Huskers Host Shockers for Final Home Game of 2012
(32-19, 12-9 Big Ten) vs. Wichita State (32-22, 10-8 MVC)
Tuesday - Zach Hirsch, So., LHP (4-4) vs. Tobin Mateychick, So., RHP (3-1)
This Week: Fresh off a series sweep of the Minnesota Golden Gophers this past weekend at Hawks Field, the Nebraska baseball team (32-19, 12-9 Big Ten) hosts the Wichita State Shockers on Tuesday night in its 2012 home finale. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and the game will be shown across the state of Nebraska on NET.
The Huskers enter Tuesday's game with a 20-9 record this season at Hawks Field, while Wichita State is 8-9 on the road this season.
Sophomore Zach Hirsch is scheduled to take the mound for the Huskers for his team-leading 13th start of the season. The lefty is 4-4 on the year with a 5.59 ERA and has worked a team-high 56.1 innings.
Wichita State will counter will fellow sophomore and right-handed pitcher Tobin Mateychick. He has a 3-1 record and a 5.06 ERA in seven appearances, including four starts. Over 21.1 innings of work, Mateychick has given up 16 runs (12 earned) on 23 hits and 11 walks, while striking out 11.
Tickets: For Tuesday's game with Wichita State, single-game tickets can be purchased at Huskers.com, by calling 1-800-8BIGRED or by visiting the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office across the street from Memorial Stadium. Tickets can also be purchased on game day at the Hawks Field box office, which is located on the third-base side. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets prior to game day.
Television: Tuesday's game with Wichita State will both be shown across the state of Nebraska on NET and streamed live on BTN.com (subscription required).
On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe, Jeff Culhane and Lane Grindle call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM and 94.5 FM 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.
Moving on Up
Sitting in seventh place in the Big Ten standing entering last weekend's series with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Huskers picked up their first Big Ten series sweep of the year and got themselves back in the conference tournament.
With three Big Ten games remaining, the Huskers are tied with Michigan State for fourth in the league and are one game back of both Indiana and Penn State for second place.
The Huskers end the season at Michigan, while Indiana hosts Ohio State and Penn State travels to Michigan State.
Just a Freshman?
Freshman Pat Kelly has made a quick transition to college pitching, as the Red Wing, Minn., is fourth on the team with a .341 batting average and leads the squad with a .581 slugging percentage
Kelly is even better with a teammate on base, hitting .388 on the season. With a runner on third and less than two outs, Kelly has 10 RBI's in 16 attempts.
Kelly has hit throughout the Husker lineup and has produced 15 extra-base hits, including six doubles, two triples and seven home runs. His seven homers are the most by a Husker freshman since Alex Gordon his seven in 2003.
He has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice, including this past week for his big weekend against Minnesota.
Kelly hit .444 (8-for-18) last week in four starts with two home runs and 15 total bases.
Transfer Richard Stock has been a welcome addition to the Husker offense in 2012. The junior from Westlake Village, Calif., is second on the team with a .352 average, while leading the team in both doubles (15) and triples (3).
His 93 total bases rank second on the team to Chad Christensen's 102, while Stock is also slugging .520 and has an on-base percentage of .384.
Stock came to the Huskers as a catcher, but has developed into the Huskers' primary first baseman, while also serving as Cory Burleson's backup at the plate.
During Big Ten play Stock has been even better at the plate, as he is tied for the conference lead in hits (34) and is third in the league in batting average (.395).
Stock has produced three hits in a game eight times this year, including two games with four hits. The junior also has eight multi-RBI games on the season and is riding an 14-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game against Wichita State. It is the longest active streak on the team this year and the second longest streak behind Michael Pritchard's 25-game hitting streak.
A 45th-round pick out of high school by the Milwaukee Brewers, Stock has found new life at Nebraska after playing his freshman season at USC and last season at Pierce College in Los Angeles.
Packing the Park
Through May 13, the Huskers rank 12th in the country in average home attendance with 3,730 fans per game and 13th in overall attendance with 104,436 fans through the gates at Hawks Field.
No other Big Ten team ranks in the top 45 of either category.
Against Purdue, the Huskers had their two largest crowds of the season with 6,257 fans on Saturday, April 20 and 6,014 fans on Sunday, April 21.
For the weekend against the Boilermakers, 16,979 fans piled into Hawks Field.
Home Sweet Hawks
The Nebraska baseball program is celebrating its 11th year at Hawks Field in 2012. The Huskers are 249-87-1 (.740) since opening the park on March 5, 2002 with a 23-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.
Nebraska finishes it's home slate on Tuesday when it hosts Wichita State. The Huskers are 20-9 at Hawks Field this season.
Chicks Dig It
After hitting 30 home runs in 55 games last season, led by Cody Asche's 12 home runs, the Huskers have already surpassed last year's total with 44 home runs in 51 games this season, including a team-high nine home runs from Chad Christensen.
In the Big Ten, Indiana and Penn State are tied for second with 33 home runs each, while Michigan is the only other program with more than 30 home runs with 31.
