Huskers Start 2014 with Four-Game Weekend
Probable Starters: RHP DeLeon (0-0) vs. RHP Hager (0-0)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Saturday, Feb. 15 – Oregon State/Gonzaga @ Noon/4 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters Gm. 1: LHP Bummer (0-0) vs. TBA
Probable Starters Gm. 2: RHP Sinclair (0-0) vs. TBA
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Sunday, Feb. 16 – Gonzaga @ 1 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: TBA vs. TBA
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
The Nebraska baseball team opens the 2014 season at 1 p.m. (CT) on Friday, Feb. 14, against the Pacific Tigers at the Husker Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
The Huskers are hosting the Husker Classic at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Oregon State and Gonzaga will also be in Tempe for the weekend, as the Huskers meet both teams on Saturday, Feb. 15. The Huskers and Beavers are set to play at Noon (CT), followed by a match up with the Zags at 4 p.m.
The Huskers and Zags meet again on Sunday, Feb. 16 to wrap up the weekend on at 1 p.m. (CT).
Christian DeLeon is scheduled to start the season opener on Friday. The senior from Richmond, Texas, was Nebraska’s most reliable starter a year ago, starting a team-high 14 games, throwing a team-high 92.2 innings. He posted a 7-4 record and a 3.21 ERA.
Junior Aaron Bummer is set to get the nod on Saturday against Oregon State, as the starts the year in the weekend rotation after starting that past two years in the bullpen. Bummer moved to the weekend rotation late in 2013, ending the year with a 3-1 record over 16 appearances, including eight starts.
Newcomer Chance Sinclair gets the ball in game No. 2 on Saturday against Gonzaga. A junior college transfer from Neosho County CC, he set multiple school records on the mound. The 6-4 junior won 10 games last year and tied a single-season record, while his 18 career wins also tied a school record.
As of right now, the Huskers are TBA for their fourth starter that will face the Zags on Sunday.
On the Radio this Week
Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM and 94.5 FM in Lincoln - and on the Internet at Huskers.com or the Official Husker App. Due to men’s basketball, Sunday’s game will be 105.3 FM in Lincoln
TV Coverage this Week
No TV coverage this weekend.
Web Streams this Week
No web stream coverage this weekend.
Get on Base
Senior Michael Pritchard enters the 2014 season with an on-base streak of 42 games dating back to last season.
The streak betters Pritchard’s 31-game streak from 2012.
It is the longest game by a Husker since 2006, when Luke Gorsett reached in 48 straight games.
Since 2000, 10 Huskers have reached base in 30 or more consecutive games.
Solid with the Glove
Nebraska will look to build on is stellar defense from a year ago, when they set a school and Big Ten record with a team fielding percentage of .981, which ranked second nationally Mercer’s .982 fielding percentage.
The Huskers committed 44 errors in 2,317 chances last year over 59 games.
The next closest Big Ten team was Ohio State, who ranked 22nd nationally with a .976 fielding percentage.
Infusion of Talent
During the Fall of 2013, Baseball America ranked the newcomers to the 2014 Nebraska baseball team as the No. 11 recruiting class the nation, the highest ranking for the Huskers in school history.
The 2013 class is the first full recruiting class under Head Coach Darin Erstad, Associate Head Coach Will Bolt and Recruiting Coordinator/Pitching Coach Ted Silva.
When Erstad, a former World Series champion and three-time Gold Glove winner, took over the team prior to the 2012 season, he was able to draw Silva, the winning pitcher on Cal State Fullerton’s 1995 national championship team, away from California to lead the Huskers’ recruiting efforts.
The Huskers were the only Big Ten team on the list, while Florida took the top spot, followed by Texas and South Carolina.
The Huskers’ 15-member recruiting class that signed in November 2012 includes a talented group of 11 prep players and four transfers.
The class contained nine players that were ranked in the top-1,000 by Perfect Game, including a six top-500 prospects and one top-20 player in Red Wing, Minn., native Ryan Boldt, who is the top position player in Baseball American’s top 500 to attend college this fall. 10 of the prep standouts were regarded as top-20 players in their state, including five who are tabbed as a top-five prospects.
Both Boldt and Muscatine, Iowa, standout Derek Burkamper were drafted during the 2013 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Top of the Class
Freshman Ryan Boldt was recently named the No. 2 freshman in the country by Baseball America.
The Red Wing, Minn., native had the opportunity to play professional baseball after being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2013, but instead decided to play collegiality at Nebraska.
One of the top prep talents in the country, the 6-2 left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing outfielder joined the Huskers after being named the MVP of the 2012 Perfect Game All-American Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego, Calif.
He also earned a spot on Team USA’s Under-18 squad in August 2012 and was coached by former Major Leaguer and three-time World Series champion Scott Brosius. Boldt went on to compete with Team USA at the XXV IBAF Under-18 Baseball World Championships in Seoul, Korea, helping Team USA win its first world championship at the under-18 level since 1999 with a 6-2 win over Canada in the championship game.
