Huskers Close Out Regular Season with Wolverines
Probable Starters: LHP Kyle Kubat (4-0) vs. LHP Trent Szkutnik (4-6)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Friday, May 17 – 6:35 p.m.
Probable Starters: LHP Aaron Bummer (2-1) vs. LHP Evan Hill (7-2)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Saturday, May 18 – 12:05 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP Tyler Niederklein (1-1) vs. LHP Logan McAnallen (3-2)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Up Next for the Huskers
With three games to go in the 2013 regular season, the Nebraska baseball team (24-26, 14-7 Big Ten) hosts the Michigan Wolverines for a three-game series to end conference play at Hawks Field.
The series is scheduled to start on Thursday, May 16 at 6:35 p.m., continues on Friday at 6:35 p.m. and concludes on Saturday at 12:05 p.m.
The Huskers enter the week in a three-way tie with Ohio State and Minnesota for second place in the Big Ten, while the Wolverines are tied with Illinois for fifth in the league.
With a sweep of the Wolverines, the Huskers would get back above .500 on the year heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Last season, the Huskers went to Ann Arbor and took the series, 2-1. Nebraska won the opener, 15-2, punching its ticket to the Big Ten Tournament. After Michigan evened the series with a 6-5 win in game two, the Huskers finished the series with a 7-3 win in the finale.
On the Radio this Week
Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen Greg Sharpe 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 14.
TV Coverage this Week
Friday’s 6:35 p.m. game with Michigan at Hawks Field is scheduled to be shown across the state of Nebraska on NET.
Time Warner (SD-12, HD-1012)
DISH Network (SD/HD-12)
Saturday’s regular-season finale against Michigan is scheduled to be shown live nationally on the Big Ten Network. The game was originally scheduled for 1:05 p.m., but was moved to 12:05 p.m. after it was picked up for TV.
Time Warner (SD-24, HD-333)
DISH Network (SD/HD-439)
Web Streams this Week
Thursday’s series opener with Michigan will be streamed live on HuskersNSide (subscription required).
Friday’s game will be streamed live on BTN.com (subscription required), while Saturday’s game can be watched live on BTN2Go.com.
Scouting the Michigan Wolverines
The Michigan Wolverines enter their series with the Huskers with a 27-24 overall record and a 12-9 Big Ten record, which ties them with Illinois for fifth in the league.
The Wolverines are 13-16 away from the Wilpon Complex, but eight of the wins have come in neutral site games, as they are just 5-12 in true road games.
On the road in conference play this year, the Wolverines are 3-5, as they were swept at Indiana and dropped 2-of-3 at Northwestern. During their series with Michigan State, the Wolverines took both games in East Lansing, while also winning the middle game that was played in Ann Arbor.
Michigan is 3-7 over its past 10 games away from home, including six straight losses entering Thursday following a 5-3 loss to Seton Hall at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, in Flushing, N.Y., on Tuesday.
The Wolverines have a .277 team batting average, with three players hitting over .300 on the year.
Junior Michael O’Neill leads the team with a .361 average, while also leading the team in hits with 78, including a Big Ten best 17 doubles. He also leads the team in runs with 40 and in steals with 22 in 26 attempts. The Powell, Ohio, native it tied for the team lead in home runs with three and has driven in 31 runs.
Freshman Travis Maezes is hitting .307 on the year and is tied with O’Neill and Zach Zott for the team lead in homers with three. The Ann Arbor product also had 10 doubles, three triples and 35 RBIs, while stealing 16 bags in 22 attempts.
Fellow freshman Jacob Cronenworth leads the team in RBIs with 38, while hitting .311 on the year. He has 10 doubles, one triple and two homers, while striking out just 19 times in 183 at-bats.
Cole Martin is the only other Wolverine with more than 20 RBIs on the year, with 21.
The Wolverines have 99 steals in 126 attempts on the year, an average of 1.9 steals per game and have laid down 38 sacrifice bunts in 51 games.
Michigan’s bats are patient at the plate with 278 strikeouts, 5.5 per game, while working 181 walks.
