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Huskers Open Big Ten Play at Iowa
Iowa native Ben Miller is hitting .412 on the year
Photo Courtesy Nate Olsen/NU Media Relations
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
03/20/2014
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Friday, March 21 – 3 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP DeLeon (2-1) vs. RPH Mathews (2-10
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (Hawkeye All-Access, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Saturday, March 22 –2 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP Sinclair (3-0) vs. LHP Kuebel (2-0)
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (Hawkeye All-Access, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network 

Sunday, March 23 – 1 p.m.
Probable Starters: LHP Bummer (2-2) vs. RHP Peyton (3-0)
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (Hawkeye All-Access, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network 

Up Next for the Huskers
The Nebraska baseball team opens Big Ten Conference play this weekend when it travels to Iowa City, Iowa, for a three-games series against the Big Ten leading Iowa Hawkeyes at Duane Banks Field. The Huskers will be playing in Iowa for the second straight season after taking 2-of-3 on the road last year during conference play.

The Huskers are coming off a 7-2 homestand that was capped with a 5-4 come-from-behind victory in 10 innings over Creighton on Wednesday night at Hawks Field.

Friday’s game will mark the 2014 home opener for the Hawkeyes, who were set to open at home against Mt. Mercy on Wednesday, but the game was canceled.

The Huskers enter the weekend fourth in the Big Ten with a 12-7 record, while the Hawkeyes sit in first with a 12-5 record. Iowa started the year 9-1 before getting swept in a three-game series at Kansas State. The Hawkeyes bounced back with a 3-1 record last weekend at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., as they posted wins over Saint Joseph’s and Otterbein University (NCAA DIII), while splitting a pair of games with Georgetown.

At the plate the Huskers are hitting .321 as a team and have 12 players hitting over .300, including freshman Ben Miller, who leads the team with a .412 average.

After starting on Saturday the past two weekends, senior Christian DeLeon moves back to the Friday starter role against the Hawkeyes and will look to improve to 2-0 against Iowa in his career after winning last season’s series opener in Iowa City. The 6-3 righty is coming off a dominant start over No. 25 UC Irvine, where he gave up a pair of earned runs over 8.0 innings of work in a Husker win.

Junior Chance Sinclair will move up a day in the rotation and throw on Saturday after starting on Sunday the first five weeks of the season. Sinclair has gone at least 6.0 innings in four of his five starts and is 3-0 on the year with a 0.64 ERA. The 6-4 transfer from Neosho County CC has held opposing hitters to a .216 average in 28.1 innings of work.

Lefty Aaron Bummer returns to the weekend rotation and will throw on Sunday against the Hawkeyes. The junior from Peoria, Ariz., was in the weekend rotation the first three weeks of the season before posting a midweek victory over Northern Colorado on March 11. The victory over the Bears was his best performance of the season, as he tied a career-high with five strikeouts.

On the Radio this Week
Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen to Lane Grindle and Ben McLaughlin call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM and 94.5 FM in Lincoln - and live on the Internet at Huskers.com or the Official Husker App.

TV Coverage this Week
No TV coverage this weekend.

Web Streams this Week
A free radio stream of every game during the 2014 season will be provided on Huskers.com.

Iowa will provide a live video stream of all three games this weekend on Hawkeye All-Access, but a premium subscription is required. Fans can access the video stream at http://www.hawkeyesports.com/allaccess

Nebraska-Iowa Series History
Nebraska holds a 14-8 lead in the all-time series with Iowa, including a 4-2 since 2012 when the Huskers joined the Big Ten.

Last season the Huskers took the first two games of the series, but the Hawkeyes were able to avoid a sweep with a 6-5 win in the series finale. In the loss, the Huskers trailed by three entering the ninth and had the bases loaded with no outs, but after scoring a pair of runs a double play ended the game with the tying run stranded at third base.

The first ever meeting between Nebraska and Iowa came during the 1897 season when the Huskers won at Iowa, 14-7. The first eight games in the series all took place in Iowa, with the teams splitting the series, 4-4. The teams met in 1930 and then didn’t meet for 75 years, as the series was renewed with the first ever game in Lincoln in 2005, with Nebraska winning, 6-1.

Series History
1987 at Iowa W, 14-7
1902 at Iowa W, 7-2
1905 at Iowa L, 2-3
1906 at Iowa L, 2-3
1907 at Iowa L, 2-5
1908 at Iowa W, 5-2
1930 at Iowa W, 2-0
   at Iowa L, 2-3
2005 Iowa W, 6-1
2006 at Iowa W, 16-14 (13)
2007 vs. Iowa L, 8-12 (8)
   Iowa W, 7-6
2009 Iowa W, 8-5
2010 at Iowa L, 2-5
2011 Iowa W, 7-3
2012 Iowa L, 3-4
   Iowa W, 9-4
   Iowa W, 9-8
2013 at Iowa W, 12-5
   at Iowa W, 12-8
   at Iowa L, 5-6

Scouting the Iowa Hawkeyes
The Iowa Hawkeyes enter the weekend atop the Big Ten standings with a 12-5 record under first-year Head Coach Rick Heller.