Boldt led all players at the 12-team event with a tournament-record 12 stolen bases and added a tournament-high 11 runs. He was the only player in the tournament to hit double figures in either category. He set a single-game tournament record with five stolen bases in an 11-1 win over Colombia.
Pritchard Earns Preseason Honors
Senior outfielder Michael Pritchard has been named a preseason All-American by both the Sporting News and College Sports Madness.
Pritchard, a native of Omaha, was one of 21 players named to the Sporting News list, while he was a fourth-team pick by College Sports Madness.
Pritchard was joined on the Sporting News team by fellow Big Ten players Dustin DeMuth and Kyle Schwarber, both from Indiana. Schwarber was a first-team pick by College Sports Madness, while DeMuth was a fourth-team pick and Sam Travis, also from Indiana, was a second-team selection.
Pritchard has been one of the top hitters in the country during his first three years at Nebraska, posting a career batting average of .351. He also holds a pair of 20-game hitting streak, including a 25-game streak in 2012 that is tied for the third-longest in school history.
Rely on Roeder
Junior right-hander Josh Roeder is expected to get the ball at the end of games for the Huskers this year after splitting the closer role with the departed Dylan Vogt a year ago.
Roeder was a welcome addition to the Husker pitching staff in 2013, as he helped solidify the back end of NU’s bullpen. He ended the season with a team-best 1.74 ERA and six saves in 31.0 innings of work over 21 appearances. The 6-0 righty posted 29 strikeouts to seven walks (one intentional), while holding opposing hitters to a .209 average.
Roeder is one of 50 pitchers named to the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch list, given annually to the top relief pitcher in college baseball.
Roeder was one of four Big Ten pitchers on the list, joining Michigan’s Jacob Cronenworth, Ohio State’s Trave Dempsey and Indiana’s Ryan Halstead.
Extending the Season
After missing out on the postseason for three-straight seasons from 2009-2011, the Huskers have qualified for the Big Ten Tournament the past two years.
The last time the Huskers made three-straight trips to the conference tournament was 2006-2007-2008.
Nebraska is looking to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
Three Huskers were tabbed in Baseball America’s top-10 prospects in the Big Ten for the 2014 MLB Draft, including junior left-handed pitcher Aaron Bummer (No. 4), junior outfielder Austin Darby (No. 7) and junior infielder Pat Kelly (No. 8).
The Huskers and Indiana Hoosiers were the only teams in the league with more than one player on the list, with three each.
Put the Ball in Play
Michael Pritchard can definitely hit, evident by 25 and 20 game hitting streaks over the past two seasons. But Pritchard also gets on base by making opposing defenses work.
During his first three seasons, Pritchard has reached base 21 times on errors committed by opposing teams, tying him for the sixth most at Nebraska since 1999 with Matt Hopper and Bryce Nimmo.
Joe Simokaitis sits on top of the list, reaching 37 times via errors from 2002 to 2005.
Senior Tyler King enters the season with 64 career appearances, which ranks 15th all-time at Nebraska.
King has averaged just over 21 appearances a season during his first three seasons at Nebraska. With 21 appearances in 2014 he would move to second on the career list, trailing school-record holder Steve Hale, who made 87 appearances from 1999 to 2003.
Only Hale, Casey Hauptman (82, 2008-11) and Brett Jensen (80, 2004-06) have topped the 80-appearance mark during their careers at Nebraska.
Need to Finish
The Huskers were likely just one win away from reaching the NCAA Tournament a year ago, but failed to qualify with a 29-30 record.
Close games hurt the Huskers are year, as they were 4-11 in one-run games.
Nebraska was 28-1 when leading after eight innings, but 0-24 when trailing after eight and 1-5 when tied. Nebraska was also just 4-24 when trailing after six innings and 1-26 when trailing after seven innings.
After playing the 16th-toughest schedule in the county last season, the Huskers are again playing a solid slate of games in 2014.
Huskers will play 11 games against teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including a pair of games with College World Series participant Oregon State.
From looking at the four major preseason polls (NCBWA, USA Today, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball), four opponents on the 2014 schedule are ranked heading into the 2014 season.
Games Against Ranked Teams
No. 2 Oregon State (2)
No. 18 Kansas State (3)
No. 25 Arkansas (2)
No. 34 Wichita State (1)
Draftees on 2014 Roster
Three members of the 2014 Husker baseball team have previously been selected in the Major League Baseball.
Huskers Picked Second by League Coaches
The Big Ten coaches have picked Nebraska to finish second out of the league’s 11 teams in 2014.
Indiana was picked as the league favorite by the coaches after winning both the regular-season and conference titles last year. The Hoosiers ended the season with a trip to the College World Series.