On the mound, the Wolverines hold a team ERA of 3.92 with 344 strikeouts to 227 walks. They hold opposing batters to a .262 average, while giving up an average of 8.5 hits per game.
Michigan’s defense has cost themselves some runs this year, with 30 unearned runs crossing the plate. On the year, the Wolverines have committed 62 errors.
Nebraska is scheduled to face lefty Trent Szkutnik in Thursday’s series opener. The 6-0 sophomore is 4-6 on the year with a 4.88 ERA over 14 appearances, including 11 starts. Szkutnik has gone at least 6.0 inning in five of his 11 starts, but had gone less than 5.0 innings three times. He has not made it out of the sixth inning in his past three starts, including a 0.2 inning outing against Indiana on April 26.
A native of Temperance, Mich., Szkutnik has given up 41 runs (36 earned) on 74 hits and 23 walks over 66.1 innings, while striking out 58. He has given up a team-high three home runs.
Freshman Evan Hill is set to take the mound for the Wolverines on Friday night, bringing a 7-2 record and a 2.96 ERA into the contest. Hill has started in all 13 of his appearances this year and has gone less than 6.0 in a start just four times. He threw a complete game in a win over Michigan State and has been part of two shutouts.
The 6-5 lefty holds opposing batters to a .215 average, as Hill has given up 30 runs (26 earned) on 57 hits and 41 walks over 79.0 innings of work. Two weeks ago he lost to Indiana and has taken no decisions in his past two starts.
Junior Logan McAnallen will get the ball for Michigan in the series finale, as the Huskers will face their third lefty starter in the series.
McAnallen enters the series with a 3-2 record and a 3.18 ERA over 17 appearances, including 11 starts. In 65.0 innings of work, the 6-3 McAnallen has allowed 31 runs (23 earned) on 68 hits and 19 walks, while striking out 47. He holds opposing batters to a .285 average and has allowed 14 doubles on the year, but just one home run.
In 11 starts, McAnallen has 7.0 innings or more just twice, including an 8.0 inning performance against Iowa on May 5.
The Wolverine’s bullpen is mostly held down by three pitchers, Kyle Clark, James Bourque and Matt Ogden. Clark leads the team in appearances with 21, while Bourque is close behind with 20 and Ogden is next with 19.
The previously mentioned Cronenworth, who leads the team in RBIs, also works as the team’s closer, leading the team with six saves. The 6-0 righty has 23 strikeouts in 22.1 innings of work, but has given up 21 hits over 14 appearances.
Magic Number at 1
With one week to go in the Big Ten schedule, the Nebraska baseball team is close to qualifying for its second-straight Big Ten Tournament.
Seven of the league’s 11 teams are fighting for six spots to the conference’s postseason tournament.
The Huskers need one win in their series with Michigan or a loss by Michigan State on the road at Penn State to secure a bid to the tournament.
The Huskers (14-7) enter the week in a three-way tie with Minnesota (12-6) and Ohio State (14-7) for second place in the Big Ten standings. Each team has a winning percentage of .667. Indiana sits atop the standing at 15-6 (.714).
With only the top six teams in the conference earning a trip to the postseason tournament, the Huskers still have a shot at winning the league title or not be invited to the tournament at all.
The six-team Big Ten Tournament starts next Wednesday, May 22, at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. The top two seeds in the tournament receive byes and open play on Thursday, May 23.
Get on Base
Preseason All-American Michael Pritchard enters Thursday’s game against Michigan with a 33-game on-base streak.
The streak betters Pritchard’s 31-game streak from a year ago and tops Rich Sanguinetti’s previous team-high streak this year of 32 games.
Since 2000, 10 Huskers have reached base in 30 or more consecutive games during a season, including Luke Gorsett who put together a 48-game streak in 2006.
One Tough Out
Chad Christensen has on opposing pitchers all season, as the senior is fourth in the Big Ten in both batting average (.368) and hits (71).
During conference play, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native leads all players in hits (40), batting average (.455), on-base percentage (.505) and runs scored (25).
Christensen’s .455 average is also tops in the league since 2009 when Purdue’s Brandon Haveman hit .464.
