Huskers Visit Wildcats for Big Ten Road Series
Nebraska - Northwestern
Fri., March 30 - 3 p.m.: Jr. Tom Lemke (RHP, 2-2) vs. Northwestern - Sr. Francis Brooke (RHP, 1-1)
Sat., March 31 - 1 p.m.: So. Jon Keller (RHP, 3-0) vs. Northwestern - Fr. Brandon Magallones (RHP, 4-0)
Sun., April 1 - 1 p.m.: So. Zach Hirsch (LHP, 3-1) vs. Northwestern - Jr. Zach Morton (RHP, 0-5)
Nebraska - Kansas State
Tues., April 3 - 6:35 p.m.: TBA vs. Kansas State - TBA
This Week: After posting a 12-5 record during its 17-game home stand, including series wins over defending Big Ten champion Illinois and Louisiana Tech, as well as a four-game series split with then No. 18 California, the Nebraska baseball hits the road for a three game series at Northwestern and a mid-week game at Kansas State next Tuesday.
Friday will mark the start of the Huskers' first ever Big Ten Conference series on the road, when the Wildcats and Huskers square off at 3 p.m. in Evanston, Ill., at Rocky Miller Park. The two teams will play 1 p.m. games on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Huskers then head to Manhattan, Kan., for one game with the Kansas State Wildcats. KSU has made two trips to Lincoln already this season, with Nebraska winning both meetings. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.
Tickets: Tickets at Northwestern are general admission and are $7 for adults and $4 for seniors 65 & older, faculty/staff, children 17 and under or students from other Universities with a valid student ID.
For Nebraska's game in Manhattan on Tuesday, tickets can be purchased at www.kstatesports.com. Reserved chairback seats are $12 and general admission chairback seats are $10. Adult general admission bench seats are $8, while youth general admission seats are $5.
Television: Friday's game at Northwestern will be streamed on the Internet at NUSports.com (subscription needed). At this time there will not be a stream on Saturday or Sunday. Tuesday's game at Kansas State will be shown on KStateSports.com (subscription needed).
On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe, Lane Grindle and Jeff Culhane call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln - and on the Internet at Huskers.com or the Official Husker App. A complete list of HSN affiliates can be found on page 9.
Head Coach Paul Stevens is in his 25th season at Northwestern and his team enters Friday's game with an 8-14 overall record and a 1-2 record in the Big Ten after opening conference play at Iowa last weekend.
This weekend will mark Northwestern's first home game at Rocky Miller Park after playing its first 22 games on the road.
Scoring runs have been a problem this year for the Wildcats, as they average just 5.0 runs per game, but their pitching has also been tough on opposing hitters, allowing just 5.64 runs per game.
The Wildcats hit .283 as a team, with Geoff Rowan (.364), Jack Havey (.311) and Zach Morton (.307) all hitting over .300. Northwestern is one of five teams in the Big Ten with less than 10 home runs on the year with nine, while Paul Snieder and Havey account for seven of the home runs with four and three, respectively.
Northwestern does not steal often with just 16 attempts on the year, but has been successful when they try with 11 steals on the season. Luke Dauch and Kyle Ruchim are tied for the team lead with three steals each.
The Wildcats pitching staff has been its strong point on the season with a team ERA of 4.05. Every starter the Huskers will see this weekend have an ERA under 4.00, including Friday night's starter, Francis Brooke, who bolsters a 1.77 ERA.
Brooke is 1-1 on the year in five starts and has struck out 22 in 35.2 innings of work, while walking just six. Brooke has given up 16 runs on the year, but only seven have been earned.
The Huskers will look to hand Brandon Magallones his first loss of the season on Saturday, as the freshman is 4-0 on the season in four starts with a 3.90 ERA. Over 30.0 innings of work, Magallones has given up 18 runs (13 earned) on 30 hits and 12 walks, while striking out 32.
Sunday's starter is schedule to be Zach Morton and he leads the team with 37.0 innings pitched. Morton is 0-5 on the season with a 3.41 ERA. Morton has been dinged up for 21 runs on the year, but only seven have been earned.
Of the Wildcats' starters this weekend, only Magallones has given up a home run on the year, with three.
Fielding has been an issue for Northwestern with 38 errors in 22 games. Through March 25, the Wildcats' .957 fielding percentage ranks 217th out of 291 teams nationally.
Through March 25, the Husker offense has given its pitching staff plenty of support with 8.4 runs per game, which ranks fourth nationally. NU also ranks seventh in batting average (.329), 13th in home runs per game (1.00) and seventh in slugging percentage (.487).
The Husker defense has also done its part with a .978 fielding percentage, which ranks 19th nationally.
New Kid on the Block
The Husker offense has taken over the Big Ten charts, as NU ranks first in runs (225), hits (311), RBI's (201), doubles (55), home runs (26), at-bats (952), slugging (.479), on-base percentage (.412).
