Huskers Journey to Omaha for 2002 CWS

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln --A season that began four months ago culminates this week, as the Nebraska baseball team returns to Omaha for the 2002 College World Series. The Huskers will take on No. 2 seed Clemson Friday at 6 p.m. central in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN2. All of Nebraska?s games will be carried live on the Pinnacle Sports Network with Jim Rose and Gary Sharp calling the action, and on the internet at

The Huskers (47-19) will be making their second consecutive trip to Omaha for college baseball?s marquee event after topping Richmond in three games last weekend. Nebraska is 5-1 in the NCAA Tournament, sweeping all three games in regional play (UW-Milwaukee, 7-2; Marist, 9-1 and Southwest Missouri State, 14-3) before the Huskers were taken to a decisive third game against Richmond. NU blanked the Spiders, 2-0, in Friday?s opener, before the visitors evened the series with a 6-2 win on Saturday. NU punched its ticket to the CWS with an 11-6 win on Sunday in front of a school-record crowd of 8,569 at Hawks Field.

Clemson, which was ranked No. 1 nationally for much of the season, also was taken to three games in its Super Regional matchup against Arkansas. The Tigers broke a 4-4 tie, belting three homers in the final two innings for a 7-4 win in the series finale.

South Carolina and Georgia Tech begin this season?s CWS earlier Friday with a 1 p.m. matchup at Omaha?s Rosenblatt Stadium. Opening-round action continues on Saturday, as Notre Dame squares off with Stanford (12:30 p.m. on CBS) and Texas takes on Rice (6 p.m. on ESPN2). The double-elimination tournament continues until the title game on Saturday, June 22 which will be carried nationally on CBS.

CWS Practice and Press Conference Schedule
The Huskers are scheduled to practice at Rosenblatt Stadium on Thursday, June 13, from Noon to 12:50 p.m. All practices are open to the public and media. Clemson is scheduled to practice from 11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.

Nebraska Coach Dave Van Horn will meet the media at the Pre-series Press Conference at the Hall of Fame Room in Rosenblatt Stadium from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The Hall of Fame Room is located on the first-base side of the concourse level. Media unable to attend the press conference can listen to the press conference via a live audio feed by dialing (913) 981-5509. The press conference also will be available on a live satellite uplink with coordinates to be announced.

A team autograph session will be held at Rosenblatt from 3 to 5 p.m., before the Opening Ceremonies and Home Run Challenge conclude the day?s activities from 7 to 10 p.m.

College World Series Postgame Procedures
Interviews with Nebraska players and coaches will occur approximately 10 minutes after the conclusion of each game in the Hall of Fame Room at Rosenblatt Stadium. The losing coach and at least two players from the losing team will go first at the press conference, followed by the coach and at least two players from the winning team. All locker rooms will be open to the media after the 10-minute cooling-off period for players and assistant coaches not participating in the formal postgame interview session in the Hall of Fame Room. The locker room will be open for 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 10-minute cooling-off period. A tape-delayed satellite uplink of each press conference also will be provided. Uplink times and satellite coordinates will be listed in the press box.

Leading Off
?- Nebraska Coach Dave Van Horn picked up the 200th victory in his Husker coaching career with a 4-3 win over Cal Poly on May 10. The fifth-year Husker coach has averaged over 40 wins per season at NU, including back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2000 and 2001. The winningest coach in school history with his .704 winning percentage, Van Horn?s career winning percentage of .691 (371-166 in nine seasons) is the highest of any active Big 12 coach and is eighth nationally among college coaches with five or more years of Division I experience (see chart on page 3). With his five years at Texarkana College, Van Horn has a .711 career winning percentage in 14 years as a head coach.

?- While all eight teams have been to Omaha before, Nebraska and Stanford are the only two teams to qualify in both 2001 and 2002. The Huskers and Cardinal also share the distinction of being the only teams in the country to win 50 games in both 2000 and 2001.

?- If there is a turning point to the Huskers? 2002 season, it came against Creighton on April 16, when Joe Simokaitis? RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning broke a 5-5 deadlock in a game that featured a torrential downpour and winds in excess of 50 miles an hour. The win marked the first time since the season opener that NU had won a game on its last at-bat and sent the Huskers on their postseason surge, winning 24 of 30 games since April 16. Prior to the comeback, NU was just 23-13 and had lost all three Big 12 road series.

?- Nebraska?s team fielding percentage of .970 in 2002 is the Huskers? best fielding percentage in seven seasons, when the Huskers set a school record with a .971 fielding percentage. Over the last 29 contests, NU has been fielding at a .977 clip, committing one error or less in 22 contests.

?- Husker hitters have been plunked an amazing 95 times in 66 games, a total which is not only a single-season record, but the 10th-highest total in NCAA history. NU easily topped the previous single-season record of 88 set in 1995, and is within four of the Big 12 record of 99 set by Oklahoma State in 1999, the year of its last CWS appearance. Individually, three Huskers have been hit at least 10 times, including freshman Daniel Bruce, who has already established NU?s single-season record with 26 hit by pitches. Bruce?s season mark ranks ninth in NCAA history and is second only to Texas Tech?s Nick Blankenship, who leads the Big 12 and set a conference record with 28 hit by pitches this season.

?- Jed Morris continues Nebraska?s streak of having at least one player hit 20 or more homers for the fourth consecutive season. The Seabrook, Texas, native leads all catchers nationally with 21 homers and 84 RBIs entering the College World Series. In his last 28 games, the first-team All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year is batting .421 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs, slugging .869 in that stretch.

?- Nebraska is one of five teams nationally, and the only Big 12 team, to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Regional in each of the past three seasons, joining Stanford, Florida State, Southern California and LSU.

?- The Huskers have been ranked in at least one of the national polls for the past 47 weeks, dating back to April of 2000.

?- Nebraska?s 190 wins over the past four seasons are the best four-year stretch in school history, topping the 184 wins from 1979 to 1982. Since 1999, NU?s 188 wins and .728 winning percentage are the best in the Big 12, as Nebraska is the only conference school to win 70 percent of its games in that stretch. The 2002 senior class has made four straight NCAA appearances and posted three straight top-two finishes in Big 12 play, something that has never occurred in school history.

?- One of the keys to the Huskers? success this season has been getting off to fast starts. Nebraska has scored at least one run in the first inning 38 times in 66 contests (58 percent), outscoring its opponents 66-23 in the opening frame. Until Richmond scored in the first on both Saturday and Sunday, only one opponent had tallied a run against NU in the first inning during the previous 26 games dating back to April 19.

?- The Huskers averaged a school-record 4,110 fans per game this season, shattering the previous school record of 2,707 set in 2001. NU led all Super Regional sites with an average of 8,508 fans per game, as tickets sold out in just 26 hours. NU set six straight attendance records, culminating in a school and facility record crowd of 8,569 in Sunday?s Super Regional finale. To put these numbers in perspective, Nebraska had never drawn a crowd in excess of 3,400 before last season, and the crowds of over 8,400 for each game last weekend were more than the entire 1998 season attendance total of 7,167, the first year under Coach Dave Van Horn. Nearly 140,000 fans came out to see the Huskers in Lincoln this season.

