(32-20, 12-9 Big Ten) at Michigan (21-32, 7-14 Big Ten)
- Kyle Kubat, Fr., LHP (4-0) vs. Matt Ogden, Fr., RHP (3-3)
- Ryan Hander, Jr. RHP (2-0) vs. Brandon Sinnery, Sr., RHP (4-5)
- TBA vs. Ben Ballantine, Jr., RHP (2-3)
The Nebraska baseball team (32-20, 12-9 Big Ten) wraps up the 2012 regular
season with a three-game series in Ann Arbor, Mich., against the Michigan
Wolverines. The two teams play on both Thursday and Friday at 5:05 p.m. (CT),
while the series finale is scheduled for a 12:05 p.m. first pitch on Saturday.
Nebraska enters the series tied for fourth in the Big Ten
standings with the Michigan State Spartans. The Huskers are one-game back of
both Penn State and Indiana for second place, while NU holds a one-game lead
over Ohio State and a two-game lead over Minnesota.
With one Nebraska win this weekend or one loss by
Minnesota, the Huskers will secure a bid to the conference tournament and will
make a postseason appearance for the first time since 2008. The top-six teams
in the conference will play in the Big Ten Baseball Tournament next week at
Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.
Freshman lefty Kyle Kubat will start the series opener for
the third straight week in conference play, while Ryan Hander will get his
second straight conference start on Saturday. The Huskers have not yet
announced their Sunday starter, while the Wolverines are scheduled to throw a
trio of right handers, including Matt Ogden, Brandon Sinnery and Ben
Bleacher seats at Ray Fisher Stadium are $7 for adults and $5 for youth/senior citizens.
Chairback seats are $8.
Television: There will be no TV coverage of any game at Michigan, but
all three games will be streamed live on BTN.com (subscription required).
On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg
Sharpe and Jeff Culhane call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network -
including KLIN 1400 AM and 94.5 FM in Lincoln - and on the Internet at
Huskers.com or the Official Husker App. In Omaha, Thursday's and Friday's games
will be carried on The Fox 93.3 FM, while Saturday's game will be back on KFAB
1110 AM. A complete list of HSN affiliates can be found on page 9.
The Michigan Wolverines look to play
spoiler against the Huskers this week. The Wolverines are 21-32 overall on the
season and 7-14 in Big Ten, which has them eliminated from making the Big Ten
The Wolverines have played more games
on the road this season than at home, as they are 7-11 at home, 5-15 in true
road games and 9-6 at neutral sites.
Michigan has just one win at home in
its last six Big Ten home games, as they were swept by Indiana and lost its
series with Northwestern, 2-1.
The Wolverines hit .255 as a team and
are led by Michael O'Neill's .322 average. O'Neill is also tied for the team
lead in doubles (11) and leads the team in RBI's (29).
Coley Crank has 12 of UM's 31 home runs
and O'Neill is the only other Wolverine with more than three home runs with
The Huskers are scheduled to see a trio
of righties this week, starting with Matt Ogden on Thursday.
Ogden will be making his first start of
the season after making a team-high 19 appearances out of the bullpen. He has a
3-3 record and a 3.11 ERA on the year in 37.2 innings of work. Ogden has given
up 18 runs (13 earned) on 24 hits and 16 walks, while striking out 24.
Brandon Sinnery takes the mound on
Friday and is one of the workhorses of the conference. Sinnery has thrown 92.1
innings this year over 13 starts and has four complete games, including one
shutout. With a 4-5 record and a 3.80 ERA, Sinnery has given up 45 runs (39
earned) on 98 hits and 20 walks, while punching out 54. He has given up seven
home runs on the year and 13 doubles.
Ben Ballantine leads the Wolverines in
starts and will make his 15th on Saturday in the season finale. Ballantine has
a 2-3 record and a 4.10 ERA in 68.0 innings of action. He has given up 40 runs
(31 earned) on 63 hits and 32 walks, while striking out 40.
Multiple arms have seen action at the
end of the game for UM, as seven pitchers have at least one save on the year,
including three with two or more. Ogden leads the team with three saves.
Magic Number is 1
three games remaining in the on the Big Ten schedule, the Nebraska baseball
team needs just one win over the Michigan Wolverines or one loss by the
Minnesota Golden Gophers to secure a bid to the Big Ten Baseball Tournament
next week in Columbus, Ohio, at Huntington Park.
Huskers enter the weekend tied with Michigan State for fourth in the
conference, but can still move as high as second in the conference standings.
top six teams in the league earn bids to the postseason tournament and the top
two teams receive first-round byes.