All Good Things Come to an End
Michael Pritchard 25-game hitting streak came to an end on Friday, May 11 when he went 0-for-4 against Minnesota.
Pritchard tied Derek Dukart for the third-longest hitting streak at NU since 1958 at 25 games with a 4-for-4 performance against Creighton the previous Tuesday on May 8.
The streak started in the Huskers' Big Ten opener against Illinois on March 23, when the Pritchard produced two hits.
He notched at least a pair of hits 10 times during the streak, including three or more hits twice.
Francis Collins holds the NU school record with a 38-game hitting streak in 1996, while Ken Ramos is second with a 28-game streak in 1987.
No statistics on hitting streaks prior to the Huskers joining the Big Eight Conference in 1958 are available.
Bark at the Park
Fans are welcome to bring their dogs to Hawks Field on Tuesday when Nebraska hosts Wichita State at 6:35 p.m.
All vaccinated and leashed dogs are admitted free general admission with an accompanied owner. Dogs are permitted in the berm areas only. Dogs will not be permitted in the reserved seating areas.
Tough With Two
The Huskers have come up with clutch hits all season with two outs, as 114 of the team's 329 RBI's have come with two outs. In 55 games a year ago the Huskers' totaled 91 two-out RBI's.
Leading the way is Chad Christensen, who has driven in 24 of his team-leading 46 RBI's with two outs. Last season Christensen played in all 55 games and totaled just four two-out RBI's.
Juniors Richard Stock (17), Kash Kalkowski (16), Josh Scheffert (14) and Rich Sanguinetti (10) also each have double-digit two-out RBI's, to give the Huskers five players with 10 or more two-out RBI's.
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, Kalkowski (14) and Bryan Peters (12).
Give it to the Bullpen
The depth and talent of Nebraska's bullpen has been one of its biggest strengths this season.
During Big Ten play, the Huskers are 11-0 when leading after the sixth inning, 10-0 when leading after the seventh and 11-0 when leading after the eighth inning.
Overall, NU is 28-4 when leading through six innings, 27-3 when leading through seven and 28-2 when leading after eighth innings.
Helping the Pitching Staff
Through 51 games the Huskers have turned 48 double plays. NU is on pace to turn just over 51 double plays this season after only converting 35 a year ago.
Setting the Pace
Sophomore leadoff-hitter Michael Pritchard has been one of the Huskers' most lethal weapons this season with a Big Ten-leading .384 batting average. Michigan State's Ryan Jones is second in the conference with a .371 average.
Pritchard carries a .432 on-base percentage, which is trails Kale Kiser's team leading .440 on-base percentage by just eight points.
K For Kubat
After starting three games at the beginning of the season, freshman Kyle Kubat became a tough arm out of the bullpen for the Huskers during conference play.
Kubat then moved into the starting rotation prior to the Indiana series and has won back-to-back starters for NU.
Kubat shut down the Hoosiers with a career-high seven strikeouts, the most by a Husker in 2012, over a career-high 6.2 innings of work to improve to 3-0 on the year.
After giving up two runs on three hits in the first inning against IU, Kubat found his rhythm and gave up just one hit and didn't allow a runner past second base over the next 5.2 innings.
Kubat opened the Huskers series against Minnesota's TJ Oakes, arguably the top pitcher in the Big Ten. Kubat held his own over 6.0 innings, as he gave up three runs, all unearned, on three hits and one walk, while striking out three. NU won the game 4-3 and Kubat improved to 4-0 on the year.
In five appearances during Big Ten play, Kubat has a 1.19 ERA over 22.2 innings of work and is holding opposing batters to a .225 batting average. The 6-1 lefty has allowed 18 hits and has given up seven walks, while striking out 16.
Only Brandon Pierce has move strikeouts during Big Ten play with 20, but he thrown 9.2 more innings.
6 is the Magic Number
Nebraska is 10-1 this during Big Ten play when scoring six or more runs and the Huskers are 9-1 when holding opponents to less than 6 runs.
NU is 1-8 when scoring less than six runs during conference play and is 2-8 when opponents score six or more runs.
Get on Top
Scoring the game's first runs has been important for the Huskers during Big Ten play.
In the first 21 games of the Big Ten schedule, the Huskers are 7-2 when taking the first lead of a game. When the opposition scores first, the Huskers are 5-7.
Own the Fourth
The Huskers strongest inning this season has been the fourth, where they've outscored opponents 81-19. 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 their opponents this season in every inning but the first (19-40) and the seventh (22-29).
In the first three innings of the game the Huskers tie the opposition 103-103, but they have destroyed opponent pitching the second time through the order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings with a 166-76 advantage.
In the seventh and eighth innings the Huskers keep up the pressure and hold a 66-50 advantage, including a 44-21 advantage in the eighth inning.Put it in Play
Nebraska's Richard Stock and Kash Kalkowski has been two of the Huskers' most aggressive hitters at the plate this year with 11 combined walks in 335 combined at bats.