Scouting Clemson
Nebraska opens its second consecutive College World Series appearance with a matchup against the Clemson Tigers (52-15) in Friday?s opener. The Tigers are making their 10th trip to Omaha in the program?s history after posting their 17th straight 40-win season in 2002.

Clemson comes into the contest having won five of their last six contests, including sweeping the field at the NCAA Regional at Clemson. The Tigers outscored their opponents 40-4 in the regional, including a 21-1 pasting of East Carolina in the final game. Last weekend, Clemson rallied for a pair of wins after Arkansas edged the Tigers, 9-6, in the Super Regional opener, to reach the CWS.

The Tigers are led by head coach Jack Leggett, who is in his ninth season at Clemson and 23rd as a college head coach. Leggett reached the 800-win plateau earlier this season and now sports an 809-457 career record, including a 432-170 record with the Tigers.

Leggett?s offense is led by shortstop Khalil Greene, who was tabbed the 2002 National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, the ACC Player of the Year and first-team All-American. Greene, who is second in NCAA history with 398 career hits, leads the team with a .480 batting average (129-of-269) and 86 RBIs. He hit his school-record 26th home run of the year on Sunday, and is one of three Tigers with at least 20 home runs this season. First baseman Michael Johnson is second on the squad in hits (96), batting average (.386) and third in doubles (16), home runs (23) and RBIs (76), while third baseman Jeff Baker is second on the team in home runs (25), RBIs (82) and runs scored (68) and is hitting .335 with 16 stolen bases. As a team, the Tigers are hitting .327 with 107 home runs and .538 team slugging percentage. In the field, the Tigers own a .972 fielding percentage with only two players having more than eight errors this season.

On the mound, right-handers Matt Henrie and Steve Reba lead a pitching staff that has combined for a 3.96 ERA and nearly 500 strikeouts this season. Reba tops the team with a 13-3 mark while adding a 4.06 ERA in 106.1 innings with 73 strikeouts. Henrie is second in wins with a 12-4 record and leads the staff with 106.2 innings and 80 strikeouts. Henrie has allowed just 19 extra-base hits this season, including only four home runs and has had only 12 stolen base attempts while on the mound (nine stolen bases). Out of the bullpen, eight relievers have combined for 25 saves with right-hander Paul Harrelson leading the way with eight saves.

Nebraska?s NCAA History
The Huskers are making their seventh NCAA appearance in school history this weekend, dating back to the 1979 season. NU made three trips from 1979 to 1985 before stringing together its current four-year streak under Coach Dave Van Horn. NU has gone 5-1 in the postseason, setting up Nebraska?s second straight trip to Omaha.

Last season,the Huskers capped the most successful season in school history by earning a berth in the College World Series in Omaha. Although the Huskers lost a pair of one-run decisions to Cal State Fullerton (5-4) and Tulane (6-5), NU played before crowds in excess of 22,000 - the largest number of people to ever see a Husker baseball game. The Huskers, who were the No. 8 national seed, played host to an NCAA Regional for the first time, defeating Northern Iowa (16-6) and Rutgers (5-4, 14-10) to advance to a Super Regional for the second time. The Huskers took on Rice, blanking the Owls 7-0 in the opener before rallying for a 9-6 win in 10 innings the following day in front of a then-school record crowd of 5,484 in the final game in Buck Beltzer Stadium history.

In 2000, Nebraska earned the No. 1 seed at the NCAA Regional at Minneapolis and defeated Butler (2-1), Minnesota (4-1) and Wichita State (8-1) to advance to the NCAA Super Regional at Stanford. The Huskers won the opener against the Cardinal, but lost the final two games to finish one win away from the CWS.

In 1999, the Huskers made their first NCAA Regional appearance under Van Horn, traveling to Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Nebraska lost its regional opener to Mississippi State (18-14), before rebounding with a win over Bowling Green (10-5). The Huskers were eliminated by Mississippi State (13-7).

Nebraska made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1979 at the Northeast Regional, where the Huskers lost to St. John?s (5-0) and defeated Navy (13-4) before being eliminated by Connecticut (15-0). In NU?s second NCAA appearance in 1980 at the Midwest Regional, the Huskers defeated BYU (12-0), before losing to Michigan (7-0). Nebraska stayed alive by defeating BYU (12-4), before being eliminated by the Wolverines (12-3).

The Huskers made their only other NCAA appearance at the 1985 West I Regional Tournament, where they defeated Pepperdine (4-2), before losing to Stanford (9-8) and Pepperdine (7-6) to close the tournament.

Probable Rotation
Shane Komine (pronounced Co-ME-nay) will make his 13th start of the season in Friday?s opener. The senior from Honolulu, Hawaii, is a perfect 10-0 with a Big 12-leading 1.87 ERA in 91.1 innings this spring. The Rotary Smith semifinalist leads the Big 12 for the third straight season with 105 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a conference-low .173 average. Despite missing over a month of the season (all in conference play) with tendinitis in his pitching elbow, he was named a second-team All-Big 12 selection by the league coaches and a third-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.51 ERA in his six appearances since returning to action on May 12, allowing just four extra-base hits in 35.2 innings. A two-time first-team All-American and two-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Komine holds school records in wins (41), strikeouts (503), complete games (18) and innings pitched (425.2). A second-team Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American, Komine is one of only six pitchers in NCAA history to win 40 career games and strike out 500 batters. He has a career 6-2 record in nine NCAA appearances, firing four straight complete games in the postseason dating back to the 2001 Super Regional against Rice. His only losses in postseason play have been to No. 1 Stanford in 2000, when he pitched eight days after breaking his jaw, and top-seeded Cal State Fullerton in the opening round of the 2001 College World Series. A ninth-round selection of the Oakland Athletics last week, he hurled a complete-game four-hit shutout against Richmond in the Super Regional opener on June 7, striking out six Spiders in a 2-0 win. Two days later, he came out of the bullpen to throw three innings of relief, earning the win to help the Huskers return to Omaha, and concluding his home career with a perfect 21-0 record.

Freshman Brian Duensing (pronounced DONE-zing) heads into his first CWS with a 6-2 record and a 4.44 ERA in 17 outings, covering 75.0 innings. The left-hander from Millard South High School has gone at least six innings in five of his 11 starts, throwing a career high 7.1 innings on two occasions, most recently against Kansas on April 28. Duensing has a 2.53-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (58K-to-23BB) while holding opponents to a .262 average. Duensing pitched well in the Super Regional but took the loss in NU?s 6-2 setback to Richmond on Saturday. He entered the game in the fourth inning and threw five scoreless innings until the ninth, where he allowed a single and intentionally walked the next two hitters, attempting to set up a force play. The three runs he allowed snapped a streak of 11.2 scoreless innings of relief in his two NCAA appearances. Duensing was NU?s No. 3 starter while Komine was sidelined, but could be used as a starter or out of the bullpen during the College World Series.

