Huskers Host Northern Colorado
The Nebraska baseball team concludes a seven-game homestand this week, as the Huskers play host to Northern Colorado in a two-game series. Tuesday’s first pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. with an afternoon matinee on Wednesday at 1:35 p.m. Tuesday’s game is the first under the lights this season at Hawks Field. General admission tickets for both games are available by calling 800-8-BIGRED or at Hawks Field 90 minutes prior to each game.
On the Radio and Internet:
Fans across Nebraska can listen to Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle call the action on the selected Husker Sports Network and on the Internet at Huskers.com. In addition, fans can also watch all three games live on HuskersNside. For subscription information, visit Huskers.com.
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network and for free on the Internet at Huskers.com
Live Stats: Huskers.com
Live Video: HuskersNside (subscription required)
Television: FSN Midwest and FSN Southwest on Saturday at Texas
Sunday’s series finale between Nebraska and Oklahoma featured nearly everything, but a winner, as the game was called after 10 innings with the teams tied at eight. NU was within one pitch of a series sweep before Oklahoma rallied for five unearned runs in the top of the ninth. Spencer Selby pulled the Sooners within a run with a two-run single before Aaron Baker’s three-run homer put OU ahead 8-6. NU fought back in the bottom of the ninth, scoring twice to send the game into extra innings. Mitch Abeita opened the frame with his sixth homer of the year, getting the Huskers within a run. Nick Sullivan then coaxed a walk and eventually came around to score on Dan Johnston’s sacrifice fly. Abeita paced the Husker attack by going 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs, while Nimmo had two hits and drove in a pair of runs. The tie spoiled a strong outing from Aaron Pribanic, who pitched into the eighth inning. He fanned six and allowed only one run after OU scored twice in the first inning.
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network and for free on the Internet at Huskers.com
Scouting Northern Colorado
Under Head Coach Kevin Smallcomb (129-160 in six seasons), Northern Colorado comes to Lincoln with a 7-15 record. The Bears, who have played their first 24 games on the road, have played well at times, splitting a four-game series with Texas A&M earlier in the season. Last weekend, UNC went 2-2 at Arizona State’s tournament, becoming the first team to knock off the top-ranked Sun Devils in 20 games this year with a 6-3 win.
Senior Jon Klausing (1-2 5.53 ERA) is slated to start on Tuesday against the Huskers. Klausing, who pitched at NU from 2004-07 and received his degree in December, picked up a win against Texas A&M and limited the Huskers to three hits in the first meeting on March 9.
Chad Murray leads UNC’s offense with a .324 average, while Kevin Sandberg is hitting .288 with team-bests in homers (four) and RBIs (17).
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 26 of the 29 meetings between the two schools, including 12 of 13 meetings since the Bears have moved to the Division I level. The Huskers swept a four-game series earlier this month.
Huskers Climb in National Polls
The Huskers continued to move up in the national polls on Monday, jumping to 15th in Collegiate Baseball and 19th in Baseball America (the Sports Weekly and NCBWA polls are released later Monday). The Huskers were 22nd in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball last week, its first appearance in the national rankings in 2008.
Sullivan Earns Big 12 Honor
Outfielder Nick Sullivan was honored by the Big 12 on Monday, as he was named the league’s Player of the Week. Sullivan hit .444 (8-for-18) with a homer and nine RBIs in helping the Huskers go 3-1-1 on the week. Sullivan had four multi-RBI games and three multi-hit games on the week, helping the Huskers split a series with Arkansas and go 2-0-1 in a Big 12 series with Oklahoma. He is the third Husker in as many weeks to be honored by the Big 12, joining pitcher Johnny Dorn (March 10) and first baseman Craig Corriston (March 17).
