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Huskers Host Miami with CWS Berth on the Line
Courtesy: NU Athletic Communications
06/09/2005
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Nebraska takes on Miami in a three-game Super Regional beginning Friday.
Courtesy: Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

2005 Record (54-13, 19-8 Big 12 • Regular Season and Tournament Champions)
National Rankings: 4 (CB) • 3 (BA) • 4 (Sports Weekly) • 4 (NCBWA)
Super Regional Schedule (Best of Three Format)

Game Day Date Matchup TV (Audience) Time
Game 1 Fri. June 10 Nebraska (54-13) vs. Miami (41-17-1) ESPN (National) 12:06 p.m.
Game 2 Sat. June 11 Nebraska vs. Miami ESPN (Regional) 11:06 a.m.
Game 3 Sun. June 12 Nebraska vs. Miami ESPN (Regional) 3:06 p.m.

Tickets
All-Session and Single-Game: Sold Out

Husker Pitching Probables
Game 1 Joba Chamberlain, So., RHP (8-2, 2.86 ERA)
Game 2 Johnny Dorn, Fr., RHP (11-1, 2.02 ERA)
Game 3 Zach Kroenke, Jr., LHP (7-2, 2.61 ERA)

Media Information
Radio: Pinnacle Sports Network (Jim Rose & Randy Lee)
TV: ESPN (Dave Barnett and Frank Viola)
Live Stats: NCAAsports.com & Huskers.com

Huskers Host Miami with CWS Berth on the Line
Hawks Field at Haymarket Park will be at a fever pitch this week, as third-ranked Nebraska takes on No. 13 Miami in Super Regional matchup. The best-of-three series - the first-ever matchup between the Huskers and Hurricanes on the diamond - commences Friday at 12:06 p.m. and will be shown nationally on ESPN. Saturday’s game is slated for an 11:06 a.m. start while the third game, if necessary, will take place Sunday at 3:06 p.m. Both weekend games will be shown regionally on ESPN, as one of the eight Super Regional sites from around the nation.

The Huskers have been on a roll over the last three weeks, going 13-1 since May 15, including a current eight-game winning streak. That streak equals the longest streak in the country by a team in this week’s Super Regionals.

Nation’s Longest Winning Streaks
No. Team Games
1 Southwest Missouri State 11*
2. Nebraska 8
Rice 8
4. Arizona State 7
Tulane 7
*-season complete

A capacity crowd of more than 8,500 is expected, as all-session tickets sold out in just 13 hours after the regional title game win over Creighton Sunday evening. Hawks Field has been an intimidating place for visitors since the ballpark opened in the spring of 2002. NU is 108-23 in Hawks Field, including a 31-4 record this season. The Huskers have also won 24 straight against non-conference opponents at home dating back to 2004.

Miami will challenge a Husker pitching staff that is ranked second nationally with a 2.62 staff ERA. The Hurricanes, who have been to the College World Series in nine of the past 11 seasons, rank in the top-20 in both hitting (.324 average) and runs scored (8.1 runs per game). Nebraska is no stranger to Super Regional play, as the Huskers have reached the round of 16 in four of the last six seasons dating back to the 2000 season.

Nebraska, which shared the Big 12 regular-season crown and won the conference tournament, is one of three Big 12 teams that advanced to Super Regionals. Baylor, the No. 4 national seed, hosts Clemson, while Texas travels to Mississippi, the No. 5 overall seed.

Leading Off
•-Nebraska is 5-3 in NCAA Super Regional play, losing a three-game series to Stanford in 2000 before winning Super Regionals against Rice (2-0) in 2001 and Richmond (2-1) in 2002.

•-Nebraska had three players picked in the first five rounds of Tuesday’s draft - the first time that the Husker program has had three top-five round picks in a single season.

•-Nebraska has won 10 straight games at home since May 7, its second-longest home winning streak of the season. The Huskers won their first 17 at home before losing to No. 1 Texas on April 9.

•-With the 1-0 win over Baylor on May 29, the Huskers pulled off a Big 12 double, winning the regular-season and tournament titles in the same season for the second time in school history (also 2001). Texas is the only other team to record the feat, winning both titles in 2002, the year it won a national title.

•-The Huskers are 31-4 at Hawks Field this season and 108-23 (.824) since the ballpark opened in 2002. The 31 wins broke the previous single-season home mark for wins of 29 set four times (1980, 1988, 2002 and 2003).

•-The Huskers’ No. 3 ranking in Baseball America this week is its highest in any national poll since the 2001 season - a year the Huskers were ranked first for two weeks in Baseball America.