Since 1939, only six times has a player finished the season with the top average in the conference during league play with an average of .480 or better.
Solid with the Glove
Nebraska’s defense has played solid behind its pitching staff this season, committing 36 errors in 1,956 chances through 50 games.
The Huskers enter the week with the second-best fielding percentage in the country at .982, just fractions behind national-leader Mercer.
Ohio State is second in the Big Ten Conference in fielding at .976, which ranks 25th nationally.
Debut with a Double
Rich Sanguinetti has hit a double in Nebraska’s first at-bat of a game five times this year, including four times during Big Ten play.
The Huskers have won each game when Sanguinetti has the Huskers’ first inning with a double.
Climbing the Hit List
Earlier this season, senior Chad Christensen became the 14th 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.
On the year, Christensen leads the Huskers with a .368 average (71-for-193) and is second on the team with 31 RBIs, four behind Kash Kalkowski’s team-high 35 RBIs.
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.
Christensen needs two hits to tie DJ Belfonte for 10th on NU’s career-hits list.
Matt Hooper 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.
The Huskers are 24-26 in 2013, but 15 of their 26 losses have come by two runs or less, including nine losses by one run. The Huskers are 7-15 in games decided by two runs or less.
Returning to Form
Preseason All-American Michael Pritchard played in the first two games of the 2013 season, but then missed 10 games with an oblique injury.
A third-team All-American a year ago, Pritchard was just 6-for-28 (.214) in his first seven games back in the Husker lineup.
He has since found his groove and ranks second on the team with a .331 average.
Over the past 31 games entering Thursday, Pritchard is second on the team with a .367 average and has a team-high 10 doubles.
During the stretch, Pritchard put together a 20-game hitting streak that started on March 22 at Illinois and was snapped on April 26 at Creighton.
Prior to the 2013 season, Pritchard was selected as the second-team designated hitter on the 2013 NCBWA Preseason All-America team. The Omaha native was tabbed as a third-team All-American by the same publication following the 2012 season.
The last Husker to earn All-America accolades in consecutive seasons was Alex Gordon, who was a first-team selection by multiple publications in 2004 and 2005.
Money at the Plate
Senior Kash Kalkowski has turned into an RBI machine during Big Ten play, as the Grand Island native is tied with Illinois’ Justin Parr for the conference lead in RBIs with 24.
The 6-1 first baseman has at least one RBI in 13 of his 21 Big Ten Conference games, and has produced at least a pair of RBIs six times. He has delivered four RBIs in a league game twice this season, including at home against Ohio State (4/12) and at Purdue (4/20).
Overall on the season, Kalkowski is tied with Michigan’s Travis Maezes for ninth in the league with 35 RBIs.
So far in 2013, the Nebraska baseball has played one of the tougher schedules in the country.
The Huskers will/have played 13 games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, including a doubleheader 2012 College World Series qualifier Arkansas at Hawks Field.
As of Wednesday, May 15, Warren Nolan ranked Nebraska’s schedule as the 10th-toughest in the country, while Boyd’s World ranked it as the 14th toughest schedule in the country.
Nebraska’s series with the Razorbacks marked the third straight year that the Huskers have hosted a CWS team from the previous season, as the Huskers took a three-game series from UCLA, 2-1, in 2011 and California split a four-game series at Hawks Field last season.
Nebraska has four teams on its 2013 schedule who were ranked in one of the four preseason polls, including Arkansas, who was ranked No.1 in the country in three polls.
Through the first 50 games of the year, Nebraska has played 17 games against a ranked opponent, but are just 4-13 in those games.
Heating Up for Big Ten Play
The Husker bats have come alive during Big Ten play, as Nebraska leads the Big Ten in batting average (.333), on-base percentage (.400), runs (157), hits (268) and RBIs (139), while ranking third in doubles (36), triples (4) and walks (83).
In Nebraska’s first 19 games of the season, the Huskers averaged 7.5 hits per game, but have nearly doubled the total with 12.8 hits per game during conference play.
Finding His Stroke
Sophomore catcher Tanner Lubach has started to heat up at the plate. The Lincoln native takes a five-game hitting streak into NU’s series with Michigan, and has raised his batting average nearly 40 points in the five games.