Huskers have not reached the postseason since 2008, when they were still
members of the Big 12 Conference. NU also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in
2008 and hosted a NCAA Regional. NU opened with a win over Eastern Illinois,
but then lost to UC Irvine and Oral Roberts.
Following a sweep of the Minnesota Golden Gophers last
weekend at Hawks Field, the Nebraska baseball team in position to post
consecutive conference sweeps for the first time since 2006.
During the 2006 campaign, the Huskers took three straight
at Missouri and then swept Texas A&M at home.
The last time Nebraska was in position to post
back-to-back sweeps in the same season was 2008 when NU swept Kansas State on
the road and then took the first two games at home against Oklahoma, before the
third game ended in a tie due to time limit.
Freshman Pat Kelly has made a quick transition to college
pitching, as the Red Wing, Minn., is fourth on the team with a .331 batting
average and is second on the team with a .564 slugging percentage, while Josh
Scheffert leads the squad at .568.
Kelly is even better with a teammate on base, hitting .382
on the season. With a runner on third and less than two outs, Kelly has 10
RBI's in 16 attempts.
Kelly has hit throughout the Husker lineup and has
produced 15 extra-base hits, including six doubles, two triples and seven home
runs. His seven homers are the most by a Husker freshman since Alex Gordon hit
seven in 2003.
Kelly has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice,
including this past week for his big weekend against Minnesota. He hit .444
(8-for-18) last week in four starts with two home runs and 15 total bases.
K For Kubat
After starting three games at the beginning of the season,
freshman Kyle Kubat became a tough arm out of the bullpen for the Huskers
during conference play.
Kubat then moved into the starting rotation prior to the
Indiana series and has won back-to-back starters for NU.
Kubat shut down the Hoosiers with a career-high seven
strikeouts, the most by a Husker in 2012, over a career-high 6.2 innings of
work to improve to 3-0 on the year.
After giving up two runs on three hits in the first inning
against IU, Kubat found his rhythm and gave up just one hit and didn't allow a
runner past second base over the next 5.2 innings.
Kubat then opened the Huskers series against Minnesota's
TJ Oakes, arguably the top pitcher in the Big Ten. Kubat held his own over 6.0
innings, as he gave up three runs, all unearned, on three hits and one walk,
while striking out three. NU won the game 4-3 and Kubat improved to 4-0 on the
In five appearances during Big Ten play, Kubat has a 1.19
ERA over 22.2 innings of work and is holding opposing batters to a .225 batting
average. The 6-1 lefty has allowed 18 hits and has given up seven walks, while
striking out 16.
Only Brandon Pierce has move strikeouts during Big Ten
play with 20, but he thrown 9.2 more innings.
Get a Touchdown
Nebraska is 10-1 this during Big Ten play when scoring six
or more runs and the Huskers are 9-1 when holding opponents to less than 6 runs.
NU is 2-8 when scoring less than six runs during
conference play and 3-8 when opponents score six or more runs.
Nebraska has kept its edge in close game this seasons, as
the Huskers are 5-1 in one-run games during Big Ten play.
Last season in the Big 12, NU was 3-2 in one-run games.
All Good Things Come to an End
Michael Pritchard 25-game hitting streak came to an end on
Friday, May 11 when he went 0-for-4 against Minnesota.
Pritchard tied Derek Dukart for the third-longest hitting
streak at NU since 1958 at 25 games with a 4-for-4 performance against
Creighton the previous Tuesday on May 8.
The streak started in the Huskers' Big Ten opener against
Illinois on March 23, when the Pritchard produced two hits.
He notched at least a pair of hits 10 times during the
streak, including three or more hits twice.
Francis Collins holds the NU school record with a 38-game
hitting streak in 1996, while Ken Ramos is second with a 28-game streak in
No statistics on hitting streaks prior to the Huskers
joining the Big Eight Conference in 1958 are available.
Transfer Richard Stock has been a welcome addition to the
Husker offense in 2012. The junior from Westlake Village, Calif., is second on
the team with a .350 average, while leading the team in both doubles (16) and
His 95 total bases rank second on the team to Chad
Christensen's 104, while Stock is also slugging .519 and has an on-base percentage of .392.
Stock came to the Huskers as a catcher, but has developed
into the Huskers' primary first baseman, while also serving as Cory Burleson's
backup at the plate.
During Big Ten play Stock has been even better at the
plate, as he is tied for the conference lead in hits (34) and is third in the
league in batting average (.395).
