least an inning of relief and hasn’t given up a run. In nine of those appearances he hasn’t given up a hit.