Entering Nebraska’s game with Indiana on May 5, Lubach was hitting .202 and enters Thursdays game with a .239 average.
Lubach is 9-for-20 over the past five games, with multi-hit games in each of his last three games, including a career-high three-hit performance against Creighton on Tuesday night.
Lubach has driven in seven of his 21 RBIs on the season over the past two games.
The Crafty Lefty
After being sidelined with shoulder soreness for the first 33 games of the 2013 campaign, sophomore Kyle Kubat is 4-0 in five starts for the Huskers, including wins over No. 10 Arkansas and No. 16 Indiana.
The sophomore lefty carries a 1.99 ERA into the Thursday, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 19 hits in 31.2 innings of work.
Kubat made his 2013 season debut on Tuesday, April 16 against the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks in the first game of a doubleheader.
A freshman All-American last year and third-team All-Big Ten pick, Kubat dealt 5.0 innings of no hit ball. Kubat retired the first six Arkansas batters he faced, before issuing a leadoff walk in the third. He then sat down seven straight, before hitting Isaac Hellbusch with two out in the fifth.
Tyler Niederklein and Dylan Vogt combined to through 4.0 innings of no-hit ball down the stretch to finish off NU’s first no hitter in over 20 years.
Last season during conference play, Kubat was 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in six appearances, including three starts.
The Huskers went on the road and won each of their four Big Ten Conference road series, posting a 9-3 record.
The last time the Huskers won every road series during a conference season was in 2005, when they won all four of their Big 12 Conference road series. That season the Huskers were 8-4 on the road in conference play.
The Young Buck
After seeing a limited relief role all last season and early this year, Aaron Bummer has started to develop into a starter for the Huskers.
The Peoria, Ariz., native is a sophomore on campus, but is just 19 years old, as he doesn’t turn 20 under September.
In his fourth career conference start against Minnesota last weekend, Bummer delivered the best outing of his young Husker career with a career-high 7.0 innings of shutout work in a 8-0 win over the Gophers. The 6-2 lefty held the Gophers scoreless on three hits and three walks, while striking out three.
B1G Series Openers
Last season the Huskers were 4-4 in Big Ten series openers, but only got back to .500 by winning their last three series openers.
This season, Nebraska started its first five series on the right foot, going 5-0 in Big Ten series openers, before dropping its first series opener of the year on Saturday, May 4 with a 8-6 loss to No. 16 Indiana.
The Husker bounced back and took their series opener at Minnesota to improve to 6-1 in conference series openers.
Nebraska lost on Friday night in four of its first five Big Ten series openers last season, including a loss to Illinois to open Big Ten play in Lincoln.
At home last season, Nebraska was 1-3 in Big Ten series openers, with the first win coming in its finale against Minnesota, as the Huskers swept the Gophers.
On the road last year, NU was 3-1 in conference series openers, with the only loss coming at Ohio State. Nebraska went on to win the series with the Buckeyes.
The last time Nebraska won six straight conference series openers in a row was during the 2001 season.
In 2001, Nebraska was 9-0 in series openers with wins at Texas Tech (3-2), Missouri (14-4), at Oklahoma (7-1), Texas (10-8), Baylor (6-2), at Kansas (9-0), at Texas A&M (6-4), Oklahoma State (9-7) and at Iowa State (16-8).
Hits in Bunches
Senior Chad Christensen has been tough on opposing pitchers this season, as the NU left fielder leads the team with 24 of the Huskers’ 134 multi-hit games. Pat Kelly is next with 18 multi-hit games, while Michael Pritchard and Rich Sanguinetti have 17 each.
Christensen and Austin Darby each have six, three hits games, while Sanguinetti has five.
Kelly has produced three four-hit games, Kash Kalkowski has two, while Christensen and Sanguinetti each have one.
14 different Huskers have produced a multi-hit game this season, including 11 who have a three-hit game.
Take it for the Team
Senior infielder Bryan Peters entered the 2013 season ranked fourth on Nebraska’s career list 43 HBP and took over the No. 3 spot on the list when he was hit for the 47th time in his career against Ohio State on April 13.