Aaron Marsden comes into the College World Series with an 8-1 record and a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts this season. The 6-6, 220-pound southpaw from Grand Forks, N.D., has thrown a team-high 96.1 innings this season. The Big 12?s Newcomer of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection, Marsden is second in the league in ERA, while his eight wins rank sixth in the conference. Marsden has allowed just 25 earned runs, while opponents are hitting just .217 against him. He has a nearly 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has fanned 73 batters this season. After starting the season as a reliever, he thrived after moving into the weekend rotation in mid-March. He allowed a total of 11 earned runs in his first 10 starts before struggling in his last three starts, allowing a season-high six runs against Baylor on May 22 and failing to reach the fifth in his other two starts. He is third in the Big 12 with three complete games, a one-hitter against No. 13 Texas A&M (3/17) and three-hitters against No. 17 Oklahoma (4/6) and against Kansas (4/26). A 34th-round draft choice of the Cleveland Indians last summer, Marsden was 6-3 with a 5.90 ERA in 64.1 innings at Hutchinson CC last spring. At Red River High School as a senior, he was 8-0 with a 1.45 ERA, and was named the USA Today State Player of the Year and the Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year in North Dakota.

Left-hander Jamie Rodrigue (pronounced Rod-REEG) comes into the College World Series with a 7-3 record and a 4.15 ERA in a team-high 16 starts. The St. Clair, Mo., native is second on the team with 93.1 innings of work and has pitched into the sixth in nine of his 16 starts in 2002. Rodrigue is tied with Marsden for the league lead with two shutouts, and tied for third with three complete games. The 6-1, 210-pounder started, but did not factor in Nebraska?s victory over Richmond last Sunday, allowing two runs on two hits in just 1.2 innings of work. Rodrigue holds the school and Big 12 record for career shutouts with six, is tied for fourth in school history with 22 career wins and also ranks on Husker top-10 lists in both starts (46, third) and innings pitched (259.2, sixth).

Scouting the Rest of Huskers? Bracket
Georgia Tech (51-14) will be making only its second College World Series appearance ever, and first since 1994, when it takes on South Carolina in its 2002 CWS opener Friday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets swept Florida Atlantic, 14-3 and 11-5, in the Super Regional, after breezing through their regional tournament, including back-to-back shutouts in the first two games.

The Yellow Jackets have three pitchers with double-figure wins while the staff holds a 4.01 team ERA. Left-hander Kyle Bakker leads the rotation and enters the CWS with a 3.34 ERA and 12-2 record in 18 starts. He has team highs with three complete games, 126.2 innings pitched and 106 strikeouts against just 23 walks. Bakker has given up 17 doubles and 15 home runs this season while holding opponents to a .254 average. Right-hander Jeff Watchko is second on the squad with an 11-1 record and holds a 3.84 ERA. He has made 27 appearances, nine as a starter, and has two saves while combining for three shutouts. Right-hander Brian Burks is 10-6 with three saves and has 77 strikeouts in 97.2 innings. As a team, Georgia Tech has just 11 saves, and has allowed just 45 stolen bases this year.

At the plate, Tech is hitting .326 as a team with third baseman Matthew Boggs hitting .364 to lead the way. Outfielder Jeremy Slayden is hitting .344 and leads Tech in the power categories with 17 home runs and a .623 slugging percentage while adding a team-high 63 RBIs and 72 runs. Second baseman Eric Patterson is hitting .351 and is second on the team with 71 runs scored and a .443 on-base percentage. Patterson also has a team-high 39 stolen bases in 48 attempts, as Tech has stolen 127 bases as a team.

Tech is coached by Danny Hill, who is in his ninth season guiding the Yellow Jackets. He owns a record of 395-170 at Tech, and is 603-287 in his 14th season. Hall has taken Tech to the NCAA postseason tournament seven times in his nine seasons, including the Yellow Jacket?s first CWS appearance in 1994. The 1994 Tech squad had three players who are currently on Major League rosters - Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek and Jay Payton.

Nebraska enters the CWS with an 0-1 all-time record against Georgia Tech, with that loss - a 15-8 affair - coming in the opening weekend of the 2001 season.

South Carolina returns to the College World Series for the first time since 1985 after beating defending national champion Miami, Fla., in the decisive game three of the Super Regional last weekend. USC need to rally late, scoring five runs in the ninth inning to topple the Hurricanes. The Gamecocks are coached by Ray Tanner, who owns a 270-111 record in his sixth year at USC. Tanner has guided USC to three straight Super Regionals and has won two SEC titles.

Tanner has a solid offense at his disposal, as the Gamecocks are hitting .317 as a team with 115 home runs and a .531 team slugging percentage. USC is led by Yaron Peters, who is hitting .398 with a team-high 28 home runs and 98 RBIs. Drew Meyer is second on the squad with a .368 average and 20 doubles, and leads the team in runs with 79 and stolen bases with 37. In all five Gamecocks have at least 15 home runs and six have at least 10 home runs.

On the mound, Gary Bell leads the team in victories (10), innings pitched (104.2) and strikeouts (88) while sporting a 4.90 ERA in 19 appearances. David Marchbanks has a 9-4 record in 18 starts and has 71 strikeouts in 98.1 innings while posting a 4.76 ERA. Blake Taylor is one of the top closers in the country, as he leads the nation with 21 saves over 34 appearances. Taylor also has a 6-1 record, 2.03 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 80.0 innings, while allowing just nine extra-base hits. He has started twice this season, including one complete game. Nebraska and South Carolina have never met on the diamond before.

2002 NCAA Lincoln Super Regional Recap
Sunday (Nebraska 11, Richmond 6) -- Justin Seely capped a five-run eighth-inning rally with a one-out grand slam to power the Huskers to their second consecutive trip to the College World Series with an 11-6 victory over Richmond. Seely?s slam capped a career-high tying four-hit performance and made a winner of Shane Komine, who picked up his second win of the Super Regional in front of a school-record crowd of 8,569. Komine, who threw a complete-game four-hit shutout in a 2-0 win over the Spiders on Friday, scattered three hits and allowed two runs in three innings of relief on Sunday to improve to 10-0 on the season. After Richmond jumped to a 2-0 lead, NU used sacrifice flies by Jed Morris and Jeff Blevins to knot the score at 2-2. NU led 5-2 after a two-run single by Jeff Leise and a sacrifice fly by Daniel Bruce but Richmond would come back, scoring a run in the fourth off Steve Hale, who threw 4.1 innings of solid relief, and tying the score on a two-run homer by Bryan Pritz in the seventh. The Huskers came back in the eighth, as Blevins drew a bases-loaded walk off Richmond closer Andy Givens to give NU a one-run lead before Seely smashed his second career grand slam one batter later.

