Huskers Host NCAA Lincoln Regional
(42-15, 17-10 Big 12)
Television: Nebraska Educational Television
(Ch. 12 and NET-HD, Ch. 112)
Live Stats: NCAAsports.com
Radio: Pinnacle Sports Network
Internet Radio: Huskers.com/NCAAsports.com
Free Live Video: Huskers.com (free video of NU games)
Friday, June 2
Game 1: 1:05 p.m. - Nebraska (42-15) vs. Manhattan (32-21)
Game 2: 7:05 p.m. - Miami (36-21) vs. San Francisco (38-21)
Saturday, June 3
Game 3: 1:05 p.m. (Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2)
Game 4: 7:05 p.m. (Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2)
Sunday, June 4
Game 5: 1:05 p.m. (Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4)
Game 6: 6:05 p.m. (Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5)
Monday, June 5
Game 7: 1:05 p.m. (if necessary – same teams as Game 6)
The Nebraska baseball team will begin its postseason quest this week, as the Huskers will host an NCAA Regional at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. The Huskers will host Miami, San Francisco and Manhattan in the Lincoln Regional. The winner of this double-elimination tournament will take on the winner of the Oxford Regional next weekend with a berth in the College World Series on the line.
All-session General Admission tickets are available for purchase at $35 (youth and seniors, UNL students with ID) and $56. Single-game tickets, if available, will go on sale at 8 a.m. on Friday for $12 (reserved) and $10 (general admission)
Tournament action begins Friday at 1:05 p.m., as the Huskers (42-15) take on Manhattan, the champions of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) which enter the Lincoln Regional with a 32-21 record. Friday’s game will be carried on the Pinnacle Sports Network, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington. Live stats for all of Nebraska’s NCAA Regional games will be available on NCAAsports.com. In addition, all of Nebraska’s games will be carried state-wide on Nebraska Educational Television (Ch. 12 and NET-HD, Ch. 112). The nightcap features the Miami Hurricanes (36-21) taking on the San Francisco Dons (38-21) beginning 7:05 p.m.
The Huskers begin the tournament as the No. 6 national seed following a runner-up finish at last week’s Big 12 Championships in Oklahoma City. It is the second year in a row - and third third time in school history - that the Huskers have been awarded a national seed (also 2001 and 2005). It also marks the fifth time in the last six years that Nebraska has hosted a regional (also in 2001-02-03-05).
•-The 2006 season marks the third time in the last six seasons that Nebraska has been awarded a national seed. The other two times the Huskers have earned a national seed, they have advanced to the College World Series.
•-With the 2006 NCAA Regional, Nebraska will make its 10th appearance in school history, including seventh in the last eight seasons. Head Coach Mike Anderson has guided Nebraska to three NCAA appearances in his four seasons as head coach - earning the No. 1 seed in the regional in all three years.
•-Nebraska has played well in front of the cameras this season, going 9-1 in televised games. NU saw its nine-game win streak snapped against Kansas in the finals of the Big 12 Championship on Sunday.
•-The Huskers are one of a conference-record seven Big 12 teams to qualify for regional play in 2006, joining Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Baylor and Missouri. The previous high for the league was six teams, set in both 1999 and 2003. Last season, the five Big 12 teams that qualified for postseason play went 27-11 with NU, Texas and Baylor all reaching the College World Series. The Big 12 finished second among all conference in RPI during the regular season.
•-With its three wins in Oklahoma City last week, the Huskers reached the 40-win plateau for the 16th time in school history and seventh in the past eight years. In fact, Nebraska’s seven 40-win seasons is the most by any Big 12 school in the past decade, one ahead of both Texas and Texas Tech, which had won 40 or more games on six occasions.
•-Nebraska has a youthful postseason roster, as 18 of the 27 players at last week’s Big 12 Championship were freshmen or sophomores. Here is a breakdown of the Huskers by class.
•-Under first-year hitting coach Andy Sawyers, who assisted with team hitting duties from 2003-05, Nebraska’s team average in Big 12 play jumped nearly 50 points to .317, its highest average in Big 12 play since the 2000 season.
•-Andrew Brown’s two-homer game on May 12 at Baylor marked the Huskers’ sixth multi-homer game of the season. NU had eight multi-homer games in 2005 and just one during the 2004 campaign.
•-Nebraska’s game against Creighton on May 16 drew a crowd of 21,158, a total that was college baseball’s highest single-game total of 2005. The game also outdrew six Major League games that evening.
•-Nebraska’s 42-15 record entering the Big 12 Championship is only three games back of last season’s pace after 57 games. It is also ahead of NU’s 2002 CWS team, which was 40-17 at the same point in time.
•-Nebraska has gotten off to fast starts, outscoring its opponents 57-30 in the first inning of games this season. In fact, NU has scored at least one run in the first inning in 22 of its last 36 contests.
•-Nebraska has held 39 of its first 57 opponents to four runs or less this season and its 3.9 runs allowed per game ranks sixth nationally entering the NCAA Tournament.
•-Nebraska is well represented in the latest NCAA stats released May 31. The Huskers are in the top-20 in five categoeies, including ERA and fielding percentage. Individually, Luke Gorsett, Ryan Wehrle, Tony Watson, Brett Jensen and Joba Chamberlain all rank in the top-50 nationally in at least one category.
•-Nebraska went 17-11 against teams that reached the NCAA Tournament in 2006, including 6-2 against the other top-eight seeds.
NU vs. the NCAA Field
No. 2 Rice 0-1
No. 3 Texas 3-1
No. 4 Alabama 3-0
Notre Dame 1-0
Wichita State 1-0
NC State 1-0
Oklahoma State 1-2
•- The Huskers are 15-7 in games decided by two runs or less this season.
