Huskers Host Northern Colorado

By NU Athletic Communications

Media Info
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network and for free on the Internet at
Live Stats:
Live Video: HuskersNside (subscription required)
Television: None

Weekend Schedule






March 8

Northern Colorado (5-4)

2:05 p.m.


March 9

Northern Colorado (DH)

12:05 p.m.


March 9

Northern Colorado (DH)

30 min. after game-1


March 10

Northern Colorado

1:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers



Northern Colorado


Johnny Dorn, Sr., RHP
(1-0, 1.38)

Chris Reap, Sr., RHP
(1-0, 4.09)

Sun. (G-1)

Dan Jennings, Jr., LHP
(1-0, 2.79 ERA)

Jon Klausing, Sr., LHP
(1-0, 1.50)

Sun. (G-2)

Thad Weber, Sr., RHP
(1-1, 9.00 ERA)

T.R. Keating, Sr., RHP
(2-0, 3.00)


Aaron Pribanic, Jr., RHP
(1-0, 1.86 ERA)

Dan Kazell, Sr., RHP
(0-0, 9.35)

This Weekend: The Nebraska baseball program continues its homestand this weekend with a four-game series against Northern Colorado. The schedule has been shifted from a Friday-Sunday series to a Saturday-Monday series because of cold tempatures expected Friday.

Tickets: General admission tickets for all Nebraska baseball regular-season games can be purchased on or at the Hawks Field Ticket Office beginning 90 minutes before first pitch. GA Tickets are $7 (adults) and $5 (youth and seniors) while both UNL students (with valid ID) and children ages six and under are admitted for free. Because of the schedule changes, fans who had tickets for Friday’s originally scheduled game (#5 in the season ticket package) should use those tickets on Monday for reserved or suite admission. Those tickets can also be used for general admission seating for any other regular-season game, depending on the availability. 

On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska can listen to Greg Sharpe, Lane Grindle and Adrian Fiala call all of the action on Husker Sports Network - including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln and KRVN 880 AM in Lexington - and on the Internet at Sunday’s doubleheader will be joined in progress following the conclusion of the men’s basketball game against Colorado.  In addition, fans can also watch all four games live on HuskersNside with complete audio from the Husker Sports Network. For subscription information, visit

Last Time Out: Nick Sullivan went 2-for-2 with a career-high three RBIs, lifting the Huskers to an 11-2 victory over Nebraska-Kearney on Tuesday. Sullivan, whose third inning RBI single broke a 2-all tie, paced a balanced Husker attack. Mitch Abeita, Bryce Nimmo and DJ Belfonte had two hits apiece while seven different Huskers drove in at least one run.  Nimmo went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and matched his personal best with four runs scored while Abeita scored three times. Freshman Casey Hauptmann allowed RBI doubles to Nate Swearer and Joe Nowaczyk in the first before settling down, retiring seven of the next eight hitters he faced. From there, the Husker bullpen took over with six shutout innings of five-hit relief, as Joe Hatasaki collected his first career win.

  • 3 Things to Watch
    1.  Nebraska’s current five-game win streak is its longest since a six-game win streak in April of 2006. 
    2. Since the opener, the Husker pitching staff has a 1.80 ERA and has not allowed more than four runs in any game. 3. The Huskers have shown timely hitting in 2008, as 26 of the team’s 52 RBIs have come with two outs.

Traffic Pattern Changes in 2008
Due to the closing of the Harris Overpass in Downtown Lincoln this spring, a detour is now in effect for fans coming to the ballpark from the south on Sun Valley Boulevard.

  • Instead of using O Street, take Rosa Parks Way and turn right onto Homestead Expressway. Turn right onto Highway 6 before turning left onto Sun Valley Boulevard. From Sun Valley Boulevard, turn right onto Line Drive.
  • All access roads from the north are still accessable, and fans also also encouraged to park in the Haymarket District in Lincoln and take the pedestrian walkway to the center field entrance.

