LINCOLN – The Nebraska baseball team (6-8, 0-0 Big Ten) wraps up an eight-game homestand this weekend at Hawks Field with a three-game series against the College of Charleston Cougars (8-9, 0-0 CAA). The Cougars have never made a trip to Lincoln and this weekend’s series marks only the second time the two teams have met for a series after the Huskers opened last season in Charleston.
The series opener is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. on Friday, game two is set for 2:05 p.m. on Saturday and the series finale is scheduled for 11:05 a.m. on Sunday. The finale was originally scheduled for 12:05 p.m., but was moved up one hour to accommodate Charleston’s travel schedule.
The Huskers posted a 3-2 record last week, as they took a pair of games from Northern Colorado but then lost 2-of-3 to Western Carolina on the weekend. The Cougars went 1-4 last week, as they dropped a pair of games to East Carolina during the midweek and then went 1-2 at home against Kent State on the weekend.
While the Huskers didn’t play a midweek game this week, the Cougars hosted North Florida on Tuesday and lost 11-2.
Last season in Charleston the Huskers opened the season with a 4-0 victory, as Colton Howell, Jeff Chesnut and Chad Luensmann combined for the shutout while Luis Alvarado went 3-for-4 at the plate. The Huskers were unable to take the series though, as the Cougars responded with 13-5 and 7-3 victories in the final two games of the series.
Even though the five projected starting pitchers (CoC is listed as TBA on Sunday) this weekend consist of a senior, three juniors and a sophomore, not one of them saw the mound last season when the two teams met.
How to Listen/Watch the Huskers
Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe, Ben McLaughlin and Nick Handley call all the action this season on the Husker Sports Network. Every game this season can be heard on Huskers.com and the Official Nebraska Huskers App for both iOS and android devices.
All three games this weekend will be carried on 1400 AM in Lincoln and 590 AM in Omaha. Fans can also listen to all three games on TuneIn.com or the TuneIn App on the Husker IMG Sports Network channel.
All three games against the College of Charleston will be video streamed live on HuskersNSide (subscription required).
Lean on the Lefty
The past two weekends the Huskers have lost on Friday and Saturday, and have looked to lefty Jake Meyers on Sunday to get NU back in the win column.
The junior from Omaha has delivered, as Meyers has combined to throw 14.0 shutout innings over his last two starts, including a complete-game shutout of Western Carolina last Sunday.
Meyers performance against the Catamounts backed up 5.0 shutout innings against previously unbeaten Arizona at the Frisco College Baseball Classic, where the Huskers handed the Wildcats their first loss with a 1-0 victory.
Freshman Mojo Hagge made his Husker debut in the second game of the season against UC Riverside and went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Hagge has played in each of Nebraska’s last 13 games, including 12 starts.
The Omaha Skutt Catholic product enters Friday with a team-high 13-game on-base streak, leads the team with a .362 average, leads the team in hits with 17 and is tied for second on the team lead in runs scored with seven.
The 5-7 left-handed hitting outfielder also carries a .475 on-base percentage with a team-best 10 walks.
Get a Lead for the Bullpen
During Darin Erstad’s tenure at Nebraska, the Husker bullpen has done its job when it has a lead. Prior to ninth-inning walk-off loss last season at Rutgers on Friday, April 29, the Huskers had won 73 straight games when leading after the eighth inning. Since the loss at Rutgers, the Huskers have won 17 straight games when leading after eight innings.
Led by pitching coach Ted Silva, the Huskers are 143-17 since the start of the 2012 season when they lead after the sixth inning. The Huskers are 149-9 when leading after seven innings and are nearly perfect when leading after eight innings with a 159-5 record.
After making a pair of starts last season as a true freshman, Angelo Altavilla has become a key contributor in 2017. The sophomore infielder is tied with Scott Schreiber for the team lead in RBIs (11), while also ranking second on the team in batting average (.325) and doubles (4).
Altavilla has started 12 of NU’s 14 games, and has shown versatility in the field with six starts at shortstop, four at third base and two at second base.
Home Sweet Hawks
The Nebraska baseball program is celebrating its 16th year at Hawks Field.
Entering Friday’s series opener with the College of Charleston the Huskers are 325-117-1 (.735) since opening the park on March 5, 2002 with a 23-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.
Since Head Coach Darin Erstad took over in 2012, the Huskers are 96-39 (.711) at Hawks Field.
The Huskers have posted a winning home record in each of the last 15 seasons.
Nebraska has won 60% or more of its home games 13 times over the past 15 seasons, including each of the past seven seasons. NU’s worst home season at Hawks Field came in 2009 when the Huskers posted a 16-14 record (.533).
Since 2002 the Huskers have hosted 24 weekend non-conference series (3 or 4 game series). In those 24 series the Huskers have posted a 17-6-1 record, with the tie coming in 2012 when NU and Cal split a four-game series.
The Huskers have never been swept in a weekend non-conference series at Hawks Field. In the 24 series just three times, including last weekend, have the Huskers entered Sunday needing a win to avoid a sweep.
Nebraska has totaled 10 or more hits five times in 14 games entering Friday. Nebraska is 4-1 on the year when notching double-digit hits, the only loss came in a 7-5 defeat to Utah on Feb. 24.
Last season the Huskers totaled 10 or more hits 27 times in 59 games and were 21-6 in those games.
Schedule the Best
The Huskers have played a tough schedule so far in 2017. As of Wednesday morning the Huskers’ strength of schedule was ranked 11th in the country by WarrenNolan.com.
Just 6-8 through 14 games, NU’s two losses to Western Carolina last weekend were the first to a team with a losing record. Like the Huskers though, the Catamounts (7-8) have played a tough schedule, reflected in their RPI of 39 and a strength of schedule of 13.
The Husker are scheduled to play 13 games against teams that participate in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, including a pair of games against teams that were in last season’s College World Series.
Nebraska has already played 2016 NCAA runner-up Arizona and CWS qualifier Oklahoma State at the Frisco College Baseball Classic in Frisco, Texas. Nebraska lost 1-0 to the Cowboys and shut out Arizona, 1-0.
So far this season the Huskers are 3-4 against teams that qualified for the 2016 NCAA Tournament.