The Huskers hold their home opener on Tuesday against Kansas State
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Host K-State in Home Opener

By NU Athletic Communications

Tuesday, March 6 - 2:05 p.m. (CT): So. Jon Keller (RHP) vs. Kansas State - So. Shane Conlon (LHP)
Wednesday, March 7 - 1:35 p.m. (CT): Sr. Dexter Spitsnogle (RHP) vs. Nebraska-Kearney - TBA

This Week: The Nebraska baseball team (6-4, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts its 2012 home opener at 2:05 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon against Kansas State at Hawks Field. It will be the first of 17 straight home games for the Huskers, as they will cap the homestand with a return trip by the Wildcats on Tuesday, March 27.

Nebraska-Kearney makes the short trip to Lincoln for a 1:35 p.m. game on Wednesday, March 7, before 2011 College World Series qualifier California comes to Hawks Field for a four-game series starting on Friday, March 9.

Tickets: Season and single-game tickets can be purchased at, by calling 1-800-8BIGRED or by visiting the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office across the street from Memorial Stadium. The Huskers are also offering a nine-game ticket deal this season. Named the "Diamond-Deal" fans can pick any nine of the Huskers' 31 home games and have the same seat for all nine games.

Television: There will be no TV this week, but every game will be carried on HuskersNside (subscription needed).

On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe, Lane Grindle and Jeff Culhane call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln - and on the Internet at or the Official Husker App. A complete list of HSN affiliates can be found on page 7.

Preview: After winning 2-of-3 this weekend at the Dairy Queen Classic, the Nebraska baseball team is set to play its first game at Hawks Field in 2012. The Huskers started the season with 10 straight games on the road and now host a 17-game homestand starting on Tuesday against Kansas State.

The Huskers send sophomore Jon Keller to the mound to face the Wildcats, as the righty will be making his second start in four days after starting on Saturday against New Mexico State. It was a short outing for Keller, as he went just 1.1 innings. K-State will counter with sophomore lefty Shane Conlon, who is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and will be making his first start of the season.

Nebraska will send senior Dexter Spitsnogle to the mound on Wednesday, while UNK's starter is yet to be announced.

Scouting Kansas State
The Wildcats are 5-5 on the year and are coming off a their home opening series against Pacific, where they won 2-of-3. The Huskers and Wildcats played four games last season, including one non-conference game in Manhattan and a three-game conference series in Lincoln. The two teams split the season series, 2-2, while the all-time series sit in Nebraska's favor at 163-105.

Sophomore outfielder Jared King leads the Wildcat attack with a .476 batting average (20-for-42), with six doubles, one triple and one home run. King has struck out just four times in 42 plate appearances and is a perfect 4-for-4 in steals.

Wade Hinkle is the only other Wildcat with a batting average above .300 at .395 (15-for-38) and leads the team with 11 RBI's. Overall, seven Wildcats are hitting .250 or better.

The Wildcats have been dangerous on the basepaths with 16 steals in 18 attempts, an average of 1.6 steals per game.

Kansas State's pitching staff has given up 11 home runs on the year and opposing hitters are batting .296 against the staff.

Series History: The Huskers and Wildcats have previously  met 268 times, with the Huskers holding a 163-105 advantage in the all-time series.

Scouting Nebraska-Kearney
The Lopers had their first two games of the season against Metro State cancelled due to weather in Denver, but have since posted a 5-6 record. UNK has already started conference play in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and recently swept a four-game series against Colorado Christian by a combined score of 58-19.

Five Lopers are hitting .300 or better on year, including Eric Ringblom and Tommy Barnes, who are each hitting .457 to led the team. Ringblom and Barnes also share the team lead in home runs with Erik Montes, as all three have hit two homers each.

Alex Miller is the only Loper with multiple steals on the year, as he is 5-for-5, while the rest of the team is a combined 2-for-4.