Scouting Northern Colorado
Under Head Coach Kevin Smallcomb (127-149 in six seasons), Northern Colorado comes to Lincoln with a 5-4 record through the first two weekends of the year. The Bears, who will also play two games in Lincoln later this month, are 5-4 on the season after taking 3-of-4 games against Southeast Missouri State last weekend.

UNC already has a pair of wins over a ranked opponent, splitting a four-game series at Texas A&M during the season’s opening weekend, including a doubleheader sweep at Olsen Field on Feb. 23.

The Bears’ strength has been on the mound, as the team has a 4.10 ERA through nine games. UNC’s rotation features four seniors, including left-hander Jon Klausing and right-hander T.R. Keating. Klausing, who pitched at NU from 2004-07 and received his degree in December, has made an immediate impact, going 1-0 with a team-best 1.50 ERA in 12 innings. Keating leads UNC in wins (two) and has a 12-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 12 innings of work.

Offensively, the Bears have gotten off to a slow start, hitting .235 as a team, with only Adam Symons (.333) hitting above .300. Kevin Sandberg leads the Bears in both homers (two) and RBIs (seven).

In addition to Klausing, NU Head Coach Mike Anderson was a former player (1983-86) and assistant coach (2004) at Northern Colorado. Another familiar face on the UNC staff is assistant coach Ryan Strain, who was hired in June of 2007 after serving as a graduate manager at Nebraska for two years.

Series history: The Huskers have won 22 of the 25 meetings between the two schools, including eight of nine meetings since the Bears have moved to the Division I level. The Huskers swept the two games in 2007, winning by scores of 5-3 and 4-1.

Leading Off
-The Huskers will look for their 150th win at Hawks Field this weekend against Northern Colorado. Nebraska is 149-40 (.788) at home since the ballpark was opened in 2002 and is currently riding a seven-game home win streak dating back to last season.
-The Huskers have hit the halfway point in its current homestand with a 5-0 record. As a team, Nebraska is hitting .319 and averaging over eight runs a game in the cozy confiles of Hawks Field.
-The four-game sweep of UC Riverside marked the Huskers’ first four-game sweep since 2005.
-Aaron Pribanic’s complete-game performace against UC Riverside on March 2 marked the first time since the 2002 season that a Husker pitcher had thrown a complete game in his first Husker start. That year, Aaron Marsden tossed a one-hitter against Texas A&M in a game that was also shortened by the run rule.
-DJ Belfonte’s diving catch against UC Riverside has received plenty of national recognition over the past week. On Sunday, it was the No. 10 play of the week on SportsCenter.
-Mitch Abeita’s pinch-hit homer against UC Riverside on March 1 snapped several homer droughts. It was the first homer by a Husker pinch hitter in 97 at-bats dating back to May 13, 2005, and the first-ever pinch-hit homer by a Husker in Hawks Field. In fact, Nebraska has had only three pinch-hit homers this decade, spanning 401 at-bats.

Husker Pinch-Hit Homers Since 2000
Player  Opponent Date
Dan Johnson  vs. Wichita State May 29, 2000
Jake Opitz at Texas Tech May 13, 2005
Mitch Abeita vs. UC Riverside March 1, 2008

-The Huskers have won their last 29 home openers, dating back to the 1979 season, and are now 7-0 all-time in home openers at Hawks Field.
-With the 3-2 win in the home opener over UC Riverside on Feb. 29, Nebraska improved to 28-0 all-time at home in February.
-Nebraska has won 91 straight games when taking a lead into the ninth inning dating back to the 2005 campaign, and is 186-3 (.984) when leading after eight innings since the start of the 2003 season.
-The Huskers have shown the knack for comebacks early in the season. Nebraska has overcome a deficit in four of its six wins so far this spring. Since the start of the 2005 campaign, the Huskers have registered 53 come-from-behind wins.
-Nebraska’s bullpen has been stout during the homestand, not allowing a run in 13.1 innings of work. Husker relievers have combined for 14 strikeouts and have held opposing hitters to a .191 average.
-The Huskers have not been afraid to play young players this year, as 10 freshmen have seen playing time in Nebraska’s first nine games. Of those 10, Casey Hauptman became the fifth one to start a game when he took the hill against Nebraska-Kearney on Tuesday. Other freshmen who have made at least one start in 2008 include Ben Kline, David Stewart, Andy Cotton and Tyler Rank.
-Ben Kline became the fourth true freshman to start a season opener under Coach Mike Anderson and just the eighth freshman to start on opening day since 1999.
-Since the NCAA went to the 64-team format in 1999, Nebraska has made eight tournament appearances, which ties for eighth nationally. The only teams to make more appearances tham Nebraska in that span are Cal State Fullerton, Clemson, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Oral Roberts, Rice and Texas.