Stock has produced three hits in a game eight times this
year, including two games with four hits. The junior also has eight multi-RBI games
on the season and is riding an 15-game hitting streak into Thursday's game at
It is the longest active streak on the team this year and
the second longest streak behind Michael Pritchard's 25-game hitting streak.
A 45th-round pick out of high school by the Milwaukee
Brewers, Stock has found new life at Nebraska after playing his freshman season
at USC and last season at Pierce College in Los Angeles.
Tough With Two
The Huskers have come up with clutch hits all season with
two outs, as 114 of the team's 331 RBI's have come with two outs. In 55 games a
year ago the Huskers' totaled 91 two-out RBI's.
Leading the way is Chad Christensen, who has driven in 24 of his team-leading 46 RBI's
with two outs. Last season Christensen played in all 55 games and totaled just
four two-out RBI's.
Juniors Richard Stock (17), Kash Kalkowski (16), Josh
Scheffert (14) and Rich Sanguinetti (10) also each have double-digit two-out
RBI's, to give the Huskers five players with 10 or more two-out RBI's.
All-American Cody Asche led the team with 16 two-out
RBI's, while only three players had 10 or more on the year, including Asche,
Kalkowski (14) and Bryan Peters (12).
Vogt of Confidence
Dylan Vogt has been the Huskers' go to man out of the
bullpen with a 1.90 ERA in 23 appearances.
This past weekend against Minnesota, Vogt picked up a pair
of saves when he closed games one and three.
The junior righty has worked 47.1 innings and struck out
28, while holding opponents to a .247 batting average.
Prior to his appearances against Indiana on May 6 when he
gave up two runs in 3.1 innings of work, Vogt had pitched 14.0 straight shutout
innings over six appearances.
Give it to the Bullpen
The depth and talent of Nebraska's bullpen has been one of
its biggest strengths this season.
During Big Ten play, the Huskers are 11-0 when leading
after the sixth inning, 10-0 when leading after the seventh and 11-0 when
leading after the eighth inning.
Overall, NU is 28-4 when leading through six innings, 27-3
when leading through seven and 28-2 when leading after eighth innings.
Own the Fourth
The Huskers strongest inning this season has been the
fourth, where they've outscored opponents 81-20. The Huskers didn't give up a
run in the fourth inning until Illinois plated one run against the Huskers in
the team's 25th game of the season on Saturday, March 24.
Looking at just the first eight innings of a game,
Nebraska has outscored their opponents this season in every inning but the
first (19-42) and the seventh (22-30).
In the first three innings of the game the Huskers trail
the opposition 104-109, but they have destroyed opponent pitching the second
time through the order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings with a 167-77
In the seventh and eighth innings the Huskers keep up the
pressure and hold a 66-55 advantage, including a 44-25 advantage in the eighth
Get on Top
Scoring the game's first runs has been important for the
Huskers during Big Ten play.
In the first 21 games of the Big Ten schedule, the Huskers
are 7-2 when taking the first lead of a game. When the opposition scores first,
the Huskers are 5-7.
What a Difference a Year Makes
After struggling through a sophomore season that saw him
hit .220 with four doubles, two home runs and 18 RBI's in 43 games, Josh
Scheffert went back to the drawing board this summer and worked on his swing.
The Lincoln native's hard work has paid off so far in
2012, as he has been named Big Ten Player of the Week twice.
The junior is third on the team with a .348 average and is
second on the team in home runs with eight. He is tied with Rich Sanguinetti
for second on the team in both doubles (10) and RBI's (38).
His biggest improvement has come in his strikeout total.
Last season Scheffert struck out 41 times in 150 at bats over 43 games, while
this year he has just 22 strikeouts in 155 at bats over 44 games.
Scheffert has also been solid in the field at both corners
of the diamond. He has just four errors on the season in 201 chances.
Setting the Pace
Sophomore leadoff-hitter Michael Pritchard has been one of
the Huskers' most lethal weapons this season with a Big Ten-leading .381
batting average. Purdue's Eric Charles is second in the conference with a .367
Pritchard also leads the Huskers with a .438 on-base
percentage, just five points higher than Kale Kiser's .433 on-base percentage.
The Right Hander
Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Hander made his first
career conference start last weekend against Minnesota and is scheduled to
start again against Michigan on Friday.
In just his second career start, Hander gave up just three
runs on six hits most importantly, no walks, over a career-high 5.0 innings of
Hander left the game with the Huskers ahead, but didn't
factor into the decision as the Gophers later tied the game before NU retook
the lead and won 8-7.
On the year, Hander has a 2.35 ERA over 23.0 innings and
has 16 strikeouts to just four walks. He is holding the opposition to a .221
average and has allowed just two extra-base hits, both doubles.