•-The Huskers showed a knack to hit in two-out situations during last week’s Big 12 Tournament, hitting .404 with two outs, while scoring 14 of their 22 RBIs in those situations.
•-Nebraska’s Big 12 opener against Baylor was the 250th game coached by Mike Anderson at Nebraska. The Huskers are 5-0 in the other milestone games, including three wins in thier last at bat.
•-Nebraska has committed one error or less in 41 of its first 57 contests, including 18 games without an error. NU’s .974 fielding percentage is tied for second in the Big 12 and just off the school record of .975 set in each of the past two seasons.
•-One of NU’s keys to success is the ability to run while shutting down other team’s running games. NU is second in the Big 12 with 85 stolen bases, including 34-of-47 in Big 12 play, and has allowed a just 37 stolen bases in 56 contests.
•-Under first-year pitching coach Dave Bingham, Nebraska’s pitching staff finished the regular season leading the Big 12 in ERA (3.43) and opponent batting average (.248), while ranking second in shuouts (five) and third in saves (17).
•-While NU’s pitching has been as good as advertised for most of the 2006 campaign, NU’s offensive numbers have been among the Big 12 leaders in most categories. The Huskers’ .314 team average is on pace for NU’s best team average since the 2002 CWS team hit .315.
•-Nebraska is one of only seven teams in all of Division I baseball to post team ERAs below 4.00 over the last four years, joining Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Oral Roberts, Rice, Texas and Wichita State. The Huskers were second nationally with a 2.69 team ERA in 2005.
•-Nebraska’s consecutive shutouts of Texas and Wichita State in late April marked the first time ever that any school had posted consecutive shutouts against college baseball’s two winningest coaches (Texas’ Augie Garrido and Wichita State’s Gene Stephenson).
•-Nebraska set a school record for regular-season attendance average with 4,864 fans per game in 2006, breaking the previous regular-season mark of 4,426 in 2005. What makes that number more impressive is that NU’s attendance average is actual fans in the ballpark, not tickets sold.
•-Nebraska is one of only three teams in the country that returned two pitchers who won at least 10 games in 2005 (Oregon State and Miami of Ohio are the others).
•-Nebraska is one of only six programs nationally to reach the College World Series in three of the past five seasons, joining Cal State Fullerton, Miami, South Carolina, Stanford and Texas. The Big 12 is the only league with more than one team in that group.
•- Nebraska has scored at least one run in each of its last 188 games dating back to the start of the 2004 campaign. The streak is the longest in the Big 12, while NU has scored in 519 of the last 520 games dating back to the 1998 season.
•-NU already has 16 come-from-behind wins this season, including each of its three wins in the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City. The largest deficit Nebraska has overcome this season is four runs, done on three different occasions.
Over the last two years, the Huskers have posted 36 come-from-behind victories.
Nebraska at the Big 12 Championship
Sunday (Kansas 9, Nebraska 7): The Huskers fought to the finish by scoring five runs in the final two innings, but upstart Kansas held on for a 9-7 win in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Game on Sunday. Trailing 9-2, the Huskers rallied two within two runs and had runners on first and second before KU’s Don Czyz got Jake Opitz to ground to first to end the game. Andy Gerch had three hits and a pair of RBIs, while Wehrle went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs and three runs scored in a losing effort. Jon Klausing took the loss, allowing five runs over 2.1 innings of work, marking the first time in four starts where he allowed more than one run
Saturday (Nebraska 6, Texas 5): Andrew Brown’s seventh-inning RBI single broke a 5-all tie, as Nebraska rallied for a 6-5 victory over sixth-ranked Texas Saturday afternoon. Brown’s single made a winner of reliever Tony Watson, who tossed 5.1 innings of shutout relief to earn his second win of the tournament and improve to 10-1 on the season. Nick Sullivan’s three-run homer off of Kyle McCulloch highlighted a five-run second inning for the Huskers, while Brandon Buckman had three hits and an RBI. Brett Jensen slammed the door on the Longhorns by retiring the final four hitters he faced for his 13th of the season.
Thursday (Nebraska 6, Texas Tech 4): The No. 14 Nebraska baseball team erupted for four runs with two outs in a decisive sixth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit for a 6-4 victory over Texas Tech Thursday night. Jake Opitz provided the big blow, a two-run double in the sixth, while Jeff Christy had two hits, including his eighth homer of the year. Joba Chamberlain improved to 6-4 with the win, allowing four runs over seven innings, as he fanned seven en route to his first win since April 13.
Wednesday (Nebraska 3, Baylor 2): Andrew Brown’s eighth-inning RBI single drove in Bryce Nimmo for the game-winning run as NU slipped past Baylor, 3-2, in NU’s Big 12 opener. Brown’s single to center scored Nimmo, who came into pinch run for Nick Sullivan, who coaxed a two-out, pinch-hit walk. Baylor reliever Nick Cassavechia uncorked a wild pitch to move Nimmo into scoring position, setting up Brown’s RBI single. Tony Watson retired the only hitter he faced for the win, while Brett Jensen pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
Scouting the NCAA Regional Field
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 (.324-16-64), junior catcher Nick Derba (.311-3-32), and sophomore first baseman Matt Rizzotti (.349-8-41 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 (.335-9-33) and junior centerfielder Jon Jay (.351-5-35, 26 SB) on the All-ACC First Team. Freshman second baseman Jemile Weeks (.333-3-28)and junior reliever Chris Perez (3-1, 1.77 ERA, 12 saves) 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 Feb. 17, while the Hurricanes took the season series from the Wolfpack two games to one in Raleigh, N.C. In 2005, Nebraska and Miami clashed 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.