Dorn Named to Clemens Award List
Senior right-hander Johnny Dorn received another honor on March 6, as he was named to the Roger Clemens Award Watch List. Dorn is among the 78 players on the initial watch list, which will be paired down to 10 semifinalists in May. In all, nine Big 12 players were on the initial watch list.

Catching Fire
Senior Mitch Abeita has gotten off to a hot start behind the plate for the Huskers. The senior from Dallas, Texas, is hitting .409 with three homers and eight RBIs, ranking first or second on the team in all three triple crown categories. He is 11th in the Big 12 in batting average and in the top 10 in the conference in on-base percentage (.594, second), homers (third) and slugging percentage (.909, fourth).

Huskers Excel with Two Outs
One area where the Huskers fared well in the early going is with two outs. Through eight games, the Huskers are hitting .350 (34-for-100) in two-out situations and have 26 of their 52 team RBIs with two down. Against Stanford on Feb. 22, Nebraska scored eight of its nine runs in two-out situations in a 9-2 win over the Cardinal.

Nimmo Off to a Hot Start
Center fielder Bryce Nimmo has been one of NU’s hottest bats in the opening weeks of the season. The senior is 10th in the Big 12 with a .429 average, while ranking fifth in the league with a .529 on-base percentage. He enters this weekend’s series with Northern Colorado with four straight multi-hit games, including a 2-for-4 perforance with four runs scored against Nebraska-Kearney on Wednesday.

For Whom the Belfonte Tolls
Sophomore outfielder DJ Belfonte got off to a quick start, hitting .361 with team highs in hits (13), RBIs (eight), doubles (three) and stolen bases (four). He has hit safely in seven of NU’s first eight contests, including a career-high 4-for-6 effort with a career-high four RBIs in a win at Stanford. Belfonte’s eight RBIs entering this weekend’s action is half of his entire 2007 season total.

Dorn Climbs Husker Win List
With his win against Stanford on opening day, Johnny Dorn moved closer to matching Shane Komine’s school record for wins.  The right-hander from Grand Island also moved on to the Huskers’ top-10 lists in both career strikeouts and innings pitched to begin his senior year. Dorn has turned in quality starts in both of his 2008 outings, as he allowed two runs over seven innings in a no-decision against UC Riverside on Feb. 28.
Of Dorn’s 32 career wins, 10 have been in Big 12 series clinchers over the past three seasons. He has had 14 chances to win a conference series in his career, and has won 10 of them, including five as a freshman when he went 12-2 en route to All-America honors.

Huskers Tabbed for Sixth in Big 12
The Nebraska baseball team was picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 by a vote of the league coaches released on Feb. 20. The Huskers, coming off a season where they went 32-27 and reached the finals of the NCAA Tempe Regional, totaled 36 points in voting.

Texas was the choice of the league’s coaches, garnering 80 points in the preseason voting and eight of the 10 first-pace votes. Missouri (71) and Baylor (65) received the other two votes, as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. The rest of the order was Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Tech.

Tezak to Miss Remainder of  Season
Nebraska Baseball Coach Mike Anderson announced March 3 that senior Jeff Tezak will undergo season-ending knee surgery.

Tezak originally suffered the injury earlier in the year, but was able to safely practice and play with a functional knee brace before electing to undergo surgery on his left knee. This season, he started NU’s first seven games at designated hitter, hitting a homer against UC Riverside on Friday and driving in two runs on the season. He will apply for a medical hardship in order to be eligible for the 2009 season.

