Huskers Wrap Up Regular Season with Michigan
Michigan (37-14, 15-5 Big Ten) at Nebraska (26-19, 13-8 Big Ten)
May 16-18, 2019
Hawks Field at Haymarket Park • Lincoln, Neb.
The Nebraska baseball team (26-19, 13-8 Big Ten) concludes its regular season this week with a three-game series against Michigan (37-14, 15-5 Big Ten) at Hawks Field. All three games will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Thursday’s series opener will begin at 7:32 p.m. (CT) and the first 1,000 fans will get an umbrella hat. Friday’s contest is slated for 8:02 p.m., and the first 500 fans will get a Husker baseball berm blanket.
Saturday’s regular-season finale is set for 2:02 p.m. Prior to Saturday’s game, the Huskers will hold their Senior Day ceremony.
Fans can purchase tickets for this weekend by visiting Huskers.com/tickets or by calling 1-800-8-BIGRED.
Last Time Out
The Huskers won 2-of-3 against Arizona State last weekend at Hawks Field in the penultimate series of the regular season. After dropping Friday’s opener, 15-6, Nebraska responded with a 2-1 win on Saturday before winning Sunday’s finale by an 8-5 margin.
The Huskers head to Omaha for the Big Ten Tournament next week at TD Ameritrade Park. Eight teams will battle for the title and the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten Tournament begins on Wednesday and runs through Sunday.
How to Listen/Watch the Huskers
• Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe, Ben McLaughlin and Nick Handley call the action this weekend 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. All three games this weekend 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.
• All three games will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Kevin Kugler and Jeff Leise calling the action.
Scouting the Michigan Wolverines
• Nebraska leads the all-time series against Michigan, 11-10, dating back to the first meeting between the schools in 1980. NU holds a 4-2 edge over the Wolverines in Lincoln. The two teams last met in 2016, as Michigan swept the Huskers in Ann Arbor.
• Michigan is 37-14 this season and leads the Big Ten with a 15-5 record in conference play. The Wolverines have dropped three of their last four after they were on a 13-game winning streak. Michigan salvaged its series against Indiana over the weekend with a Sunday win before falling to Kentucky on Tuesday night.
• In the latest RPI, Michigan is ranked 48th. In the polls, the Wolverines are ranked 19th (USA Today Coaches Poll), 22nd (Collegiate Baseball) and 27th (NCBWA).
• Head Coach Erik Bakich is 246-154-1 in his seventh season at Michigan. He holds an overall record of 316-252-1 in his 10th year. Bakich is assisted by Nick Schnabel, Chris Fetter and Michael Brdar.
• Players to Watch
- No. 22 Jordan Brewer (Junior OF): Leads the Big Ten with a .361 batting average and is among the conference leaders in home runs (12), hits (65), doubles (17), RBIs (51) and runs scored (51)
- No. 42 Jordan Nwogu (Sophomore OF): Ranks fourth in the Big Ten in batting average (.350) and has eight home runs and 56 hits
- No. 2 Jack Blomgren (Sophomore INF): Hitting .314 with 55 hits, six doubles and 34 RBIs
Huskers Tied for Third in Big Ten Standings, 37th in RPI
• In Big Ten play, the Huskers are 13-8 (.619 winning percentage), which puts them in a three-way tie for third place in the league standings with Illinois and Minnesota.
• Michigan leads the Big Ten with a 15-5 record (.750), while Indiana is in second with a 14-7 mark (.667). Iowa is in sixth place at 12-9 (.571). The top eight teams make the Big Ten Tournament.
• In the RPI, Nebraska has the third-best ranking among Big Ten teams with the No. 37 spot. No. 22 Illinois and No. 28 Indiana ahead of the Huskers, while No. 48 Michigan and No. 70 Minnesota are behind Nebraska in the RPI.
• 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.
Henwood Achieves Academic All-District Status
• Senior infielder Alex Henwood earned CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 honors last week for his combined performances on the field and in the classroom this season.
• Henwood, who holds a 3.78 grade-point average in textiles, merchandising and fashion design, is one of four infielders on the District 7 team.
• Henwood has been named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar twice and also achieved Academic All-Big Ten accolades on two occasions. Henwood is a seven-time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll member and four-time Tom Osborne Citizenship Team selection.
Eddins Peaking at the Right Time
• After going 0-2 over his first four appearances this season, Reece Eddins has gone 6-0 in his last eight starts and his six wins lead the team this season.
• During that eight-game span, Eddins has gone 6.0 innings or more five times.
• In Big Ten games, Eddins is 5-0 with a team-best 2.40 ERA in seven starts.
Acker’s Breakout Season Continues
• After compiling 12 hits in 39 games over his first two years at Nebraska, junior Joe Acker has 38 hits in 35 games this season. He ranks second on the team with a .302 batting average this season.
