Lincoln - The Nebraska baseball team was rewarded for an outstanding regular-season Monday morning when the Huskers were named the No. 6 national seed in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. NU, which was awarded a regional on Sunday, will open regional play at 1:05 p.m. on Friday, June 2 against the Manhattan Jaspers.
“I was pleased that they looked at our whole body of work," Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson said after Monday's annoucement. " I felt as though we were a team that deserved that, but let’s be blunt: it doesn’t mean anything unless you take care of business in a regional and do what you need to do. That just shows that our conference schedule, our non-conference schedule — the scheduling we had throughout the year — was very good.”
Joining the Huskers and the Jaspers for the Lincoln Regional are the Miami Hurricanes and first-time qualifier San Francisco. The Hurricanes and Dons will conclude Friday’s action with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.
The Lincoln Regional features a mix of experienced and inexperienced NCAA programs. The Huskers, who have advanced to the College World Series three times in the past five seasons, are making their sixth tournament appearance in the last seven years. Another experienced postseason team is four-time national champion Miami, who earned a bid for an NCAA-record 34th consecutive season.
The Jaspers are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1957, while San Francisco earned its first tournament bid in school history.
Nebraska, which is hosting an NCAA Regional for the second consecutive season and fourth time in the five-year history of Hawks Field, has enjoyed success against this year’s tournament field. The Huskers played a total of 27 games against 11 teams in the field of 64, posting a 16-11 record. Even more impressive is the fact that NU played a total of eight games against three of the other top-eight national seeds. Against No. 2 seed Rice (0-1), third-seeded Texas (3-1) and No. 4 seed Alabama (3-0), the Huskers posted a stellar 6-2 record.
All-session General Admission Tickets are now available for purchase on Huskers.com. Tickets are $56 (adults) and $35 (youth ages 3-18; Seniors 60+ and UNL Students with a vaild N-Card). Children ages 2 and under will be admitted free. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, the Ticket Office will not open until 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
Scouting the Regional
Manhattan Jaspers (32-21)
Manhattan enters the Lincoln regional fresh off its first-ever MAAC Championship, qualifying for an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1957. The Jaspers defeated regular-season champion Le Moyne in the conference tournament for its school record 32nd win of the season. First-year coach Kevin Leighton’s squad is led by first-team All-MAAC senior pitcher Chris Cody, the MAAC Pitcher of the Year. Cody compiled an 11-2 record with a 1.45 ERA, tossing eight complete games. In 2006, Cody recorded 98 strikeouts while walking only 22 batters and holding opponents to a .195 batting average. Cody opened the 2006 season with a 1-0, 10 hit, 10 strikeout shutout of Tulane. Joining Cody on the All-MAAC First Team were senior designated hitter John Fitzpatrick (.324, 16 HR, 64 RBI), junior catcher Nick Derba (.311, 3 HR, 32 RBI), and sophomore first baseman Matt Rizzotti (.349, 8 HR, 41 RBI). The Jaspers and Huskers shared no common opponents in 2006.
Miami Hurricanes (36-21)
Miami enters the Lincoln Regional as the losers of four of its last five games, including a 1-2 record in the ACC Tournament. All four of those loses came at the hand of No. 8 national seed Georgia Tech. Coach Jim Morris’ Hurricanes finished fifth in the ACC with a 17-13 record in conference play, and placed two players, junior catcher Eddy Rodriguez (.335, 9 HR, 33 RBI) and junior centerfielder Jon Jay (.351, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 26 SB) on the All-ACC First-Team. Freshman second baseman Jemile Weeks (.333, 3 HR, 28 RBI) and junior reliever Chris Perez (3-1, 1.77 ERA, 12 SV) were named to the All-ACC Second Team. Miami and Nebraska shared one common opponent in 2006, North Carolina State. The Huskers defeated the Wolfpack, 4-3, on February 17, while the Hurricanes took the season series from the Wolfpack two games to one in Raleigh, N.C. In 2005, the Nebraska and Miami locked up in Super Regional action in Lincoln, as the Huskers defeated the Hurricanes two games to none to advance to the 2005 College World Series.
San Francisco Dons (38-21)
San Francisco enters the Lincoln Regional after losing the WCC Championship Series to Pepperdine, two games to one. The Dons won their final nine regular season games to finish as WCC regular season co-champions with the Waves, earning eighth-year head coach Nino Giarratano WCC Coach-of-the-Year honors and advancing the team to its first-ever NCAA Regional. Junior outfielder/left handed pitcher Scott Cousins earned 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors by hitting .357 with six homers, 45 RBIs and 21 stolen bases, while compiling a 4-2 record with a 3.40 ERA and 57 strikeouts as a weekend starter for the Dons. Senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan (12-3, 3.57 ERA, 69 Ks, 4 SV) earned co-WCC Pitcher-of-the-Year honors, while senior outfielder Stefan Gartrell (.341, 6 HR, 62 RBI) and sophomore left-hander Aaron Poreda (7-5, 2.56 ERA, 70 Ks) joined Cousins and McGuigan on the All-WCC First Team. The Dons and the Huskers shared no common opponents in 2006.
Lincoln Regional Schedule
Friday, June 2
Nebraska vs. Manhattan, 1:05 p.m. (Game 1)
Miami vs. San Francisco, 7:05 p.m. (Game 2)
Saturday, June 3
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1:05 p.m. (Game 3)
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7:05 p.m. (Game 4)
Sunday, June 4
Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 1:05 p.m. (Game 5)
Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 6:05 p.m. (Game 6)
Monday, June 5
Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, 1:05 p.m. (Game 7)*