•-With the 2005 regular-season co-championship, Nebraska becomes the only Big 12 school to win three regular-season titles. The Huskers won outright Big 12 crowns in 2001 and 2003. The only other Big 12 schools to win multiple conference regular-season crowns are Texas A&M (1998 and 1999), Baylor (2000 and 2005) and Texas (2002 and 2004).

•-The Huskers have now won six league titles in school history (1929, 1948, 1950, 2001, 2003 and 2005). Mike Anderson and Tony Sharpe are the only coaches in school history to lead NU to more than one regular-season title.

•-Nebraska’s starting pitchers are a combined 37-4 this season and have won their last 12 decisions dating back to May 14.

•-NU has 18 come-from-behind wins this season, including overcoming a four-run deficit against No. 17 Missouri on May 8.

•-Eight of Nebraska’s 13 losses this season have been by one run, as the Huskers are 11-8 in one-run games this year.

•-Nebraska’s 54 wins entering the NCAA Super Regional broke the single-season record of 51 wins set in 2001 - NU’s first College World Series appearance. All three 50-win seasons have come in the last six seasons.

Husker 50-Win Seasons
No. Year Wins Reg. Season wins Final Record
1. 2005 54 46 --
2000 51 42 51-17
3. 2001 50 41 50-16

•-The Huskers’ pitching has been a strength throughout the 2005 season, as Nebraska leads the Big 12 and ranks second nationally in ERA.

National ERA Team Leaders (as of June 6)
No. Team Team ERA
1. Long Beach State 2.53
2. Nebraska 2.62
3. Virginia 2.74
4. Texas 2.88
5. San Francisco 2.88

•-Nebraska has held 51 of its 67 opponents to four runs or less and its 2.62 ERA is on pace to break the school record of 2.64 set in 1965. Since the aluminum bat was introduced into college baseball in 1974, NU has never posted an ERA below 3.00. The Huskers could also break the Big 12 record for lowest ERA in a season, which is 2.66 by Texas in 2004.

Single-Season Team ERA Totals

No. Team ERA Year

-- 2.62 2005
1. 2.64 1965
2. 2.69 1969
3. 2.73 1966

•-The Huskers have gotten off to quick starts, scoring at least one run in the first inning in 31 of 63 games and outscoring their opponents 53-18 in the first inning of games this season.

•-NU has scored at least one run in 451 of the last 452 games dating back to the 1998 season. In 2004, the Huskers were the only Big 12 team not shut out, and NU currently has a string of 123 games with at least one run.

•-Nebraska’s Big 12 baseball title marks the seventh conference crown by a Husker team this season. NU won Big 12 titles in volleyball, women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s indoor track and field and women’s outdoor track and field, while the Husker rifle team also won the Great America Rifle Conference title.

•-Alex Gordon’s selection as Big 12 Player of the Year marked only the second time a player has won two Big 12 Player-of-the-Year Awards (Baylor’s Jason Jennings in 1998 and 1999).

•-After having just one multi-homer game in 2004, Nebraska has eight this season, including four by first baseman/catcher Curtis Ledbetter and two by All-American third baseman Alex Gordon.

•-Nebraska has had three players honored as Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Week this season (Brian Duensing, Alex Gordon and Joba Chamberlain).

NU Puts Together Memorable 2005 Season
From being ranked 50th in one preseason magazine, Nebraska has enjoyed a steady climb to a consensus top-five ranking in the national polls entering this weekend’s Super Regionals. The following is a list of highlights of the 2005 regular season:

• Feb. 17 - Nebraska overcomes an early 3-0 deficit in the season opener at Hawaii-Hilo - the first of its 18 come-from-behind wins in 2005.

• Feb. 25 - Joba Chamberlain strikes out 15 New Mexico Lobos in a 12-0 victory to earn national player-of-the-week honors.

• Feb. 27 - Alex Gordon’s eighth-inning three-run homer breaks a 3-all tie, as Nebraska defeated Rice for the first time ever at Reckling Park and the first time since the 2001 season.

• March 12 - Gordon goes 6-for-6 in a doubleheader against South Dakota State, breaking out of an early-season slump where he hit .270 in his first 10 games.

• March 13 - NU hits a school and Big 12 record five homers in the fourth inning in a victory over SDSU.

• March 29 - Johnny Dorn takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning, highlighting a 10-2 victory over in-state rival Creighton.

• April 8 - Andy Gerch scores on Randy Boone’s wild pitch in the bottom of the 16th, as NU topples No. 1 Texas, 4-3, in front of a selllout crowd of 8,485 and an ESPN2 national audience.