Kalkowski's four walks are tied for the lowest on the team in his 156 at bats, while Stock has just seven walks in 179 at bats.
Even more impressive, Stock has just 14 strikeouts and Kalkowski has just 15 strikeouts on the year.
Of the Husker regulars, Michael Pritchard leads the team with only 10 strikeouts in 185 at bats, or one strikeout every 18.5 at bats.
Even though the Huskers lead the Big Ten Conference with 44 home runs through May 13, Nebraska has also put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses with their bunting.
On the year, the Huskers have 33 bunt singles through 51 games. In 55 games a year ago, the Huskers had just 16 bunt singles all season.
Chad Christensen, who leads the team with nine home runs, also leads the team with eight bunt singles in 10 attempts.
Michael Pritchard and Rich Sanguinetti are next with five bunts singles each , while Bryan Peters has four. Cory Burleson and Austin Darby each have three bunt singles.
Overall, the Huskers are 33-for-44 (.750) when bunting for a base hit and also have 40 sacrifice bunts on the year.
Rich Sanguinetti leads the team with 12 sacrifice bunts.
What a Difference a Year Makes
After struggling through a sophomore season that saw him hit .220 with four doubles, two home runs and 18 RBI's in 43 games, Josh Scheffert went back to the drawing board this summer and worked on his swing.
The Lincoln native's hard work has paid off so far in 2012, as he has been named Big Ten Player of the Week twice.
The junior is third on the team with a .344 average and is second on the team in home runs with eight. He is tied with Rich Sanguinetti for second on the team in doubles (10) and ranks third on the team in RBI's (37).
His biggest improvement has come in his strikeout total. Last season Scheffert struck out 41 times in 150 at bats over 43 games, while this year he has just 21 strikeouts in 151 at bats over 43 games.
Scheffert has also been solid in the field at both corners of the diamond. He has just four errors on the season in 198 chances.
It's Not Nice to Steal
Catcher Cory Burleson has been one of the most important cogs of the Husker defense this season with 18 runners caught stealing, which tops his season total of 14 from 2011.
The senior backstop has slowed down the opposition's running game, as team's have stolen just 15 bases in 33 attempts (.454) this season, with two of the 15 steals coming from Illinois on a double steal.
During Big Ten play, Burleson has thrown out eight runners in 16 attempts.
Through May 13, Northwestern's Geoff Rowan (27) and Indiana's Kyle Schwarber (24) are the only catchers in the Big Ten with more runners thrown out than Burleson, but Rowan has the second most steals allowed with 42 and Schwarber is third with 39.
10 catchers in the Big Ten have allowed 20 or more steals on the year, including six who have allowed 25 or more. Illinois' Kelly Norris-Jones has allowed a league-high 47 stolen bases.
Burleson has worked hard in the offseason to improve his game after allowing 26 steals in 40 attempts a year ago.
Vogt of Confidence
Dylan Vogt has been the Huskers' go to man out of the bullpen with a 1.90 ERA in 23 appearances.
This past weekend against Minnesota, Vogt picked up a pair of saves when he closed games one and three.
The junior righty has worked 47.1 innings and struck out 28, while holding opponents to a .247 batting average.
Prior to his appearances against Indiana on May 6 when he gave up two runs in 3.1 innings of work, Vogt had pitched 14.0 straight shutout innings over six appearances.
After battling through an early season groin injury, Kash Kalkowski has steadily returned to form for the Huskers.
Following his 13th game of the year against South Dakota State on March 13, Kalkowski was hitting .256 on the year with one home run, which came in the season opener against Gonzaga, and eight RBI's.
Since the game against the Jackrabbits, Kalkowski has played in 29 games and has raised his average to .328, while also hitting three home runs and driving in 24 runs.
Texarkana CC transfer Rich Sanguinetti had been a key cog in the Husker offense this season.
Sanguinetti is hitting .307 on the year with a team-high 12 sacrifice bunts and is second on the team with 38 RBI's.
Under the direction of Head Coach Darin Erstad and Associate Head Coach Will Bolt, the Nebraska offense has seen great improvement across the board from a year ago.
During conference play the Huskers are hitting .306 as a team, with seven players hitting .300 or better, including a team-leading .395 average from Richard Stock.
In 2011, the Huskers hit .236 during conference play and just two players hit over .300, including Cody Asche (.351) and Michael Pritchard (.340).
Senior Kale Kiser is tough on opposing pitchers with his great eye at the plate. During his career at Nebraska, Kiser has walked 95 times and struck out just 69 times for a 1.38 walk/strikeout ratio.
Kiser is hitting .261 on the season, but continues to get on base for the Huskers with a team-high .440 on base percentage.
His team-high 33 walks are the fifth most in the Big Ten and his 13 HBP's are tied for tops in the league with Josh Dezse of Ohio State.
Kiser has also seen a surge in his power number with six home runs this season. In his first three seasons at NU, Kiser hit a total of six home runs.