Heller was named the 20th head coach in Iowa baseball history on July 12, 2013, taking over for the fired Jack Dahm, who spent 10 seasons at the helm of the program. Heller joined the Hawkeyes after serving as head coach at Indiana State the last four seasons.

The Hawkeyes are looking to improve on their eighth place finish from a year ago when they were 10-14 in the Big Ten with an overall record of 22-27.

Iowa’s record so far this year could be a bit deceiving, as the Hawkeyes haven’t defeated a top 100-RPI team (Boyd’s World) this season. The only top-100 RPI team they’ve played in Kansas State (76), who they were swept by. Iowa’s only top-150 wins are over Ball State (125) and Saint Joseph’s (126). Eight of Iowa’s wins this year have come against a team with an RPI of 200 or greater. Iowa enters the weekend with an RPI of 90.

In comparison, the Huskers (RPI 75), have played seven games against teams in the RPI top 100 and are 5-2 in those contests. Northern Colorado is the only team Nebraska has played with an RPI above 200.

Iowa has been carried by its offense this season, as the team is hitting .309, while scoring an average of 8.3 runs per game. The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in several categories, including runs (142), doubles (38) and home runs (11), while ranking second in average, hits (187), and RBIs (123).

The Huskers lead the conference in average (.321), hits (217) and RBIs (127).

Jake Mangler (.364), Jake Yacinich (.359) and Dan Potempa (.359) are all hitting over .350 on the season, with Mangler leading the team in hits (24) and is second on the team in RBIs with (19).

Mangler, along with Taylor Zeutenhorst and 2013 second-team All-Big Ten outfielder Eric Toole each have hit five doubles on the year, while Zeutenhorst leads the team with four home runs and 21 RBIs.

The Hawkeyes are prone to striking out with 124 on the season, an average of 7.2 per game. To help curve that number, UI batters will be on top of the plate, as they have been HBP 25 times this season. They also rank second in the Big Ten with 79 walks on the year.

Sophomore Calvin Mathews is set to get the ball for Iowa on Friday and will look to improve to 3-1 on the year. The 6-4 righty from Bloomfield, Iowa, have thrown 30.0 innings over five starts in 2014 and has 27 strikeouts, while holding opposing batters to a .198 average. Selected as the 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Iowa, Mathews made nine starts in 10 appearances last season as a true freshman. He was 2-5 with a 4.91 ERA over 40.1 innings.

Tabbed as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and a second-team All-Big Ten performer in 2012, junior Sasha Kuebel gets the ball on Saturday against the Huskers. A 31st round pick by the Oakland Athletics out of St. Louis University High School in 2011, Kuebel is 2-0 in 2014, but has an ERA of 7.32. The 6-1 lefty has made four starts over five appearances and has given up 21 runs (16 earned) in 19.2 innings of works. He has allowed 29 hits, including seven doubles, as opponents are hitting .354 on the year. During his three-year career, Kuebel is 10-8 with a 4.21 ERA.

Newcomer Tyler Peyton is scheduled to start on Sunday and is in his first year at Iowa after spending one season at Iowa Central CC. A native of Grimes, Iowa, Peyton is 3-0 on the year in five starts with a 4.70 ERA. Peyton has thrown a team-high 30.2 innings, while ranking second on the team in strikeouts (26) and leads the team in walks with 13.

If the Hawkeyes have a lead late, the Huskers will likely see Nick Hibbing, who leads the team with three saves. Over eight relief appearances, the 6-6 righty has a 5.59 ERA in 9.2 innings of work, allowing eight runs (six earned) on eight hits and five walks, but he has struck out 11.

Big Part of the Schedule
Big Ten Conference play starts on Friday in Iowa City and the Huskers will try to start a road to a Big Ten title.

The Huskers finished tied for second in the league last season after finished fourth in their first season in 2012. The Huskers last won a regular-season title in 2005, when they also took the Big 12 Tournament crown.

The 2014 Big Ten Tournament will be held right down the road in Omaha at TD Ameritrade Park.

Road Warriors
Last season the Huskers were 9-3 in their 12 Big Ten road games, as they won all four of their conference series.

The Huskers scored 180 runs in 24 league games a year ago, with 100 runs coming in road games. Away from Hawks Field last season during conference play, the Huskers averaged 8.3 runs per game.

Rest the Pen
Since joining the Huskers last season, Christian DeLeon has made 19 starts for the Huskers.

The senior has gone at least 6.0 innings 16 times, at least 7.0 innings nine times and 8.0 or more innings five times.

DeLeon has gone 6.0 or more innings in his last four starts this season, including an 8.0 inning outing last weekend in a win over UC Irvine.

National Noise
The Huskers entered the week ranked 10th in the country with a .322 batting average, 21st in scoring with 7.4 runs per game and 28th in hits with 205.

The Huskers also ranked in the top 50 in doubles (34) and on-base percentage (38).