• April 16 - Johnny Dorn fires 4.1 innings of shutout relief, capping NU’s 6-4 win over Texas A&M, completing the Huskers’ first-ever series win over Texas A&M in College Station.

• April 23 - Back-to-back homers by Alex Gordon and Curtis Ledbetter propel NU to a 4-3 win over No. 8 Baylor, completing a series win over the Big 12 leaders.

• April 27 - Nebraska’s bullpen combines for 5.1 innings of no-hit relief to preserve a 4-2 win over Wichita State, snapping NU’s eight-game losing streak in Wichita dating back to 1986.

• May 8 - Jesse Boyer’s 11th inning walk-off homer gives NU a hard-fought series win over Missouri. The homer was Boyer’s first homer in 276 career at-bats.

• May 9 - Nebraska is ranked third by Collegiate Baseball, its highest national ranking in any poll since the 2001 season.

• May 10 - A crowd of 20,011 - the largest single-game total in college baseball this season - is on hand to watch the rubber match of the season series between Nebraska and Creighton at Rosenblatt Stadium.

• May 20 - Nebraska’s 5-4 win, coupled with losses by Missouri and Texas guarantees that Nebraska will finish either first or second in the league for the fifth time in six seasons.

• May 21 - Joe Simokaitis becomes the Big 12’s all-time assist leader, passing Will Bolt’s school mark of 639 assists.

• May 22 - Zach Kroenke’s complete-game 3-1 win, coupled with Missouri’s win over Baylor, gives NU a share of its third Big 12 title in five seasons.

• May 29 - Brian Duensing and Brett Jensen combine on a three-hit shutout of No. 9 Baylor, 1-0, to sweep the Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles, as NU fought back through the loser’s bracket to win five games in four days.

• June 5 - Zach Kroenke fans a career-high 12 Creighton hitters in a 10-2 win to give the Huskers their fourth regional title in six seasons.

• June 7 - Alex Gordon was the No. 2 overall pick by Kansas City - the first Husker player selected in the first round since 1995.

The Class of 2005
NU’s eight seniors have enjoyed one of the most successful runs in school history. The group has helped NU to a 234-91 record (.720) over the past five seasons with two CWS appearances (2001-02), three Big 12 regular-season titles (2001, 2003 and 2005), two Big 12 Tournament titles (2001 and 2005) and four NCAA regional appearances (2001-03 and 2005). Members of the Huskers’ 2005 senior class include Jeremy Becker, Jesse Boyer, Daniel Bruce, Brandon Fusilier, Curtis Ledbetter, Phil Shirek, Joe Simokaitis and Dustin Timm.

Husker All-American Trio
Three Husker baseball players have been cited by various publications for their All-America teams. Third baseman Alex Gordon has been a unanimous first-team selection by all threee organizations which have selected their respective 2005 teams. It is the sixth time in seven years that Nebraska has had more than one All-American.

2005 All-Americans

Player Publication (Team)
Alex Gordon Collegiate Baseball (1st); Sports Weekly  (1st); College Baseball Foundation (1st)
Joba Chamberlain Collegiate Baseball (3rd)
Johnny Dorn Collegiate Baseball (3rd)

Road Warriors
One of the main reasons for the Huskers’ success in 2005 has been their play on the road. The Huskers were 15-5 during the regular season after going 34-31 on the road during the previous three seasons. According to Warren Nolan’s RPI site (www.warrennolan.com), Nebraska’s road record ranks among the nation’s best entering the postseason.

Best Road Records
No. School Road Record
1. Oregon State 15-4
2. Tulane 16-5
3. Nebraska 15-5*
*-Records as of 5/22; NU’s road record is listed as 15-4 on the site, but NU’s loss to Creighton at Rosenblatt Stadium on April 5 is considered a road contest.

Road Records from 1999 to 2005
Year Road Record
1999 10-7
2000 16-11
2001 18-8
2002 12-12
2003 12-8
2004 10-11
2005 15-5

Huskers Show Consistency in Big 12 Race
Nebraska has been the Big 12’s most consistent program since the start of the 2000 season. The Huskers have finished either first or second in the Big 12 in five of the last six seasons, winning outright conference crowns in both 2001 and 2003. Here is a list of top-two finishes by league schools over the last six years.