Peters had been tied with Kale Kiser for third on the list after Peters was hit for the 46th time in his career at Illinois in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, March 23.
Peters now tries and catch DJ Belfonte for the No. 2 spot, as Belfonte was hit 59 times during his career from 2007-10.
Fellow senior Kash Kalkowski has also been moving up the chart with his team-high 19 HBP this season, ranking 15th in the country.
Kalkowski’s 19 HBP this season rank fifth all-time at Nebraska during a single season. With two more HBP he would tied Dave Crain (1995) and Derek Dukart (1994) for third all-time at Nebraska in a single season.
Daniel Bruce (2002-05) holds the NU career record with 67 HBP and set the single-season record for HBP in 2002 when he was hit 28 times.
Rely on Roeder
Josh Roeder has developed into a shutdown arm for the Huskers at the back of the bullpen.
Roeder is 0-3 on the year, but has posted four saves and carries a 1.80 ERA into the Thursday.
Roeder is not overly imposing on the mound, but packs a punch in his 6-0 frame. Over 25.0 innings of work he has notched 23 strikeouts to just five walks, including one intentional walk.
Since taking over as Nebraska’s primary leadoff hitter at Cal State Fullerton on March 19, Rich Sanguinetti has turned around his season senior season.
Over the past 33 games, Sanguinetti is third on the team with a .347 batting average and failed to reach base in a game only once.
The senior from Arlington, Texas, has produced six doubles, one homer and 14 RBIs. He has posted a .425 on-base percentage and is slugging .410.
Since switching to the leadoff spot, Sanguinetti has seen his overall season average rise over .100 points from .175 to .299, which ranks fifth on the team.
A first-team All-Big Ten pick a year ago, Sanguinetti is third on the team with 15 multi-hit games in the 32-game stretch, including a four-hit game and five, three-hit games.
Over Nebraska’s first 17 games of the season, Sanguinetti hit .175 with just two multi-hit games.
Home Sweet Hawks
The Nebraska baseball program is celebrating its 12th year at Hawks Field in 2013. The Huskers are 260-93-1 (.740) since opening the park on March 5, 2002 with a 23-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.
This season, the Huskers are 11-5 at home and 5-4 during Big Ten play.
After playing 31 homes games in 2012, the Huskers are set to host 19 games at Hawks Field in 2013, while playing 31 true roads games and three neutral site games.
Nebraska was scheduled to play 21 home games in 2013, but two games have been canceled due to weather.
We’re Going Streaking
Five Huskers have put together hitting streaks of 11 or more games this year, including Michael Pritchard, who produced his second career hitting streak of 20 games or more.
With a double in the first inning against Kansas State on Wednesday, April 24, Pritchard became the first player in program history to put together two 20-game or more hitting streaks while at Nebraska.
Last season, Pritchard put together one of the top individual performances at the plate, as he rattled off a 25-game hitting streak. He tied Derek Dukart for the third-longest hitting streak in NU history at 25 games.
2012 teammate Richard Stock also put together quite a streak of his own at 21 games, marking the first time in school history that a pair of Huskers produced hit streaks of 20 or more games in the same season.
This season Austin Darby and Chad Christensen have each put together 15-game hitting streaks, while Rich Sanguinetti has a pair of 13-game hitting streaks and Kash Kalkowski came up one game shy of tying his career-high with a 11-game hitting streak.
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.
He Gets My Vogt
Senior Dylan Vogt has been Nebraska’s go-to arm out of the bullpen this season.
The Omaha native got off to a rough start, as he gave up four earned runs over 4.1 innings in his first two appearances of the season.
Over his next 24 appearances Vogt has given up a combined 11 earned runs over 41.1 innings.
After making a then career-high 25 appearances last season, Vogt has already topped the mark with 26 appearances in 2013.
Prior to the start of the season, Vogt was one of 75 players named to the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List. He was one of four Big Ten pitchers selected, joining Ohio State’s Josh Dezse, Illinois’ Reid Roper and Northwestern’s Kyle Ruchim.