Entering the Big Ten slate, Chad Christensen was one of
the hottest hitters in the country with a .389 average, six home runs and 27
RBI's through 23 games.
Prior to the Huskers' series with Indiana, Christensen's
average had fallen to .316 and he hadn't hit a home run since March 17 when he
hit a home run in his third straight game against Louisiana Tech.
The shortstop found his swing against the Hoosiers with
five hits and six RBI's in the three game series, including one home run each
in the first two games of the series. He hit his team-leading ninth home run of
the season against Minnesota.
On the year he is hitting .322 with a team-high 46 RBI's.
Chicks Dig It
After hitting 30 home runs in 55 games last season, led by
Cody Asche's 12 home runs, the Huskers have already surpassed last year's total
with 44 home runs in 52 games this season, including a team-high nine home runs
from Chad Christensen.
In the Big Ten, Indiana and Penn State are tied for second
with 33 home runs each, while Michigan is the only other program with more than
30 home runs with 31.
Helping the Pitching Staff
Through 52 games the Huskers have turned 49 double plays.
NU is on pace to turn just over 51 double plays this season after only
converting 35 a year ago.
Even though the Huskers lead the Big Ten Conference with
44 home runs through May 15, Nebraska has also put a lot of pressure on
opposing defenses with their bunting.
On the year, the Huskers have 33 bunt singles through 52
games. In 55 games a year ago, the Huskers had just 16 bunt singles all season.
Chad Christensen, who leads the team with nine home runs,
also leads the team with eight bunt singles in 10 attempts.
Michael Pritchard and Rich Sanguinetti are next with five
bunts singles each , while Bryan Peters has four. Cory Burleson and Austin
Darby each have three bunt singles.
Overall, the Huskers are 33-for-44 (.750) when bunting for
a base hit and also have 41 sacrifice bunts on the year.
Rich Sanguinetti leads the team with 13 sacrifice bunts,
which is second only to Iowa's Jacob Yacinich, who has 14 sacrifices on the
It's Not Nice to Steal
Catcher Cory Burleson has been one of the most important
cogs of the Husker defense this season with 18 runners caught stealing, which
tops his season total of 14 from 2011.
The senior backstop has slowed down the opposition's
running game, as team's have stolen just 17 bases in 35 attempts (.486) this
season, with two of the 15 steals coming from Illinois on a double steal.
During Big Ten play, Burleson has thrown out eight runners
in 16 attempts.
Through May 15, Northwestern's Geoff Rowan (28) and
Indiana's Kyle Schwarber (24) are the only catchers in the Big Ten with more
runners thrown out than Burleson, but Rowan has the second most steals allowed
with 42 and Schwarber is third with 39.
10 catchers in the Big Ten have allowed 20 or more steals
on the year, including seven who have allowed 25 or more. Illinois' Kelly
Norris-Jones has allowed a league-high 47 stolen bases.
Burleson has worked hard in the offseason to improve his
game after allowing 26 steals in 40 attempts a year ago.
Hard to Hit
Junior closer Travis Huber has been tough on opposing
hitters during Big Ten play with a 0.00 ERA in 4.2 innings of work over four
During conference play, Huber has given up just four hits
and one walk, while striking out six and holding opposing batters to a .211
Overall, Huber holds a 2.75 ERA and seven saves in 18
appearances. In 19.2 innings, Huber has posted 17 strikeouts and given up six
Senior Kale Kiser is tough on opposing pitchers with his
great eye at the plate. During his career at Nebraska, Kiser has walked 96
times and struck out just 70 times for a 1.37 walk/strikeout ratio.
Kiser is hitting .255 on the season, but continues to get
on base for the Huskers with an on-base percentage of .433, which ranks second
on the team.
His team-high 33 walks are the fifth most in the Big Ten
and his 13 HBP's are tied for tops in the league with Josh Dezse of Ohio State.
Under the direction of Head Coach Darin Erstad and
Associate Head Coach Will Bolt, the Nebraska offense has seen great improvement
across the board from a year ago.
During conference play the Huskers are hitting .306 as a
team, with seven players hitting .300 or better, including a team-leading .395
average from Richard Stock.
In 2011, the Huskers hit .236 during conference play and
just two players hit over .300, including Cody Asche (.351) and Michael
He Does it All
Texarkana CC transfer
Rich Sanguinetti had been a key cog in the Husker offense this season.
Sanguinetti is hitting
.309 on the year with a team-high 13 sacrifice bunts and is tied with Josh
Scheffert for second on the team with 38 RBI's.