• His last time out during the Northwestern series, Acker recorded at least one hit in all three games. Acker is currently on a career-long 13-game reaching base streak.
• Acker has 13 multi-hit efforts, the second-most on the team. He has six multi-RBI performances, tied for the most on the team.
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 32 starts this season, 29 of which have been at first base. He is batting .228 with 26 hits, 12 RBIs, 14 runs scored and seven doubles.
• On the mound, Gomes has made 14 appearances (two starts) and leads the team with 10 saves this season. His ERA is 3.06 in 17.2 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.
Waldron Continues Superb Senior Season
• Senior right-hander Matt Waldron, who has made 10 starts and 12 appearances overall, is 5-3 this season with a team-best 3.21 ERA.
• Waldron has 67 strikeouts and only five walks this season. His 13.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks first in the Big Ten and second in the nation, behind Elon’s George Kirby (17.50).
• Waldron has thrown a team-high 75.2 innings this season. He has gone at least 7.0 innings in seven of his last nine starts, including a complete game against Michigan State on March 22.
• In Big Ten play, Waldron is 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA in seven starts. He has recorded 37 strikeouts and two walks in 51.2 innings.
Waldron Climbing Up the Husker Charts
• Matt Waldron is ranked in the top 10 of several Nebraska pitching career record lists and continues to add to his impressive resume.
- 227 career strikeouts - sixth in program history
- 275.2 innings pitched - sixth in program history
- 20 wins - tied for ninth in program history
- 39 games started - 10th in program history
Palensky Powers Husker Offense
• Sophomore Aaron Palensky, a junior college transfer, leads the Huskers with a .343 batting average this season, which ranks sixth in the Big Ten.
• Palensky, who has started all 45 games, leads the Huskers in hits (62), runs scored (35), doubles (11), triples (2), home runs (4), total bases (89), slugging percentage (.492) and on-base percentage (.435).
• Palensky has at least one hit in 38 of 45 games this season, including a team-high 19 multi-hit efforts. Last weekend against Arizona State, Palensky went 5-for-11 with three RBIs. He has homered in two of his last four games.
There’s No Place Like Home
• Nebraska is 11-5 at home this season with three games at Hawks Field remaining.
• 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, and the North Dakota State game, scheduled for March 13, were not played.
• 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.
Newcomers Making Their Mark
• Nebraska’s nationally ranked recruiting class has played a key role in the team’s improvement this season. Of the 18 Huskers to register at least one at-bat this season, seven are newcomers (39 percent).
• Of the 18 Huskers to make at least one pitching appearance, five are newcomers (28 percent). On the mound, newcomers have accounted for 13 of Nebraska’s 14 saves this season.
• 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 strength of schedule is 46th nationally, according to WarrenNolan.com. NU’s non-conference strength of schedule is No. 3 in the nation.
• Nebraska has played five teams ranked in the top 30 of the RPI (as of May 15), including No. 17 Oregon State (four games), No. 9 Texas Tech, No. 23 Creighton (three games), No. 27 Baylor (three games) and No. 22 Illinois (three games). If not for a cancellation, Nebraska would’ve played No. 3 Mississippi State on March 3.
• Nebraska’s lone remaining regular-season opponent, Michigan, is ranked 48th in the RPI.
• Nebraska’s schedule has featured 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.
• One of Nebraska’s strengths under Head Coach Darin Erstad has been the bullpen. As a team, Nebraska has earned 14 saves, marking the ninth consecutive season the Huskers have recorded double-digit saves.
• Individually, Colby Gomes leads the team with 10 saves, marking the sixth consecutve season a Husker pitcher has reached double-digit saves 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: 205-20 (19-0 this season)
- After seven innings: 220-10 (23-0 this season)
- After eight innings: 234-6 (25-0 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
- John Sanders: 767 wins (1978-97; 20 seasons)
- Tony Sharpe: 399 wins (1947-77; 31 seasons)
- Mike Anderson: 337 wins (2003-11; 9 seasons)
- Darin Erstad: 261 wins (2012-present; 8th season)
- Dave Van Horn: 214 wins (1998-2002; 5 seasons)
• Erstad, the 2017 Big Ten Coach of the Year, holds a conference record of 109-76-1 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 109-76-1 in his eighth year
Hawks Field Surpasses 500th Husker Game
• 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 502 games all-time at Hawks Field. Last Friday night’s game against Arizona State was the 500th Husker baseball game at Hawks Field.
• In 2019, NU has averaged 4,530 fans per home game (through 16 home games), which ranks ninth in the nation and leads the Big Ten by a wide margin. Indiana ranks second in the conference in attendance with an average of 1,775 per home game.
• Nebraska holds a 363-138-1 record at Hawks Field, which includes an 11-5 mark this season. NU has a winning record at home during all 18 seasons at Hawks Field.
• 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 134-60 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.