Saturday (Richmond 6, Nebraska 2) -- Vito Chiaravalloti belted a one-out grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to snap a 2-2 tie to give Richmond a 6-2 win over Nebraska. Chiaravalloti, who went 3-for-5 and drove in five of the Spiders? six runs, smashed a 2-2 pitch from NU reliever Steve Hale over the left field berm, snapping NU?s 10-game home winning streak. The dramatic home run hushed Nebraska?s raucus crowd of 8,481 and made a winner of Spider starter Thomas Martin, who improved to 8-0 on the year by tossing Richmond?s second consecutive complete game in the series. Trailing 2-0, the Huskers, who were held to a season low four hits, rallied to tie the score in the seventh on a single by Josh Birmingham and a two-run homer by Jeff Blevins. Chiaravalloti?s 23rd home run of the season also spoiled a strong outing by freshman Brian Duensing, who held the Spiders in check for five innings in relief of Aaron Marsden. Duensing, who fell to 6-2 on the season, allowed just three hits in five innings, after coming on in the fourth inning, but gave up a lead off single in the ninth before back-to-back intentional walks loaded the bases for Chiaravalloti.

Friday (Nebraska 2, Richmond 0) -- Two-time All-American Shane Komine fired a four-hit complete-game shutout, propelling Nebraska to a 2-0 victory over Richmond. Komine wowed a sellout crowd of 8,474, striking out six Spiders to become only the sixth pitcher in NCAA history to win 40 games and strike out 500 batters in a career. The NU senior out-pitched Richmond All-American Tim Stauffer, as the Huskers used a pair of sacrifice flies in the first and seventh innings for their only runs. Matt Hopper gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring Daniel Bruce with a sacrifice fly to center. Bruce was hit by a pitch and moved to third on Jed Morris? single to center. The Huskers added an unearned insurance run in the seventh, as Morris drove in Joe Simokaitis with a sacrifice fly to center. Stauffer matched Komine, striking out six and allowing one earned run in his 13th complete game of the season.

2002 NCAA Lincoln Regional Recap
Nebraska claimed its third straight regional title, outscoring its opponents 30-6 in three games over the weekend. The Huskers got strong relief performances from Brian Duensing and Steve Hale sandwiched around a complete-game gem from Shane Komine. NU?s dominance was evident on the all-regional team, as seven Huskers were selected, including Komine, who was named the regional?s Most Outstanding Player.

Nebraska 14, SMS 3 - Jeff Leise tied a career high with four hits, including a leadoff home run to start the game, powering a 17-hit attack, as the Huskers raced past Southwest Missouri State, 14-3, to claim the NCAA Lincoln Regional title in front of 6,919 fans Sunday. Along with Leise?s four hits, junior Matt Hopper smashed a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning to break open the game for the Huskers, who scored in each of the final six innings. A half inning before Hopper?s blast, SMS cut the NU lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs off NU reliever Steve Hale. But the Huskers responded with eight unanswered runs in the final four innings. Hale, who improved to 3-2 on the season, pitched five innings, allowing just two runs on four hits after relieving starter Jamie Rodrigue in the fourth. Also pacing the Huskers offensively was shortstop Joe Simokaitis, who tied a career-high with three hits in a 3-for-5 performance at the plate. Simokaitis? RBI double in the fourth inning, which was his first hit since May 15, was the first of a career-high pair of doubles. He also tied a career high with three RBIs. Will Bolt went 2-for-4 on the day with a pair of RBIs and three runs scored.

Nebraska 9, Marist 1 - Shane Komine pitched his second complete game of the year while notching 12 strikeouts to lead Nebraska to a 9-1 win over Marist on Saturday. The two-time All-American was dominant, allowing five singles and taking a shutout into the ninth en route to his first complete game since March 22. While Komine stifled the Marist offense, NU jumped to a 6-0 lead after two innings and cruised to the win. Jed Morris and Matt Hopper did most of the damage, as Morris went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Hopper drove in three runs and scored twice in the win.

Nebraska 7, UW-Milwaukee 2 - Jeff Blevins? three-run homer broke a 2-2 tie, while freshman Brian Duensing turned in his best relief outing of the season, lifting Nebraska to a 7-2 win over UW-Milwaukee in the Huskers? NCAA opener. Blevins, who went 2-for-3, gave the Huskers the lead for good in the fifth with his fifth homer of the season, a three-run shot that gave NU a 5-2 lead. The third baseman?s blast sparked a four-run inning, as John Grose, who went 3-for-4 added a solo homer two batters later. Jed Morris also added a solo homer, while Duensing came in and fired 6.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just three hits in his longest relief outing of the season.

Welcome to Hawks Field at Haymarket Park
The 2002 season marked the debut of the Huskers? new home - Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. The field is named in memory of Myrna Hawks, as the Hawks family was one of the major benefactors in the Haymarket Park project.

In March of 2000, Howard and Myrna Hawks guaranteed the unfunded portion of UNL?s $10.6 million commitment to the baseball/softball complex, which enabled the University to move forward in a joint venture with the City of Lincoln and NEBCO, Inc., the owners of the Lincoln Saltdogs in the Northern League. The University retained the right to name the field and on Feb. 23, 2002, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the name of Hawks Field. It was formally dedicated in pregame ceremonies before the April 28 game against Kansas. The ballpark includes 4,500 chair-back seats, 16 suites, a Diamond View Lounge and a Sub-Air system that allows the field to grow grass nearly year-round. The park is one of only three fields in the country that uses this state-of-the-art heating system (Invesco Field at Mile High and Safeco Field are the others). Other highlights of the complex include a 1,400-square feet clubhouse for the Husker baseball program, a video board/scoreboard in right center field, the Buck Beltzer Playgound for kids down the right field line and numerous restrooms and concession stands.

Hawks Field, as well as the adjacent Bowlin Stadium - the new 2,500-seat softball stadium which opened last fall - are both located inside Haymarket Park, a 32-acre complex that includes both stadiums as well as the plaza area and 2,000 parking stalls. The 2002 season marked the first time since World War II that the Huskers did not play at the former sight of Buck Beltzer Stadium on the UNL campus.

Home Sweet Home
Although Nebraska has moved into a new home this spring, the winning tradition carried over from Buck Beltzer Stadium. The Huskers are 29-5 at Hawks Field, including a 9-4 mark against ranked foes. NU had winning streaks of 15 games - the highest total since winning 24 straight in 1988 - and 10 games during the season, while the 29 home wins tied the school record set in 1980 (29-1) and 1988 (29-5). Husker pitchers have found the plush Hawks Field surroundings to their liking. NU pitchers have compiled a 2.41 ERA, holding opposing hitters to a .225 average. Nebraska has held 26 of its 34 opponents to four runs or less, including consecutive shutouts of No. 13 Texas A&M in mid-March. The Husker offense has also flourished, as NU has hit .331 and averaged 8.2 runs per game.

