Photo by Allyssa Hynes/Nebraska Communications

Huskers, Bluejays Meet for Rubber Match

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska (22-13) at Creighton (22-8)
Tuesday, April 23 • 7 p.m. (CT)
TD Ameritrade Park • Omaha, Neb.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Ethan Frazier (0-0) vs. Denson Hull (3-3)

The Nebraska baseball team (22-13, 11-4 Big Ten) travels to Omaha on Tuesday night for the series finale against Creighton (22-8) at TD Ameritrade Park. First pitch between the intrastate rivals is set for 7 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Creighton, ranked 17th in the latest RPI, enters the week having won seven of its last eight games. Nebraska is ranked 41st in the RPI.

Tuesday night is the rubber match between the squads after the road team won each of the first two meetings this season. On March 26 at TD Ameritrade Park, the Huskers won a 6-3 decision. On April 9 at Hawks Field, the Bluejays bounced back with a 10-2 victory over the Big Red.

Last Time Out
The Huskers went 2-3 during their five-games-in-six-days stretch last week. On Tuesday, Nebraska fell to Kansas State, 5-0, at Hawks Field. The following night, NU came from behind to top Omaha at Werner Park, 8-5.

Over the weekend, Nebraska lost the first two games of the series at Iowa before winning Sunday’s finale by a 3-2 margin. The Hawkeyes won 3-2 on Friday and 17-9 on Saturday.

Next Up
The Huskers close the month of April at home this weekend when Illinois visits Hawks Field for a three-game series. Friday’s series opener, set for 7:35 p.m. (CT), will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Saturday’s game, scheduled for 2:05 p.m., will be televised on NET. Sunday’s game at 11:05 a.m., will be streamed on BTN Plus, with a subscription required to watch. 

Fans can purchase tickets online at Huskers.com/tickets or by calling the Nebraska Ticket Office at 1-800-8-BIG RED.

The first 1,000 fans into Friday night’s game will get an “LNK” City Edition baseball cap. Sunday marks “Love 4 Laney & Katie” Day at Hawks Field, which will include a T-shirt giveaway to the first 1,000 fans.

How to Listen/Watch the Huskers

• Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe and Nick Handley call the action on Tuesday night on the Learfield/IMG 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. Tuesday night’s game will be carried on TuneIn.com and the TuneIn App on the Husker Sports Network channel.

• Fans in Lincoln can listen on 1400 AM and fans in Omaha can listen on 590 AM.

• Tuesday night’s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network, with Carter Blackburn and Kevin Stocker calling the action.

Scouting the Creighton Bluejays

• Nebraska leads the all-time series against Creighton, 86-54-2, dating back to the first meeting between the intrastate rivals in 1902. This season, the Huskers and Bluejays split the first two games, with the road team winning each time.

• Creighton is 22-8 overall this season and has won seven of its last eight games. The Bluejays hold a 5-1 record in BIG EAST play. Creighton is ranked 17th in the latest RPI, released by the NCAA on Monday. Over the weekend, the Bluejays swept a three-game series at Seton Hall.

• Head Coach Ed Servais is 539-315-1 in his 16th season at Creighton. He holds an overall record of 721-397-2 in his 24th year. Servais is assisted by Connor Gandossy, Eric Wordekemper and Paul Weidner.

• Players to Watch

  • No. 29 Jake Holton (Junior INF): Team-high .402 batting average with 45 hits, 34 RBIs and nine home runs
  • No. 1 Isaac Collins (Junior INF): Batting .309 with 42 hits, nine doubles and a team-best 10 stolen bases
  • No. 24 Will Robertson (Junior OF): Hitting .288 with 36 hits, 13 doubles and eight home runs

Huskers Second in Big Ten Standings

• The Huskers enter the week with an 11-4 record (.733 winning percentage) in Big Ten play, which puts them in second place in the league standings.

• Indiana leads the Big Ten with a 9-3 record (.750), while Michigan rounds out the top three at 8-3 (.727). The top eight teams make the Big Ten Tournament.

• At home, the Huskers have swept Michigan State (March 22-24) and Purdue (April 5-7). On the road, NU swept Penn State (April 12-13). The Huskers went 1-2 at Minnesota (March 29-31) and 1-2 at Iowa (April 19-21).

• Nebraska has three conference series remaining this season. NU hosts Illinois (April 26-28) and Michigan (May 16-18). The Huskers travel to Northwestern (May 4-6).

• Nebraska, in its eighth season as a member of the Big Ten, finished in the top two of the regular-season standings in four of its first six seasons in the conference before finishing 10th in 2018. NU won the regular-season crown in 2017 after finishing second in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

Gomes a Two-Way Force for the Big Red

• Freshman Colby Gomes has seen time both at the plate and on the mound during his first season at Nebraska.

• Gomes has made 26 starts this season, 23 of which have been at first base. He is batting .226 with 10 RBIs, 10 runs scored and six doubles.