UNK's pitching staff has a team ERA of 5.23 and opposing batters are hitting .315. Adam Peters, who was at Nebraska during the fall of 2011, is the ace of the staff with a 2-0 record and a 2.92 ERA. Over 12.1 innings of work, Peters has given up four runs on 17 hits, while striking out 10.

Series History: The Huskers hold a 46-1 advantage over the Lopers. UNK's lone win came by the score of 1-0 on April 19, 1976.

Home Sweet Hawks
The Nebraska baseball program is celebrating its 11th year at Hawks Field in 2012. The Huskers are 229-78-1 (.745) since opening the park on March 5, 2002 with a 23-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.

Nebraska will play 31 games at Hawks Field in 2012, including a 17-game homestand that start on Tuesday against Kansas State.

Off to a Good Start
The Huskers have won their last 33 home openers dating back to the 1979 season. Nebraska is 10-0 all-time in home openers at Hawks Field.

Walk-Off Winner
Nearly one year to the day that Bryan Peters beat No. 5 UCLA with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning on March 6, 2011, junior Rich Sanguinetti completed a ninth-inning comeback against New Mexico State at the Metrodome on March 3, 2012, with a two-run walk-off home run.

The two-run shot was the first home run of Sanguinetti's Husker career and polished off a four-run ninth inning to seal victory. The Huskers entered the ninth down 4-2 and quickly had life following a pair of hits. Michael Pritchard led off with a single and then scored from first on Richard Stock's double to cut the Aggie lead to one at 4-3. Freshman Blake Headley came in to run for Stock and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by fellow freshman Austin Darby, who hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. Head Coach Darin Erstad went to his bench once again and inserted Kash Kalkowski for the afore mentioned Peters with the tying run at third base. Kalkowski got behind in the count early, but dug deep and laced a single through the right side with two strikes to tie the game at 4-4. Following an out by Kale Kiser, the Huskers were down to their last out of the inning when Sanguinetti came to the plate and lifted preseason All-American closer Scott Coffman's pitch deep into the right field seats to win the ball game.

Stock Rising
Transfer Richard Stock has been welcome addition to the Husker offense in 2012. The junior from Westlake Village, Calif., is hitting .424 on the year and leads the team in doubles (6), while also ranking second on the teams in hits (14) and total bases (20). His eight-game hitting streak is the longest active streak on the team this season.

After playing in just one game of the Huskers' season-opening series against Gonzaga, Stock was named to both the Kleberg Bank College Classic and Dairy Queen Classic All-Tournament teams at designated hitter.

Stock has notched a double in each the last three games entering Tuesday and has been aggressive at the plate with no walks on the season.

A 45th-round pick out of high school by the Brewers, Stock has found new life at Nebraska after playing his freshman season at USC and last season at Pierce College in Los Angeles.

Pitchers Best Friend
Through 10 games in 2012 the Huskers have turned 12 double plays, an average of 1.2 per game. NU is on pace to turn to 67.2 double plays this season after only converting 35 a year ago.

He Can Swing It
Texarkana CC transfer Rich Sanguinetti had been a key cog in the Husker offense so far this year. Slotted as the team's No. 2 hitter and center fielder in all 10 games this season, Sanguinetti leads the team with three multi-RBI games.

Sanguinetti leads the team in sacrifice bunts with four, while ranking second on the team in RBI's (7), runs (7) and at bats (40).

The lefty has also shown that he has some pop in his bat with two doubles and one home run. The home run came when the Huskers need it most, as it was a two-run walk-off shot against New Mexico State at the Metrodome during the Dairy Queen Classic.

All Good Things Come to an End
Senior outfielder Kale Kiser started the 2012 season with a 26-game on-base streak that reached back to April 3, 2011.

The Plano, Texas, native reached base in his first eight games, but saw the streak come to an end against New Mexico State when he failed to reach base in two plate appearances.

New Blood
Head Coach Darin Erstad preaches open competition and it showed during the Huskers' season-opening series with Gonzaga, as six position and two pitching newcomers saw action.