Hopper to Miss CWS Because of Injury
One Husker who will be forced to miss the College World Series is first baseman Matt Hopper. The Golden, Colo., native tore ligaments in his left thumb colliding with Richmond?s Bobby LeNoir in the fourth inning of Saturday?s 6-2 loss to the Spiders. Hopper, who had also been playing with torn ligaments and cartilage damage in his right shoulder since early April, underwent surgery for the thumb on Monday afternoon and will have surgery on his shoulder later this summer.

A first-team All-American last season, Hopper was batting .309 with nine homers and 49 RBIs in 2002, his first full season at first base. The 6-4, 220-pounder has committed three errors in 549 chances for a team-best .995 fielding percentage and had a pair of streaks of 175 chances without an error.

He finished the season in fourth place on NU?s career hit list with 249 and needs one hit to become the fourth Husker to record 250 hits. A career .340 hitter, he is tied for third place on NU?s career homers chart with 42 and is second in school history with 205 RBIs, four RBIs shy of Paul Meyers? school record of 209 set from 1984 to 1986.

With Hopper on the shelf, the Huskers will likely platoon junior Josh Birmingham and senior Brandon Eymann at first base, depending on the opposing pitching matchup.

Hopper is one of three Huskers from last season?s 25-man CWS roster who will not be available in the CWS, joining left-handed pitcher Justin Pekarek, who had elbow surgery in early February, and right-handed pitcher Dustin Timm, who has not pitched since April 3 because of a sore shoulder.

Leise and Komine Garner Academic Accolades
The honors continued to roll for Nebraska, as Jeff Leise and Shane Komine were selected as Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America on June 4. It marked the second straight season that two Husker baseball players have earned this honor, as the duo became the 10th and 11th baseball honorees in school history.

Leise earned first-team academic All-America honors in 2002 after earning second-team accolades last spring. A junior from Omaha, Leise is a two-year starter who carries a 3.85 GPA in psychology. On the field, Leise earned first-team All-Big 12 honors after batting .378 with 12 homers, 51 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. In addition to his first-team selection, Leise was also chosen as the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year in baseball, the top honor for the 34-member team. He is the first Husker baseball player to earn that honor, while other Husker athletes who have earned this award in their respective sports have included Rob Zatechka (1994, football), Karen Jennings (1992-1993, women?s basketball), Virginia Stahr (1988-89), Lori Sippel (1988, softball), Janet Kruse (1990-1991, volleyball), Nancy Metcalf (2001, volleyball) and Joy Taylor (1996, women?s gymnastics).

Komine was honored as a second-team academic All-American after carrying a 3.21 grade-point average in sociology. A two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 honoree, Komine enters the College World Series with a 10-0 record and a 1.87 ERA, while striking out a 108 batters in 91.1 innings.

Nebraska has had six academic All-Americans in the past five seasons under Head Coach Dave Van Horn, a total that doubled the Huskers? entire total before to his arrival in 1998.

Four Huskers Tabbed MLB First-Year Player Draft
Four Nebraska players were selected during the 2002 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft last Tuesday and Wednesday. It marks the third straight season that at least three Huskers were taken in the MLB Draft and increases the total number of draftees and free agent signees to 24 over the last five season. Of the four selections, none were selected out of high school, while only Komine, who was picked in the 19th round by St. Louis last season, had been previously drafted.

NU was led by junior center fielder Jeff Leise, who was taken in the seventh round (No. 204 overall) by the Anaheim Angels. A first-team All-Big 12 selection, Leise enters the College World Series with a .378 batting average with 12 homers, 51 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.

Shane Komine became NU?s second top-10 round selection two rounds later, when he was chosen by the Oakland Athletics with the 278th pick. A two-time All-American, the Honolulu, Hawaii, native was drafted in the 19th round last season, but elected to return for his senior season. He has a perfect 10-0 record and a 1.87 ERA this season, while striking out a Big 12-high 108 batters in 92.1 innings. A two-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Komine holds school records for career wins (41) and strikeouts (503).

Waylon Byers was NU?s third first-day selection when he was chosen by the Florida Marlins in the 21st round (No. 623 overall). The left-hander from Milo, Iowa, is 1-5 with a 3.25 ERA, but has walked just four batters in 27.2 innings, covering 20 appearances. Byers is tied for the team lead with three saves and has been NU?s top left-hander out of the bullpen in each of the past two seasons.

Jed Morris was the Huskers? final selection, as he was chosen by the Oakland Athletics in the 36th round, No. 1,088 overall. A first-team All-American, Morris was the Big 12 Player of the Year after batting .380 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs.

Three Huskers Earn First-Team All-Big 12 Honors
May 27th was a banner day for the NU baseball program. Not only did the Huskers find out that they would host a regional for the second straight season, but six players were selected to the All-Big 12 team. Three Huskers - Jeff Leise, Aaron Marsden and Jed Morris - were tabbed as first-team selections, marking the third straight season that NU had placed three players on the first team. In addition, Shane Komine was a second-team honoree, while infielders Will Bolt and Jeff Blevins were honorable-mention selections.

Morris Tabbed Big 12 Player of the Year
Few players in college baseball can equal the tear that junior All-American catcher Jed Morris has been on the past two months. After earning second-team All-Big 12 honors in his first season at Nebraska, Morris has put together one of the most prolific seasons in school history in 2002 en route to earning Big 12 Player-of-the-Year honors from the league coaches.

The Seabook, Texas, native is hitting .380 while leading the Big 12 in five offensive categories, including home runs (21), RBIs (84), doubles (26), slugging percentage (.726) and total bases (191). Morris also ranks in the top three in hits and runs scored in the latest Big 12 stats released on June 10. A first-team selection by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball Weekly and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America, he became the first catcher in school history to earn All-America honors and the 14th player in school history to earn first-team All-America accolades.

Anaheim Angel All-Star Darin Erstad and Morris are the only two Huskers to ever be selected as the conference?s player of the year (Shane Komine was selected as the Big 12?s Pitcher of the Year in both 2000 and 2001). The 6-0, 195-pounder has set or tied school records for most extra-base hits (48), doubles (26) and sacrifice flies (12), while ranking in the top 10 in five other categories. His 12 sacrifice flies not only is a school record, but it is the fourth-highest single-season total in NCAA history and the most by any collegiate player in sixth seasons. Earlier this season, he became the first Husker to have 20 homers and 20 doubles in the same season when he belted his 20th homer of the season against Louisiana Tech on May 17.

In conference play, Morris batted .378, while leading all conference players in homers (10), total bases (81) and slugging percentage (.730). He also ranked in the top 10 in hits (42, second), runs scored (29, second), doubles (9, third) and RBIs (29, sixth). A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Morris leads all catchers nationally in both homers and RBIs and has 30 multiple-hit games this season. Last month against Cal Poly, Morris single-handedly carried the Huskers to a sweep, batting .600 with four homers and 10 RBIs in the three contests to earn Big 12 and national player-of-the-week honors from Baseball Weekly and Collegiate Baseball.