• On the mound, Gomes has made 11 appearances (two starts) and leads the team with eight saves. His ERA is 3.29 in 13.2 innings pitched.

• Gomes is one of three Huskers to see time both on the mound and at the plate this season, along with Jaxon Hallmark and Ben Klenke.

Schwellenbach Finding Rhythm

• Freshman Spencer Schwellenbach has smashed three home runs in his last four games after not hitting a home run in his first 20 games at Nebraska.

• Schwellenbach started each of the first 15 games of the season before suffering an ankle injury on March 20. He sat out 11 games before returning to the lineup on April 9. Schwellenbach has started each of the last nine games for the Huskers since that time.

Strong Starts Set the Tone in Big Ten Play

• Nebraska’s trio of weekend starters have combined to go 9-1 in Big Ten games. Matt Waldron, Nate Fisher and Reece Eddins have helped the Huskers to an 11-4 record in conference play through 15 games.

• Nebraska’s starters during Big Ten play have amassed 97.2 innings, an average of more than 6.0 innings per start. They have combined for 73 strikeouts and only 14 walks.

Waldron Continues Superb Senior Season

• Senior right-hander Matt Waldron, who has made seven starts and nine appearances overall, is among the best pitchers in the Big Ten this season.

• Waldron’s team-best 1.84 earned-run average ranks second in the Big Ten, behind only Penn State’s Dante Biasi (1.75).

• Waldron has 56 strikeouts and only four walks this season. His 14.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks first in the Big Ten and third in the nation, behind Elon’s George Kirby (15.20) and Davidson’s Casey Sutherland (14.33).

• Waldron is 5-0 this season, the most wins on the team.

• In Big Ten play, Waldron is 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA in five starts. He has recorded 30 strikeouts and two walks in 38.2 innings.

• Waldron has 216 career strikeouts, which ranks seventh in program history. Josh Bullock (225) ranks sixth on Nebraska’s career strikeouts list.

• Over the weekend, Waldron entered Nebraska’s top-10 career innings pitched list. He has pitched 258.2 innings in his career, which ranks ninth in program history.

Palensky Powers Husker Offense

• Sophomore Aaron Palensky, a junior college transfer, leads the Huskers with a .329 batting average this season, which ranks ninth in the Big Ten.

• Palensky, who has started all 35 games, leads the Huskers in hits (47), runs scored (28), doubles (11) and triples (2).

• Palensky has at least one hit in 30 of 35 games this season, including a team-high 14 multi-hit efforts.

There’s No Place Like Home

• Nebraska is 8-2 at home this season with sweeps against Air Force, Michigan State and Purdue.

• Nebraska played its long-awaited home opener on March 19 after each of the first eight scheduled home games had either been canceled, postponed or moved to a new location due to weather and/or field conditions.

• It marked Nebraska’s latest home opener since 1978 when the Huskers first played a home game that season on March 28. The 1978 squad played 17 games away from Lincoln before its home opener. This season, the first 13 games were played away from home.

• The Omaha game, originally scheduled as the home opener for March 5, was postponed. The North Dakota State game, scheduled for March 13, was also postponed.

• The Baylor series, March 8-10, was moved from Lincoln to Waco, Texas due to cold weather and snowy conditions.

• The New Mexico State series, originally slated for March 15-17, was canceled due to field conditions.

Huskers Scheduled to Make Eight TV Appearances

• The Huskers have five more television appearances scheduled this season after playing on TV three times so far. Tuesday night’s game on CBS Sports Network will be Nebraska’s fourth TV appearance in 2019.

• NU will be on NET two more times this season, including April 27 (Illinois) and May 10 (Arizona State).

• The Huskers will make two appearances on the Big Ten Network, including April 20 (Iowa) and April 26 (Illinois).

• Nebraska’s previous TV showings this season were April 5 (Purdue) on NET, April 7 (Purdue) on ESPNU and April 9 (Creighton) on Fox Sports 1.

Newcomers Making Their Mark

• Nebraska’s nationally ranked recruiting class has accounted for 37 percent of the Huskers to make plate appearances (7 of 19 players) this season. In addition, five newcomers have made pitching appearances.

• D1 Baseball ranked NU’s class 16th nationally and the best among all Big Ten teams, six spots ahead of second-best Illinois.

• Baseball America tabbed the group among its top-35 recruiting classes. After announcing its top 25, Baseball America released its “Next 10” in alphabetical order. Nebraska was one of two Big Ten teams on the list, along with No. 24 Illinois.

• Rawlings/Perfect Game ranked Nebraska’s recruiting class 37th nationally and third in the Big Ten, behind No. 32 Purdue and No. 36 Indiana.

• The Huskers welcomed 15 newcomers to the roster this season, including 11 freshmen, as the entire recruiting class made it to campus.