Nebraska also ranks second in batting average (.327), walks (111) and fewest strikeouts (127).
Bolt on Energy
The Husker offense has seen major improvement under the direction of Associate Head Coach Will Bolt.
Looking at NU's numbers through 27 games in 2011 and 2012, the Huskers have struck out 67 fewer times, walked 21 more times, produced 28 more hits and scored 40 more runs.
When It Counts
After hitting below .300 last season with runners in scoring position, the Huskers have come up with big hits and are hitting .363 on the season.
Five Huskers are hitting over .400 with runners in scoring position, led by Kurt Farmer's .474 average (9-for-19), while Richard Stock is close behind with a .471 (16-for-34) average. Chad Christensen (.417), Kash Kalkowski (.417) and Josh Scheffert (.412) are also hitting over .400, while 10 Huskers are hitting .300 or better.
Bring on the Righties
After facing three right-handed starting pitchers against Illinois last weekend, the Huskers will see three righties again this weekend at Northwestern.
NU is hitting a blistering .348 against right-handed pitching with 18 home runs, five triples and 44 doubles.
Three Huskers are hitting .400 or better off right-handed pitching, including freshman Pat Kelly, who is hitting a team-high .524.
Just the Right Pritch
Sophomore Michael Pritchard has been one of the Huskers' most lethal weapons this season with a .398 batting average and an on-base percentage of .465. With Pritchard in the leadoff spot, the Huskers are 12-3 on the season.
A left-handed batter, Pritchard has been tough against right and left-handed pitching, with a .429 average (12-for-28) against lefties and a .383 average (23-for-60) against righties.
Most impressive, Pritchard has been one of the toughest players in the country to strikeout with only four K's in 85 at-bats through Sunday, March 25. Nationally that ranks Pritchard as the 22nd toughest player in the country to strikeout with a strikeout every 21.3 at bats.
In the Zone
Chad Christensen has taken his game to another level this season both with the bat and the glove.
Christensen leads the Huskers in nearly every offensive category, while he is tied for seventh nationally in hits with 42 and is ranked 25th in the country with 1.27 RBI's-per game.
Christensen is hitting .387 on the season with team-highs in home runs (6) and RBI's (33), while also committing just two errors in 131 chances in the field with 17 double plays.
Even though the Huskers entered the week ranked 10th nationally and lead the Big Ten Conference with 26 home runs through March 25, the Huskers have also put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses with their bunting.
On the year, the Huskers have 21 bunt singles through 27 games. In 55 games a year ago, the Huskers had just 16 bunt singles all season.
Chad Christensen, who leads the team in both home runs (6) and RBI's (33), also leads the team with seven bunt singles in seven attempts. Bryan Peters in next with four bunt singles, while Cory Burleson, Michael Pritchard, Kurt Farmer and Rich Sanguinetti each have two.
Overall, the Huskers are 21-for-27 (.778) when bunting for a base hit and also have 24 sacrifice bunts on the year, including a team-high nine from Sanguinetti.
Chicks Dig It
After hitting 30 home runs in 55 games last season, led by Cody Asche's 12 home runs, the Huskers are averaging nearly one home run per game in 2012 with 26 through the team's first 27 games.
In the Big Ten, no other teams has more than 20 homers and only five other teams have 10 or more. Michigan is the next closest at 16, while Indiana is third with 14.
Chad Christensen leads the Huskers with six home runs, which ties his single-season career high, while six other Huskers have at least two homers, including a career-high four from Kale Kiser and three each from Josh Scheffert, Kash Kalkowski and Pat Kelly.
What a Fourth
The Huskers strongest inning this season has been the fourth, where they've outscored opponents 39-2. 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 or their opponents this season in every inning but the first, where they have just 13 runs on the year, while giving up 16.
In the first three innings of the game the Huskers hold a 69-49 advantage in runs, but have destroyed opponent pitching their second time through the order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings with a 93-29 advantage.
In the seventh and eighth innings the Huskers hold a 51-26 advantage, including 37 runs in the eighth alone.
Take it for the Team
In 2011 the Huskers were hit by pitch 89 times, which tied them for 13th nationally. The team was led by Bryan Peters, who was hit 18 times to tie for 20th nationally.
A junior in 2012, Peters continues to climb the Husker career chart in hit-by-pitches and entered the year with 36, which tied him for fifth with Jake Mort (2005-09). Peters took over sole possession of third place on the career list with a HBP against Kansas State on Tuesday, March 6. It broke a three-way tie between Peters, Alex Gordon and Nick Sullivan. Peters enters Friday's game with 43 career HBP's.
Senior Kale Kiser is also on the career top-10 list and is right behind Peters in fourth place with 39 hit-by-pitches
Daniel Bruce (2002-05) holds the NU career record with 67 hit-by-pitches.20-20
Senior Kale Kiser is tough on opposing pitchers with his great eye at the plate. During his career at Nebraska Kiser has walked 86 times and struck out just 62 times. His 86 career walks rank 10th on the Huskers' all-time charts, while Joe Simokaitis is ninth (90) and Associate Head Coach Will Bolt ranks eighth (91).