Over the last 42 games, Morris is batting .405 with 17 homers and 61 RBIs, while slugging .810 in that span. He has four multi-homer games this season (at Kansas State, 3/30; at Oklahoma State, 4/20; Kansas, 4/28; and Cal Poly, 5/12). Defensively, he has thrown out nearly 25 percent of would-be base runners (3-of-13) and has two pickoffs, as Nebraska has allowed a Big 12-low 28 stolen bases in 66 contests. The Huskers also rank second in the Big 12 with a team ERA of 3.46.

Leise Is the Center of Attention
The Husker offense features one of the nation?s top leadoff hitters in junior center fielder Jeff Leise. An All-America candidate and first-team All-Big 12 honoree, Leise, who was drafted by the Angels in the seventh round of the First-Year Player Draft, has enjoyed a stellar 2002 campaign, batting .378 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs.

The Omaha Creighton Prep product tops the Huskers in five categories, including hits (107), triples (eight), stolen bases (25), walks (23) and at-bats (283) and ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12 in eight categories. He has a team-high 36 multi-hit games in his 65 starts, including three four-hit games, including one in the regional title game against Southwest Missouri State on June 2, and has reached safely in 62-of-65 contests in 2002. His 36 multi-hit games is the most since Francis Collins had 37 in 1997, a season where he set NU?s single-season hits record with 109 hits.

Leise was also tabbed by Baseball America as the Big 12?s Best Defensive Outfielder in a vote of the league coaches. He committed a pair of errors during the opening weekend, but has committed one error during the last 62 contests since Feb. 24. He is a proven postseason player, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in the 2001 Lincoln Regional, batting .538 with two homers and eight RBIs during the three-game regional last spring. On June 4, Leise, who carries a 3.85 GPA in psychology, was not only selected as a first-team Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American, but was tabbed as the Academic All-American of the Year in college baseball.

Bolt is Huskers? Iron Man
May was a record-setting month for Husker infielder Will Bolt. The senior from Conroe, Texas, set or tied seven career school records over the past month, establishing marks for games played (249) and started (240), hits (278), doubles (55), assists (633) and at-bats (912). His 633 assists also is a Big 12 record, breaking the mark of 540 by Texas? Tommy Nicholson (1998-2000). The record for any player in conference history is held by Robert Harris, who had 634 assists playing for Texas A&M from 1992 to 1995.

A two-year captain and one of the mainstays of Coach Van Horn?s first recruiting class, Bolt has played in 249 of Nebraska?s 260 games over the past four seasons, including 106-of-108 Big 12 contests. Bolt shook off a bumpy start to become one of NU?s most consistent hitters in recent weeks. After a 3-for-23 start, he has hit .376 over the last 43 games, lifting his average above the .300 mark for the first time all season in the regular-season finale and enters the CWS with a .320 batting average. He has safely reached base in 38 of his last 41 games and has 19 multi-hit games in that stretch.

Bolt saw his career-long 18-game hitting streak come to an end in Saturday?s loss to Richmond, as he batted .423 with nine doubles and 15 RBIs in that stretch. In the regular-season finale against Louisiana Tech on May 19, Bolt became NU?s all-time hits leader, passing former NU All-American Darin Erstad (261, 1993-95) with a fifth-inning single. In the Big 12 Tournament, he went 8-for-16 with five RBIs, while playing flawless defense to earn a spot on the Big 12 All-Tournament team. He earned his second tournament honor in as many weeks during the regional, batting .455 with five runs scored in three games. One of the best infielders in college baseball, Bolt, who also plays shortstop, was tabbed the best defensive second baseman in the Big 12 by Baseball America in its 2001 and 2002 preseason issues.

Grose Catches Fire
The Huskers are blessed to have one of the nation?s top catching duos in junior All-American Jed Morris and sophomore John Grose. Both players are hitting over .380, while opponents have stolen a league-low 27 bases in 66 contests. Grose has been on a similar tear over the past two months, hitting .407 (44-for-108) with four homers, 14 doubles and 36 RBIs over his last 32 contests lifting his average to .388. The Henderson, Nev., native earned all-tournament honors at the Big 12 Tournament in Arlington, where he batted .500 with seven RBIs, and was selected to the all-regional team after hitting .455 with a homer and four RBIs. Grose, who was hitting .231 with one RBI in his first 11 appearances, has 14 multi-hit games, as NU has won 27 of its last 32 games with Grose in the lineup, either behind the plate or at DH.

Bruce is High Impact
One of the pleasant surprises for the Huskers has been the development of outfielder Daniel Bruce. One of the Big 12?s top freshmen, the Omaha, Neb., native is batting .298 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 57 contests, while also ranking fourth in doubles (16) and runs scored (51) and fifth in on-base percentage (.417). One of the major reasons for Bruce?s high on-base percentage is that he has been hit a school-record 26 times breaking Corey Miller?s school record set in 1996 - his only season at NU. In fact, Bruce?s 26 hit by pitches rank second on NU?s career list, eight behind Dave Crain?s school record of 34 set in 1994 and 1995. An honorable-mention freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Bruce?s first season totals compare favorably with other true freshmen in the Dave Van Horn era.

Improved Pitching Fuels Husker Success
While the Huskers rode the bats of one of the nation?s most prolific offensive attacks to a Big 12 title and a CWS appearance in 2001, Nebraska?s pitchers have been the strength for the Huskers this spring.

Despite losing three pitchers who are in the minor leagues, including All-Big 12 closer Thom Ott and starters R.D. Spiehs and Brian Rodaway, NU has made dramatic improvement in almost every major category. NU hurlers have held opponents to two runs or less in 25 games, including four shutouts. NU is ranked second in the Big 12 with a 3.46 ERA, a drop of nearly a run per game from last season, while holding opponents to a .247 average.

The Huskers have shown greater depth in 2002, as 11 different pitchers have at least one win, while nine have made at least one start this season. The totals are more impressive since Shane Komine, a two-time All-American and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, missed over a month because of an injury, while projected starter Justin Pekarek was forced to take a medical redshirt after season-ending surgery in February. While no player has more than three saves, six different relievers have at least one save.

Individually, Komine (10-0, 1.87 ERA) and Aaron Marsden (8-1, 2.34 ERA) enter the CWS ranked first and second, respectively, in the Big 12 in ERA. Komine leads the Big 12 with 108 strikeouts and is holding hitters to a conference-low .173 average, while Marsden is tied for the Big 12 lead with two shutouts and opponents are hitting .217 against the left-hander, good for second in the league. Jamie Rodrigue ties Marsden for the Big 12 lead with two shutouts and is tied for second in the Big 12 with three complete games.