• Two newcomers - Spencer Schwellenbach and Bo Blessie - were drafted in June 2018, but chose to come to Nebraska to play college baseball. Schwellenbach was selected in the 34th round by the Cleveland Indians, while Blessie was drafted in the 36th round by the Washington Nationals.

Huskers Working Through Rigorous Schedule

• Nebraska’s non-conference strength of schedule is 10th nationally, according to WarrenNolan.com. Overall, Nebraska’s strength of schedule is ranked 83rd in the nation.

• Nebraska played eight of its first 13 games against top-25 opponents away from home. Five of those games were against 2018 College World Series teams (Oregon State and Texas Tech).

• As a whole, Nebraska’s schedule features games against five NCAA Tournament qualifiers from last season, including two College World Series participants.

• Before cancellations, Nebraska was scheduled to play 2018 CWS qualifier Mississippi State (March 3) and 2018 NCAA Tournament team New Mexico State (March 15-17), which would’ve given NU a schedule with seven NCAA teams, three of which made the CWS last season.

• The Huskers also face each of the top four teams from last year’s Big Ten standings. Earlier this season, Nebraska won 1-of-3 at Minnesota, a team which advanced to Super Regionals last season after winning the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles.

• Nebraska went a combined 5-1 against 2018 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Baylor and Purdue. NU won 2-of-3 against Baylor, March 8-10, in Waco, Texas. The Huskers swept Purdue, 2018 Big Ten runner-up, last weekend at Hawks Field.

• Michigan and Illinois, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Big Ten last season each visit Hawks Field this season.

• Nebraska’s penultimate regular-season series is against Arizona State (May 10-12) at Hawks Field. The series history between the Huskers and Sun Devils includes NU’s first win in a College World Series game in 2005.

• The Big Ten teams not included in Nebraska’s 2019 regular-season schedule are Indiana, Maryland, Ohio State and Rutgers.

• The conference tournament returns to TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, May 22-26, after previously hosting the event in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The Big Ten Tournament will return to TD Ameritrade Park from 2020 to 2022.

Closing Time

• One of Nebraska’s strengths under Head Coach Darin Erstad has been the bullpen. As a team, Nebraska has earned 11 saves, marking the ninth consecutive season the Huskers have recorded double-digit saves.

• Individually, Colby Gomes leads the team with eight saves. Nebraska has had a pitcher earn 10 or more saves in each of the last five seasons after no Husker pitcher reached the 10-save milestone during the previous seven seasons (2007-13).

Nebraska’s Record with the Lead Since 2012

  • » After six innings: 202-20 (16-0 this season)
  • » After seven innings: 217-10 (20-0 this season)
  • » After eight innings: 231-6 (22-0 this season)

Erstad Among Winningest Coaches in NU History

• Head Coach Darin Erstad earned his 250th career win on April 5.

• Last season, Erstad became the fourth-winningest head coach in program history when he passed Dave Van Horn with his 215th win on Feb. 23, 2018. Erstad reached the 200-win milestone on April 25, 2017.

Most Wins by a Head Coach in Nebraska Baseball History

  1. John Sanders: 767 wins (1978-97; 20 seasons)
  2. Tony Sharpe: 399 wins (1947-77; 31 seasons)
  3. Mike Anderson: 337 wins (2003-11; 9 seasons)
  4. Darin Erstad: 257 wins (2012-present; 8th season)
  5. Dave Van Horn: 214 wins (1998-2002; 5 seasons)

• Erstad, the 2017 Big Ten Coach of the Year, holds a conference record of 107-72-1 as the head coach at Nebraska. On March 31, He became the fourth head coach in program history to surpass 100 conference wins.

Nebraska Coaches with More Than 100 Conference Wins

  • Tony Sharpe went 240-260-0 in 31 years
  • John Sanders went 239-221-0 in 20 years
  • Mike Anderson went 125-116-1 in nine years
  • Darin Erstad is 107-72-1 in his eighth year

Hawks Field Celebrates 18th Year in 2019

• The 2019 campaign marks Nebraska’s 18th year playing home games at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. The Huskers moved to Hawks Field in 2002 after playing at Buck Beltzer Stadium for 23 years from 1979 to 2001.

• Since moving there in 2002, Nebraska has played 496 games all-time at Hawks Field and has nine more scheduled home games this season.

• In 2019, NU has averaged 4,290 fans per home game (through 10 home games), which ranks 10th in the nation and leads the Big Ten by a wide margin. Indiana ranks second in the conference in attendance with an average of 1,676 per home game.

• Nebraska holds a 360-135-1 record at Hawks Field, which includes an 8-2 mark this season. NU has posted a winning record at home in each of the last 17 seasons.

• Nebraska has won 60 percent or more of its home games 14 times over the last 17 seasons.

• Since Head Coach Darin Erstad took over in 2012, the Huskers are 131-57 at Hawks Field. He has posted 20-win seasons at home in three of his first seven years at Nebraska, including 21-win seasons at home in 2015 and 2016.

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