On the mound, freshman Kyle Kubat started for the Huskers on Sunday, while junior college transfer Travis Huber saw two relief appearances.

Freshmen infielders Pat Kelly and Blake Headley each earned starts, while junior college transfer Rich Sanguinetti started all three games in center field and fellow JC transfer Richard Stock earned at start at catcher. Freshman Austin Darby pinch hit twice and sophomore Ty Kildow stole a base in one of his two pinch-running appearances.

Two more freshman took the field for the first time in a Husker uniform at the Kleberg Bank College Classic, as pitchers Jeff Stovall and Aaron Bummer threw in relief.

Dexter Spitsnogle was the latest newcomer to earn time with 1.0 inning of work against Minnesota. Spitsnogle is slated to start against Nebraska-Kearney on Wednesday at Hawks Field.

No Place Like Hawks
After playing its first 10 games of the season on the road, the Nebraska baseball team will open up a 17-game home stand at Hawks Field on Tuesday, March 6.

The stretch starts and ends with games against Kansas State, as the Wildcats will come to Lincoln on Tuesday, March 6, and  make a return trip on Tuesday, March 27.

During the non-conference part of the home stand, the Huskers will play a pair of four-game series with California, who qualified for the CWS last season, and Louisiana Tech. Northern Colorado will come to Lincoln for two games, while Nebraska-Kearney and South Dakota will also make one-game stops.

Prior to the second game with Kansas State, the Huskers will open play in the Big Ten Conference when Illinois come to Hawks Field for a three-game series that starts on Friday, March 23.

The last time the Huskers had a 17-game home stand was during the 1992 season. During the stretch, the Huskers went  11-6 at Buck Beltzer Field.

Senior Kale Kiser is tough on opposing pitchers with his great eye at the plate. During his career at Nebraska Kiser has walked 73 times and struck out just 58 times.

In the Zone
Junior Chad Christensen is locked in right now as the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native leads or is tied for the team lead in six offensive categories, including hits (16), RBIs (8), runs (8) home runs (2) and total bases (25).

Nearly a career .300 hitter entering the year at .292, Christensen is hitting a scorching .390 on the season and was recently named the MVP of the Kleberg Bank Classic after leading the Huskers to victory with a two-out two-RBI double in the top of the ninth to give NU a 8-7 lead.

More impressively, Christensen has shined at the plate while playing both the outfield and infield. After starting 55 games at shortstop in 2011, Christensen moved to the outfield in 2012 and started their before freshman Pat Kelly was injured in the second game of the season. Christensen has started the past seven games at shortstop. He has moved right back into the position with no errors and eight double plays in 46 chances.

Take it for the Team
In 2011 the Huskers were hit by pitch 89 times, which tied them for 13th nationally. The team was led by Bryan Peters, who was hit 18 times to tie for 20th nationally.

A junior in 2012, Peters continues to climb the Husker career chart in hit-by-pitches and entered the year with 36, which tied him for fifth with Jake Mort (2005-09). Peters recently jumped into a tie for third on the all-time list with Alex Gordon and Nick Sullivan when he was hit-by-pitch against Utah on Feb. 25. Senior Kale Kiser is also on the career top-10 list with 34 hit-by-pitches.

Daniel Bruce (2002-05) holds the NU career record with 67 hit-by-pitches.

Huskers Picked Fourth by League Coaches
The Big Ten coaches have picked Nebraska to finish fourth out of the league's 11 teams in 2012. Three Husker juniors were also named to the 'Players to Watch List', including right-handled pitcher Travis Huber, right-handed pitcher Tom Lemke and first baseman/designated hitter Kash Kalkowski.

After winning a share of the of the Big Ten title last season for the first time since 1979, Michigan State was picked as the league favorite. The Spartans were followed by Purdue, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Illinois, as only the top six teams were released by the conference office.