Like Your Chances with Sinclair
Junior Chance Sinclair has gone 6.0 or more innings in four of his five starts, including a pair 7.0-inning gems. The 6-4 righty is 3-0 on the year with a 0.64 ERA, which ranks 21st in the country and is tops in the Big Ten.

Turn on the Jets
The the week, Nebraska had produced 11 triples on the year to rank fifth in the country. Individually, Michael Pritchard leads the Big Ten and ranks 22nd nationally with three triples, while Ryan Boldt, Austin Darby and Blake Headley each have a pair of triples on the year.

Last season the Huskers didn’t have 11 triples until the 52nd game of the season on May 16, when the Huskers slugged two triples in the series opener against Michigan at Hawks Field.

The single-season team record for triples is 38 by the 1980 squad, while Shawn Buchanan set the individual single-season record in 1990 with nine.

Join the Club
Last season Chad Christensen became the 20th player in Nebraska history to join the 200-hit club with his walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th inning against Northwestern on Friday, March 29.

Prior to Christensen, Jake Opitz was the last Husker to join the club, as he ended his four-year career in 2008 with 227 career hits.

Michael Pritchard is now looking to join the club, entering Tuesday’s game with Creighton he is one hit shy of 200 and ranks 21st in school history with 199 hits.

Matt Hopper holds the school record with 338 career hits and is one of just two players in school history to have topped 300 hits. Jeff Leise sits second on the career charts with 305 career hits.

Freshmen Stepping Up
Freshmen Ryan Boldt and Ben Miller have been key cogs in Nebraska’s success this year, as both are hitting over .330 on the season.

Boldt has started 17 of Nebraska’s 18 games and is hitting .333 with 13 RBIs, while also tied with Michael Pritchard for the team lead in doubles with six. In each of Nebraska’s last two weekend series Boldt has hit .600 or better for the weekend, hitting .600 (6-for-10) in a three-game sweep of St. John’s and .615 (8-for-13) this past weekend in a 2-1 series win over No. 25 UC Irvine with four doubles against the Anteaters.

Miller leads the Huskers with a .412 average and launched his first career home run on Wednesday night in a win over Creighton. The 6-3 lefty started a pair of games against the Red Storm and hit .429 with five RBIs, while he was even more impressive against the Anteaters last weekend with a .455 average. The Iowa product had five hits, including two doubles, and scored four runs against UCI’s potent pitching staff.

Miller has also made three appearances to the mound for the Huskers in 2014, producing five strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.

Pritchard Off Pace
When Michael Pritchard’s 57-game on-base streak came to an end on March 14 with an 0-for-4 performance against UC Irvine, it was part of a current 0-for-13 slump for Pritchard.

It may not seem like long, but it is tied for the longest slump of his career, as he also went through an 0-for-13 stretch as a freshman in 2011.

Big Innings
Nebraska has scored just under a third of its runs in two innings this year, as 45 of the Huskers 138 runs have come in the sixth and eighth innings.

The Huskers are out scoring opponents 18-4 in the second inning and 27-9 in the sixth inning of games this season.

Nebraska needs to get off to a better start thought, as opponents hold a 15-9 run advantage in the first inning this season. The only other innings opponents hold an advantage is the fifth, 20-17.

Good Eye
The Huskers have struck out 85 times this year, an average of 4.5 times per game, but more impressively the Huskers have 74 walks on the year, an average of 3.9 per game.

Combined with their eight HBP, the Huskers have nearly drawn more free passes then strikeouts this season, 85-82.

Leadoff hitter Austin Darby has led the charge with 13 walks to seven strikeouts.

Lean on Hirsch
Zach Hirsch has been one of Nebraska’s best arms out of the bullpen in 2014.

The one-time starter has made 10 appearances out of the pen in 2014 and holds a 2.13 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .143 average over 13.2 innings of work.

Hirsch enters Friday tied with Bob Greco for second on the team with 13 strikeouts.

Rely on Roeder
Junior Josh Roeder has picked up right where he left off in 2013, as the right-handed has earned two wins and a three saves in seven appearances this year. The righty has a 0.00 ERA over 6.1 innings of work.

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 was 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 Trace Dempsey and Indiana’s Ryan Halstead.

Kelly Keeps Hitting
Opposing pitchers don’t want to see junior Pat Kelly after he has an 0-for-3 or worse game.

Kelly was 0-for-3 in the season opener against Pacific and responded by going a career-best 5-for-5 against No. 2 Oregon State the next afternoon.

In 123 career games, Kelly has gone 0-for-3 or worse 20 times. Only twice following those has he not produced at least one hit in the following game. Following three 0-for-games he has rallied with at least four hits.

Through 19 games this season, Kelly leads the team with 27 hits and a team-high 18 RBIs.

Last season, Kelly led the team in hits with 85, while ranking third in batting average (.331), RBIs (33) and doubles (12). The Red Wing, Minn., native tied former first-team All-American John Cole (2001) for sixth in the single-season record book with 70 singles on the year.

Kelly is one of just six players in program history to produce 70 of more singles in a single season, while school-record holder Francis Collins (86 in 1997; 79 in 1996) achieved the feat twice.

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