The success is nothing new to NU pitching coach Rob Childress, who has tutored 11 players who have been drafted or signed professional contracts over the past five seasons. In 2000, the Huskers led the nation with a 3.14 ERA, the first time Nebraska led the nation in any team category, on its way to a school-record 51 wins.

Special ?K? Returns for Stretch Run
Nebraska features one of the premier pitchers in all of college baseball in right-hander Shane Komine (pronounced co-ME-nay). The 5-10, 175-pounder was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 19th round in the 2001 MLB Draft, but elected to return for his senior season, giving the Huskers one of the best pitchers in Big 12 and NCAA history.

The only two-time first-team All-American in school history, the Honolulu, Hawaii, native enters the CWS with a career record of 41-8 with a 2.75 ERA. He missed all of the fall after undergoing offseason arthroscopic shoulder surgery, but has been dominant in 2002, going 10-0 with a 1.87 ERA. In 91.1 innings, Komine has displayed his pinpoint control, striking out 108 and walking only 22, and has allowed just 56 hits for a Big 12-best .173 average.

The right-hander, who was selected as one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Smith Award, honoring the top player in collegiate baseball on May 23, was chosen as a third-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America on June 11. A ninth-round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics, Komine also excels in the classroom, as he is a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 honoree and was chosen as a second-team Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American on June 2.

Komine missed four starts, but returned to action on May 11 against Cal Poly, his first action since April 5. He is 5-0 with a 1.51 ERA since his return, as he did not allow an earned run for 14.2 innings before the streak was snapped against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament. Against Marist, he fired his first complete game since March 22, striking out 12 Marist hitters for his third double-figure strikeout performance and first since March 15. Last weekend, he carried NU back to Omaha, going 2-0 in 12 innings of work. On Friday, he fired his second-straight complete game, striking out six Spiders in a 2-0 win over Richmond. Two days later, he came out of the bullpen and threw three innings of relief in NU?s 11-6 win. He enters the CWS with a string of four straight complete games in NCAA competition,

Against McNeese State, Komine was nearly perfect, allowing only one hit, a third-inning double, in eight innings, as he threw just 94 pitches in a 9-4 Husker win. Komine, who retired the last 15 batters he faced, was chosen as Collegiate Baseball?s National Player of the Week and also earned Big 12 Pitcher-of-the-Week honors. Komine went eight innings against Fresno State on Feb. 28, allowing one unearned run on three hits while striking out eight in NU?s 7-1 triumph. At No. 14 Baylor, Komine went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits in NU?s 15-4 win over the Bears. In a 6-4 win over No. 13 Texas A&M, Komine held the Aggies to one unearned run on three hits in eight innings of work. Against No. 22 Texas Tech, Komine threw a complete-game five hitter, striking out nine Red Raiders to earn Big 12 Pitcher-of-the-Week honors for the second time in 2002.

Komine holds school career records for wins (41), strikeouts (503), complete games (18), starts (58) and innings pitched (425.2) and owns the top two single-season strikeout marks in school annals with 159 in 2000 and 157 last season. He has 503 career punchouts, including 21 games in which he has struck out 10 or more hitters, and broke the all-time conference record (Big Eight/Big 12/SWC) mark of 501 held by Texas? Greg Swindell (1984-86). This season, he struck out a season-high 14 at McNeese State on Feb. 22 and against Texas A&M on March 15.

In 2001, Komine compiled a 14-2 record and a 3.35 ERA in a school-record 131.1 innings. A two-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Komine led the conference in wins (14), strikeouts (157) and complete games (seven) and won a school-record 14 straight games before his loss to top-seeded Cal State Fullerton in the College World Series.

In 2000, he set single-season school records in strikeouts (159) while holding opposing hitters to a Big 12-low .200 average. In 17 starts, he allowed just 31 walks for an amazing 5.1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Komine shattered two-time All-American Troy Brohawn's school record of 123 strikeouts in 1993.

Komine Becomes Sixth 40-500 Member

Last Friday, two-time All-American Shane Komine joined one of the most exclusive lists in all of college baseball, as he became the 16th player in NCAA history to win 40 games and strike out 400 batters in a career. While he became the fourth pitcher in the last two season to reach the elusive plateau, the Honolulu, Hawaii, native became the first player in eight years to notch 40 wins and strike out 500 or more hitters, reaching both milestones in the win over the Spiders. The most recent member of the list is Auburn?s John Powell, who won 43 games and struck out an NCAA record 604 hitters from 1990 to 1994. The following is the list of all the players who have had 40 career wins and 400 strikeouts.

?Marsden Attacks? Opponent Bats
After auditioning three pitchers in the No. 3 spot in the rotation, pitching coach Rob Childress turned to sophomore Aaron Marsden against No. 13 Texas A&M on March 17. Marsden pitched well in 5.2 innings of relief in a loss to Baylor on March 10, prompting an opportunity for a starting spot. The move turned out to be brilliant, as the 6-6 southpaw was voted the league?s top newcomer this spring. The Grand Forks, N.D., native is 8-1 and is second in the conference in ERA (2.34) and complete games (three), while holding opponents to a .217 average. On May 27, he was selected as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a first-team All-Big 12 selection.

In his first Division I start, he fired a complete-game one-hitter against Texas A&M, striking out nine in eight innings to earn Big 12 and National Pitcher-of-the-Week honors. He earned his second Big 12 honor on April 29 when he was selected as co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Week.

Since moving into the rotation on March 17, he is 8-1 with a 2.33 ERA, allowing 23 earned runs in 89 innings of work. He has pitched into the sixth in 11 of his starts and has held opponents to three runs or less in 17 of his 18 appearances. In NU?s first four series finales, Husker starters combined to throw a total of nine innings, highlighted by freshman Phil Shirek?s five-inning outing vs. Southern Miss on Feb. 24, and compiled a 13.00 ERA.

A 34th-round draft choice of the Cleveland Indians in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Marsden has been equally impressive in the classroom, posting a perfect 4.0 GPA during the fall semester and missing a 4.0 by one A- grade during the spring semester.

Husker Hurlers Reap National Honors
Aaron Marsden became the third Husker pitcher this season to earn national honors when he was tabbed Co-National Pitcher of the Week by Collegiate Baseball on March 18. On March 4, Jamie Rodrigue was chosen as the Big 12?s Pitcher of the Week and Collegiate Baseball?s Co-National Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game one-hitter against Fresno State. The only hit the St. Clair, Mo., product allowed was a third-inning infield single. It was the first national honor and second Big 12 honor for Rodrigue, who set NU?s career shutout record with his win over the Bulldogs. One week earlier, two-time All-American Shane Komine was tabbed after throwing eight innings of one-hit ball against McNeese State. In that contest, Komine struck out 14, his highest strikeout total since his sophomore campaign. It marked the third time Komine was chosen as Collegiate Baseball?s National Pitcher of the Week during his illustrious career.