Eight Draftees on 2012 Roster
For the third straight year, Nebraska's 2012 roster boasts a total of eight Huskers who have been previously selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including Kash Kalkowski and Travis Huber, who have each been picked twice.

One Field to the Other
After playing two seasons of football under Head Coach Bo Pelini, sophomore Ty Kildow will now use his talents on the baseball field at Nebraska.

Kildow joined the baseball team in the fall as a walk-on and worked his way onto the roster. Arguably the fastest player on the team, Kildow's speed will be an asset on the basepaths and in the outfield. Kildow has already been used as a pinch runner twice this season and stole a base against Gonzaga.

Kildow was a three-time first-team Super-State pick as an outfielder at Millard South High School. He hit over .400 each of his final three seasons, including a .447 average as a junior. He stole 29 bases as a senior and hit .431.

Husker TV Schedule
The Big Ten Network has announced its broadcast schedule for Nebraska baseball's inaugural season as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers will be seen nationally on BTN three times at Hawks Field, including Nebraska's Big Ten opener against Illinois on Friday, March 23, and once on the road when NU travels to Indiana on Sunday, May 6. Nebraska's other two home games on the BTN schedule include a meetings with Creighton (April 10) and Purdue (April 20). The Huskers' four appearances on BTN are tied for the most in the conference, as Michigan State, Minnesota and Michigan all will also have four games on the network.

Every game that is available on BTN is also available on BTN2Go, a 24/7 live feed of all BTN television programming. Full online access of BTN2Go is only available to subscribers of participating cable, satellite or telco providers. The online service is available at no additional cost to subscribers who already receive BTN as part of their channel lineup. For more information, visit

Following the announcement by the Big Ten Network, NET was able to announce that fans in the state of Nebraska will continue to see Nebraska baseball on NET in 2012. NET has permission from the Big Ten Network to broadcast four games at Hawks Field and will also broadcast both meetings with Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park. NET's coverage will kickoff on Friday, April 6, when the Iowa Hawkeyes come to Lincoln to open the first Big Ten series between the two programs. NET will also broadcast the series opener against Minnesota (May 11), as well as non-conference games against CSU Bakersfield (April 28) and Wichita State (May 15).

Back in Red
Along with Head Coach Darin Erstad, two other former Huskers will be putting on the Nebraska baseball jersey once again in 2012 as former players Will Bolt (1999-02) and Jeff Christy (2005-06) are part of Erstad's coaching staff.

Bolt is the Huskers' associate head coach and returned to his alma mater after serving as the head coach at Texarkana College the past four years. Bolt works with the Husker infielders and helps direct the offense, while also coaching third base.

Prior to his time at Texarkana, Bolt was a volunteer assistant at Texas A&M for two seasons after serving as a volunteer on the Huskers' 2005 College World Series Team.

As a player, Bolt was a member of then-Head Coach Dave Van Horn's first recruiting class. The Conroe, Texas, native was a four-year starter and team captain on Nebraska's 2001 and 2002 College World Series teams.

Christy returns to Nebraska as the team's volunteer assistant after working in the same position at Wichita State in 2011. One of the top catchers in program history, Christy works with the catchers and coaches first base.

After playing his first two seasons at Barton County CC, Christy caught a school-record 64 games as a junior in 2005, hitting .236 with 32 RBIs, while throwing out 45 percent of opposing runners, including 8-of-11 runners in the postseason. An honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick in 2006, Christy hit .284 with eight homers and 32 RBIs, while leading the Huskers to 42 wins and a No. 6 national seed.

Drafted by the Minnesota Twins, Christy reached Triple-A Rochester in both 2008 and 2009.

Huskers Across the Country
The 2012 Huskers hale from 11 different from all across the nation. Nebraska natives make up 12 of the 32 players on the 2012 roster, while Texas has the second most representatives at five. Other states with more than one player include, Iowa (3), Colorado (3), Arizona (2) and Kansas (2).


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