Nationally through Sunday, March 25, Kiser ranks 15th with 23 walks on the season and his 0.96 walks per game rank 21st in Division I.
Kiser is hitting just .222 on the season, but continues to get on base for the Huskers with a .447 on base percentage. The senior is a career .288 hitter with a career .433 on-base percentage.
Tough With Two
The Huskers have gotten clutch hits all season with two outs, as the team has 71 two-out RBI's. Leading the way is Chad Christensen, who has driven in 16 of his team-leading 33 RBI's with two outs. Junior college transfer Richard Stock also has double-digit two-out RBI's with 12.
In 55 games a year ago, 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, Kash Kalkowski (14) and Bryan Peters (12).
Last season Christensen played in all 55 games and totaled just four two-out RBI's.
Cashing in on Rich
Texarkana CC transfer Rich Sanguinetti had been a key cog in the Husker offense so far this year. Hitting out of the two-hole in 23 of his 24 starts, Sanguinetti is hitting .340 on the year with a team-high nine sacrifice bunts and is tied with Chad Christensen for the team lead in triples with two. The junior center fielder has also driven in runs with six multi-RBI games on the year to rank him second on the team with 24 RBI's.
Pitchers Best Friend
Through 27 games the Huskers have turned 25 double plays. NU is on pace to turn just over 51 double plays this season after only converting 35 a year ago.
Home Sweet Hawks
The Nebraska baseball program is celebrating its 11th year at Hawks Field in 2012. The Huskers are 241-83-1 (.743) since opening the park on March 5, 2002 with a 23-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.
Nebraska plays a total of 31 games at Hawks Field in 2012, and are 12-5 at Hawks Field after wrapping up a 17-game homestand with a 6-3 win over Kansas State.
Off to the Right Start
The Huskers 2-1 Big Ten series win over Illinois got the Huskers off on the right foot for the first time since 2008. The last time the Huskers opened conference play with a series win was the 2008 season, when the Huskers swept Kansas State in Manhattan.
Now the Huskers will look to win back-to-back conference series this weekend at Northwestern. The last time NU won consecutive conference series was in 2008 at member of the Big 12 Conference when NU took 2-of-3 from Baylor and Texas A&M.
Freshmen Pat Kelly and Austin Darby have been big additions to the Huskers this season as the two are each hitting over .330, including a team-high average of .419 (18-for-43) for Kelly.
Kelly and Darby have combined to start 27 games, while hitting eight doubles, one triple, four home runs and 21 RBI's.
Darby has seen time in right field, while Kelly has started at shortstop, second base and designated hitter.
Nebraska's 2-2 series split with the No. 18 California Golden Bears snapped a series losing streak to ranked squads.
The Huskers had lost their last four series against ranked teams since taking 2-of-3 from No. 5 UCLA at Hawks Field in early March last season.
He Gets My Vote
Righty Dylan Vogt has arguably been the Huskers top arm out of the bullpen with a 1.23 ERA in 22.0 innings of work over 12 appearances.
After giving up three runs in his first appearances of the year, Vogt had given up just three runs total since and is holding opposing batters to a .222 batting average.
The Right 'Hander'
Junior Ryan Hander is the Huskers' go-to guy this year against right-handed hitters, as he is holding righties to a .133 batting average. Hander has a 1.38 ERA on the year over 13.0 innings of work and has given up only one extra-base hit this season.
After hitting just .220 as a sophomore following a .301 average as a freshman, Josh Scheffert re-tooled his swing and is seeing success with a .409 average in 2012.
Recently he earned the team's first ever Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honor for his successful week from March 12-18. For the week, Scheffert hit .650 with three home runs, 10 RBI's and nine runs scored.
The junior is riding a five-game hitting streak, including a career-high five hits against Louisiana Tech on March 17. Over his last five games, Scheffert has three doubles, one home run and six RBI's.
Huskers Picked Fourth by
The Big Ten coaches have picked Nebraska to finish fourth out of the league's 11 teams in 2012. Three Husker juniors were also named to the 'Players to Watch List', including right-handled pitcher Travis Huber, right-handed pitcher Tom Lemke and first baseman/designated hitter Kash Kalkowski.
After winning a share of the of the Big Ten title last season for the first time since 1979, Michigan State was picked as the league favorite. The Spartans were followed by Purdue, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Illinois, as only the top six teams were released by the conference office.
Huskers Across the Country
The 2012 Huskers hale from 12 different from all across the nation. Nebraska natives make up 12 of the 32 players on the 2012 roster, while Texas has the second most representatives at five. Other states with more than one player include, Iowa (3), Colorado (3), Arizona (2) and Kansas (2).