Top-Two Big 12 Finishes (2000-05)

School No. Years
Nebraska 5 2000-03, 2005
Texas 3 2002-04
Baylor 2 2000, 2005
Texas Tech 2 2001-02
Oklahoma 1 2004
Texas A&M 1 2003

Its all about Winning...Series
After going 2-7 in Big 12 series last spring, the Huskers have enjoyed a 180-degree turnaround in 2005. Nebraska went 8-1 in its nine 2005 series, matching the best performance since the Big 12 was formed (also in 2003). In fact, the only series NU dropped in 2005 was to No. 1 Texas in early April, and the Huskers then reeled off six straight series wins to close the regular season.

Big 12 Series Records
No. Year Weekend Series Marks
1 Nebraska 8-1
2. Texas 7-2
3. Baylor/Missouri 6-3

vs. the NCAA Field
Nebraska is 18-8 against teams in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, and has faced four of the Super Regional qualifiers, compiling a 6-4 mark against Rice (2-0), USC (0-1), Texas (1-2) and Baylor (3-1).

It’s More Common than Halley’s Comet
When Nebraska clinched its series win at Texas Tech on May 14, it ended one of the longest dry spells in program history. It marked the first time that NU won every conference road series in Big 12 play and more remarkably, the first time that Nebraska won every league road series since 1938, a span of 67 years. For comparison’s sake, Halley’s comet, which last appeared in 1986, appears once every 76 years and is next scheduled to appear in 2061.

Scouting Miami
Under the guidance of head coach Jim Morris, the Hurricanes head to Lincoln with a 41-17-1 record after sweeping through the Coral Gables Regional last weekend. Miami defeated Virginia Commonwealth in the opening round before two wins over Mississippi State propelled the Hurricanes to their seventh straight Super Regional appearance.

Miami brings a potent offense to town, as the Hurricanes rank 11th in team hitting (.324) and 13th in runs scored (8.1 runs per game). Third baseman Ryan Braun is the Hurricanes’ main offensive weapon, as the first-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers (No. 5 pick overall) is hitting .396 with 18 homers, 75 RBIs and 70 runs scored en route to ACC Player-of-the-Year honors. A Golden Spikes Award finalist, Braun is one of eight Hurricane regulars who hit better than .300, while UM has swiped 105 bases in 59 games.

On the mound, the Hurricanes boast of one of the nation’s premier pitchers in junior right-hander Cesar Carrillo, who is 13-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 117.2 innings. A first-round pick of the San Diego Padres, he was the 2005 ACC Pitcher of the Year and won his first 24 collegiate decisions before losing to Clemson last month. Ricky Orta is the only other Hurricane pitcher with at least seven wins, while closer Chris Perez is 5-1 with seven saves in 23 appearances. As a team, the Hurricanes have a 4.19 ERA and have hit 65 batters.

Friday’s meeting is the first ever between the Huskers and Hurricanes on the diamond. In footbal, six of the 10 meetings have come in bowl games, most recently in the 2002 Rose Bowl. The most recent visit by a Hurricane team to Lincoln was in 2002, when the Husker volleyball team swept Miami. This weekend’s visit is the first by the Hurricanes in any of the three major men’s sports (football, basketball and baseball) since 1975, a 17-9 Husker win on the gridiron.

Two Earn Freshman All-America Honors
A pair of Husker baseball pitchers were honored June 8, with selections on Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-America team. Johnny Dorn and Tony Watson were among the standout performers named by the publication.

Dorn, a first-team All-Big 12 selection, enters the Super Regional with an 11-1 record and 2.02 ERA, ranking among the national freshmen leaders in both categories. The right-hander from Grand Island, Neb., has won his last 11 decisions and leads the Big 12 in wins and is fourth in ERA.

Watson, one of only four relievers selected to the team, has compiled a 6-1 record and a 2.89 ERA in 21 appearances. The left-hander from Grimes, Iowa, earned his first career save in the NCAA Regional on June 4 against Creighton.

Last Week at the NCAA Lincoln Regional
Nebraska showed its offensive potential during the NCAA Regional in Lincoln. The Huskers hit .346 as a team and averaged more than nine runs per game. Four Huskers - Alex Gordon, Curtis Ledbetter, Andy Gerch and Zach Kroenke - were named to the all-regional team, while Gerch, a freshman outfielder from Lincoln, was named the regional’s most outstanding player.

Friday (Nebraska 8, Illinois-Chicago 6): Nebraska opened the tournament with a come-from-behind 8-6 win over Illinois-Chicago. Junior catcher Jeff Christy was the Huskers’ star of the day, recording two hits, including his first homer of the season. He also scored three times and threw out three base runners. Ryan Bohanan and Andy Gerch each added two-hit days to help fuel and 11-hit Husker attack, as the Huskers used a three-run sixth to overcome a 5-4 decifit. Brian Duensing picked up the win, allowing one hit in 2.1 innings, while Brett Jensen notched his 13th save with a scoreless ninth.