Huskers Take On Daunting Schedule
Nebraska was tested during the regular season, playing 23 games against ranked teams, including six games against the top-eight national seeds in the 2002 Tournament. NU split four meetings against Texas and lost once to both Rice and Wake Forest, both by one run, during the first week of the season. NU has gone 15-11 against teams nationally ranked at game time this season and went 11-9 against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament during the regular season.

In all, five of the 10 Big 12 teams that sponsor baseball qualified for the NCAA Tournament, tying Conference USA for the second-highest total in the field. Only the SEC, which placed eight teams, had more qualifiers than the Big 12 and C-USA. With Texas and Nebraska both qualifying, the Big 12 placed a quarter of the field for the 2002 CWS.

Huskers Look to End Omaha?s Big 12 Hex
Nebraska and Texas both have the opportunity to snap the Big 12?s Omaha jinx this week. Since the league?s formation in 1997, conference schools are a combined 0-8 as four different teams (Oklahoma State and Texas A&M in 1999, Texas in 2000 and Nebraska in 2001) have returned winless in Omaha. In fact, conference schools are a combined 0-12 since Oklahoma?s 13-5 win over Georgia Tech in the title game of the 1994 CWS.

Making Sacrificies in 2002
Under Dave Van Horn, NU has been efficient on offense, leading the Big 12 in both sacrifice flies (44) and sacrifice hits (48), while topping the league with a .314 league average. Over the past 10 games, NU has been adept at moving runners, recording 15 sacrifice flies and 12 sacrifice bunts. Thirteen different players have at least one sacrifice bunt, including a team-high eight by shortstop Joe Simokaitis. Jed Morris already holds NU?s single-season record with 12 sacrifice flies, breaking the previous school record of eight set by three players, most recently Bill Vosik in 1990, while 10 players have at least one sacrifice fly. Morris? total already ranks fourth on the NCAA single-season list.

Seven Huskers Honored For Class Work
Seven Husker baseball players were honored for their work in the classroom on May 15, as the Big 12 Conference released its academic All-Big 12 team. The seven honorees is second only to Oklahoma State?s eight selections, as a total of 50 players were tabbed for academic honors. NU has 25 academic All-Big 12 honorees, including 20 first-team choices over the past five seasons.

The list is highlighted by a trio of repeat first-team selections; pitchers Shane Komine and Jamie Rodrigue and outfielder Jeff Leise. Four other Huskers, pitchers Jeff Blaesing and Steve Hale, infielder Will Bolt and outfielder Drew Anderson were chosen to the second team.

Back Home in Omaha
Nearly a quarter of Nebraska?s 25-man College World Series roster is from the metro Omaha area. The list includes three likely everyday starters, center fielder Jeff Leise (Omaha/Creighton Prep), outfielder Daniel Bruce (Omaha/Millard West) and first baseman Brandon Eymann (Papillion/Papillion-LaVista), along with pitchers Jason Burch (Papillion/Papillion-LaVista), Brian Duensing (Omaha/Millaed South) and Mike Sillman (Omaha/Millard South). In addition, volunteer assistant coach Kevin Koch and student assistant coach Josh Hesse are also Omaha natives who both attended Millard North High School.

Huskers Draw Overflow Crowd in Omaha
Nebraska fans turned out in droves to watch the Huskers take on in-state rival Creighton at Rosenblatt Stadium on May 15. Although the game was technically a home game for the Bluejays, the ?Sea of Red? was evident, as nearly 19,000 fans came out to watch the decisive meeting between the two teams. The crowd of 18,758 was the second-largest crowd in college baseball this season, trailing only the NCAA record of 27,673 between LSU and Tulane at the Louisiana Superdome on April 10.

Seating was originally limited to just 16,600 because the new outfield bleachers were being installed, but ticket demand for the contest, which was also televised state-wide, forced the city to open an additional 2,500 seats in the outfield. The high turnout was expected, as the annual game at Rosenblatt drew the biggest regular-season crowds in each of the past two seasons. The following are the largest regular-season crowds in NCAA history.


Teams (score)




LSU vs. Tulane


Louisiana Superdome


TCU vs. Texas


The Ballpark in Arlington


Nebraska vs. Creighton


Rosenblatt Stadium


Hawaii vs. UNLV


Aloha Stadium


Texas vs. TCU


The Ballpark in Arlington


Nebraska vs. Creighton


Rosenblatt Stadium

Tools of the Trade
In a poll of the Big 12 Conference coaches for the college preseason issue of Baseball America, four Huskers were recognized as the best in the conference in their respective categories. Junior right-hander Shane Komine was tabbed as having the best breaking ball and the best control among Big 12 hurlers, while Matt Hopper was picked as the player with the most raw power. Two other Huskers, second baseman Will Bolt and center fielder Jeff Leise, were selected as the best defensive players at their respective positions. Baseball America also listed the top 50 players by class and a pair of Huskers qualified for the lists. Komine was listed as the nation?s No. 2 senior, while shortstop Joe Simokaitis was tabbed as the 47th-best freshman in the country.

Draft Dodgers
The 2002 Huskers boast eight players who have been previously selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. The list is led by junior infielder Marcellus Dawson and sophomore catcher John Grose, who have both been selected on two occasions. Five of the eight Huskers were selected last spring, including returning Husker All-Americans Shane Komine (19th, St. Louis) and Matt Hopper (33rd, San Francisco) who both returned to school for this season. The following is a list of the drafted Huskers.






Marcellus Dawson


San Diego



Marcellus Dawson




Fr. - JC

John Grose





John Grose




Fr. - JC

Matt Hopper


San Francisco



Shane Komine


St. Louis



Curtis Ledbetter





Aaron Marsden




Fr. - JC

Adam Riddle




So. - JC

Dustin Timm


Kansas City



Husker Baseball Network



KBRB - 1400 AM


KCOW - 1400 AM


KWBE - 1450 AM


KCNI - 1280 AM

Broken Bow

KHUB - 1340 AM


KUVR - 1430 AM


KGFW - 1340 AM


KRVN - 880 AM


KLIN - 1400 AM


KNEN - 94.7 FM


KODY - 1240 AM

North Platte

KFAB - 1110 AM


KNEB - 960 AM


KSID - 1340 AM


KVSH - 940 AM


KTIC - 840 AM

West Point

KAWL - 1370 AM


Husker Baseball on the Pinnacle Sports Network
The University of Nebraska and Pinnacle Sports Productions have announced that a minimum of 45 regular-season Husker baseball games will be broadcast this season, beginning with the March 5 contest against Nebraska-Kearney. As of Jan. 24, a minimum of 17 stations will comprise the Husker Baseball Radio Network, including flagship stations KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln and KFAB 1110 AM in Omaha. The 2002 Pinnacle Sports Broadcast team includes KFAB Sports Director Jim Rose and KLIN Sports Director Gary Sharp. Each broadcast begins 15 minutes before first pitch with the Dave Van Horn pregame show. The games can also be heard live on the Internet by accessing Nebraska?s home page at


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