Tezak earned second-team All-Big 12 honors at designated hitter last season, hitting .335 with three homers and 37 RBIs in 56 contests.

Huskers to Be Tested Again in 2008
An impressive home schedule, 27 games against NCAA Tournament teams and a season-opening trip to national power Stanford highlight the 2008 Nebraska baseball schedule. The Huskers will be tested against a slate that features five teams Arkansas, Texas, Wichita State, Texas A&M and Missouri which were No. 1 seeds in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
The 55-game regular-season schedule includes 32 home games, including a four-game series with NCAA qualifier UC Riverside to open the home schedule on Feb. 29. Other marquee non-conference tilts include a two-game series with SEC power Arkansas (March 18-19), a three-game series against Louisiana-Lafayette (May 2-4) and single games against Wichita State (April 15) and Creighton (April 22).

In 2007, the Huskers’ strength of schedule ranked sixth nationally, as Nebraska played 29 of its 59 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament.

Chart Climbing
-Johnny Dorn leads all active Division I pitchers in career wins with 32 following his victory over Stanford on Feb. 22. Dorn, who is one of only two pitchers in school history to record a pair of double-figure season win totals, had 32 career wins and is nine shy of two-time All-American Shane Komine’s school and Big 12 record of 41 wins.
-Jake Opitz is quickly climbing Nebraska’s career list for assists. A three-year starter at second base, Opitz begins his senior year in sixth place and needs only 15 assists to climb into fifth place.
-Bryce Nimmo looks to become just the second Husker to lead Nebraska in stolen bases for three straight years, joining former Major Leaguer Ken Ramos, who paced NU in stolen bases from 1987 to 1989.
-With the win over Stanford on Feb. 22, Head Coach Mike Anderson moved into sole possession of third place on Nebraska’s all-time wins list. Anderson passed Dave Van Horn, who collected 214 victories from 1998 to 2002.
-Anderson also began the season in 10th place in winning percentage among all active coaches. He joins Texas’ Augie Garrido as the only two Big 12 coaches among the top-10 nationally in winning percentage. 

The Coaching Staff
Nebraska shuffled its coaching staff in the offseason, adding pitching coach Eric Newman, while shifting Dave Bingham over to handle the Huskers’ defensive efforts. The three full-time coaches on the Nebraska staff have combined for over 1,100 wins.

Dave Bingham - Serves as the Huskers’ defensive coordinator, overseeing team defense and working with the Husker infielders. Bingham served as an assistant to Stanford Head Coach Mark Marquess on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. The pair also assisted on the 1984 U.S. Olympic staff.

Eric Newman - Begins his first season as Nebraska’s pitching coach after serving as the head coach at Dallas Baptist the past three seasons. Newman, who compiled a 95-72 record at DBU, is a California native who pitched collegiately at both Fresno State and Texas Tech.

Nate Thompson - Begins his first season as Nebraska’s volunteer coach and works primarily with the infielders and assists with the hitters. Thompson comes to NU after serving as an assistant coach at Fort Hays State in 2007. He played for Coach Newman at Dallas Baptist and was a student assistant at the school in 2006.

Husker Baseball: Giving Back
The Husker baseball program has been active in the community during the 2007-08 academic year. Starting with the Paint-a-thon in August, the Nebraska baseball team has done over 400 hours in community service projects this year.

-During the Christmas break, players and coaches combined for over 250 hours of community service projects, working with various groups in their hometowns. Some of the projects included working with local law enforcement in translating languages,  cleaning community centers and raising money for Food Banks.

-On Jan. 25, 2008, the Nebraska baseball program hosted Baseball 101, a day of actitives to help fans learn more about the sport. The one-day clinic had over 100 participants and raised over $10,000 for a literacy center in Lincoln.

Six Draftees on 2008 Husker Roster
Nebraska’s 2008 roster boasts a total of six Huskers who have been previously selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Four of the players were picked in last year’s draft, including Thad Weber, who was chosen in the 35th round, but elected to return for his senior year.


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