Saturday (Nebraska 10, Creighton 8): The Huskers relied on a quartet of freshmen to advance to the regional title game with a 10-8 victory over Creighon. Andy Gerch, Ryan Bohanan and Jake Opitz combined for four hits and eight RBIs to pace the Husker offense, as Gerch delivered the night’s biggest hit – a three-run triple in the fifth. Bohanan had his second multi-hit game of the tournament, while Opitz delivered a two-run homer in the win. Johnny Dorn went the first 6.2 innings despite two weather delays, allowing three earned runs en route to his Big 12-leading 11th win of the year.

Sunday (Nebraska 10, Creighton 2): Zach Kroenke struck out a career-high 13 and Husker hitters pounded Creighton pitching for 17 hits, including a season-high seven doubles, in a 10-2 victory over Creighton. Kroenke improved to 7-2 on the year with his fourth complete game of the year, scattering seven hits in the win. The left-hander allowed two runs in the third, but kept Creighton off the scoreboard for his second complete game in NCAA Regional play. Curtis Ledbetter led the attack with four hits, while Alex Gordon went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, as the Huskers broke open a 2-all tie with runs in each of Nebraska’s final five innings.

Huskers in the 2005 MLB Draft
The Nebraska baseball program continued its historic season this week, as six players were selected in the 2005 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Five of the players were selected on the opening day, including No. 2 overall pick Alex Gordon (Kansas City), the first Husker selected in the opening round since Darin Erstad (No. 1) and Alvie Shepherd (No. 21) were both selected in the first round of the 1995 draft. Pitchers Brian Duensing (3rd, Minnesota) and Zach Kroenke (5th, New York) gave NU three picks in the opening five rounds for the first time in school history.

Huskers in the 2005 MLB Draft
Category No. Organization Pick
Alex Gordon 1st Kansas City 2
Brian Duensing 3rd Minnesota 83
Zach Kroenke 5th New York (AL) 169
Joe Simokaitis 10th Chicago (NL) 310
Curtis Ledbetter 18th Seattle 533
Brett Jensen 23rd Washington 684

Husker Pitchers Earn Passing Grade
Despite having five pitchers drafted in 2004 - the highest total of Husker pitchers taken in the draft in more than 20 years - Nebraska’s pitching staff has excelled during the 2005 season.

Nebraska pitchers currently...

• Lead the Big 12 and are second nationally with a 2.62 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a league-low .225 batting average. Nebraska has only posted a sub-3.00 ERA three times in school history (1965, 1966 and 1969) - and none since the introduction of the aluminum bat.

• Have held 41 of 67 foes to three runs or less

• Lead the Big 12 with a school-record 20 saves (by eight different pitchers) and have allowed just 32 of 116 (28 percent) inherited runners to score.

• Issue a league-low 2.65 walks/nine innings, while ranking second in the league with 7.63 strikeouts/nine innings.

Gordon Makes Bid for College Baseball’s Best
Alex Gordon has lived up to the expectations of being considered the top player in college baseball entering the 2005 season.

The junior third baseman from Lincoln enters the NCAA Super Regional leading the league in half of the 12 categories the Big 12 tracks, including runs scored, walks, total bases, doubles, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, while ranking among the top eight in all 12 categories.

A finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Howser Awards, Gordon was the No. 2 pick in the 2005 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft onTuesday. Gordon started the season hitting just .270 in Nebraska’s first 10 games, but has hit over .400 since and is second in the league with a .382 average. His biggest hit of 2005 so far was a three-run eighth-inning homer to break a 3-all tie against No. 7 Rice on Feb. 27, NU’s first win over the Owls since the 2001 NCAA Super Regional.

Gordon’s 2005 Honors
• USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch Finalist
• Howser Award Finalist
• Sports Weekly and Collegiate Baseball First-team All-American
• College Baseball Foundation First-Team All-American
• Big 12 Player of the Year & First-Team All-Big 12
• Baseball America National Midseason Player of the Year
• Collegiate Baseball Natl. Player of the Week (3/21)
• NCBWA National Player of the Week (3/21)
• Big 12 Player of the Week (3/21 & 3/28)
• Collegiate Baseball Preseason Natl. Player of the Year
• First-Team preseason All-American (Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA and Baseball America)
• Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year (Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America)
• Baseball America’s Top Junior in the Country

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