Friday (NU 4, Oklahoma 2): Craig Corriston’s two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth broke a 2-2 tie, giving No. 22 Nebraska a dramatic 4-2 victory over Oklahoma. The Huskers got the two-out rally started when Nick Sullivan lined a single off OU first baseman Aaron Baker for an infield hit. Corriston got ahead 2-0 before sending Ryan Duke’s next pitch into the berm in left for his first homer of the year. Sullivan got the Huskers going in the seventh with a two-run single to tie the score. The Huskers received solid efforts from Johnny Dorn and Zach Herr, who combined to hold the Sooners to a pair of runs. Dorn scattered nine hits over 7.1 innings while Herr fired 1.2 innings of shutout ball for his second win of the year.
Saturday (NU 4, Oklahoma 3): Thad Weber tossed seven shutout innings, while Jake Opitz and Nick Sullivan drove in two runs apiece, leading No. 22 Nebraska to a 4-3 victory on Saturday. Weber picked up his fourth straight win, scattering nine hits and striking out six as he pitched into the eighth. The senior pitched out of jams all afternoon, as the Sooners tallied 13 hits, but were held scoreless until a frantic rally fell short in the ninth. Opitz led the Husker attack, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and scoring twice, as he accounted for three of Nebraska’s four runs, while Sullivan drove in a pair of runs in the win.
-The Huskers are 16-1-1 in their last 18 games heading into this week’s action, including three weekend series sweeps in that span.
-The Huskers’ 5-0-1 start in Big 12 play is their best since the league was formed in 1997. The previous start was 5-1 on four occasions, most recently in 2005.
-Craig Corriston’s walk-off homer on March 22 was the first by a Husker since Jesse Boyer accomplished the feat against Missouri in 2005
-The 14-game win streak Nebraska put together tied for the fourth-longest win streak in school history and the longest since a 15-game win streak in 2000.The Huskers’ streak fell two games shy of the Big 12 record of 16 set by Kansas State (2006) and Texas Tech (2002).
Tuesday - #26 - Dan Jennings Jr. LHP 6-3 183 West Des Moines, Iowa (Valley)
Dan Jennings earns his fifth start of the year and sixth of his career, as he takes the hill in Tuesday’s opener against Northern Colorado Has developed into a valuable arm on the Husker staff, going 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six appearances, while ranking second in the Big 12 in opponent batting average (.159) Worked a perfect inning of relief with a strikeout against Oklahoma in his last outing on March 22 Put together the best performance of his career against Arkansas on March 18, tossing a complete-game five hitter in a 6-1 win, as he struck out a career-high seven Razorbacks and faced one hitter over the minimum over the final seven innings Turned in a solid performance against Northern Colorado on March 9, allowing two runs on just two hits in six innings of work, but left with the score tied at 2-2 in a game the Huskers won 3-2 Picked up his first win against UC Riverside, allowing three runs on five hits while tying or setting career bests in innings (5.2) and strikeouts (5) Pitched well at Stanford, but was victimized by the weather that forced him to throw over two days Fired four shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out four Cardinal hitters Comes off a summer where he went 4-3 with a 2.01 ERA to earn Northwoods League All-Star honors Fanned 64 over 67 innings, while ranking in the top 10 in ERA (7th), complete games (2, 1st) and shutouts (1, 1st) Was one of the Huskers’ top arms out of the bullpen in 2007, going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 13 games Pitched his best in the postseason in 2007, posting a 2.45 ERA in three appearances in the NCAA Tempe Regional and the Big 12 Championship Earned his only win of 2007 in a predetermined four-inning stint against Iowa on April 10, 2007 Made seven appearances in 2006, splitting time between long relief and late-game situations, but did not record a decision Was one of the top high school pitchers in Iowa in 2005, pitching for West Des Moines Valley High School and led his team to consecutive state crowns in 2004 and 2005 Took home first-team all-state and all-district honors as a senior, posting a 9-0 record with a 0.85 ERA.
Wednesday - #30 - Erik Bird Jr. RHP 6-2 220 Omaha, Neb. (Burke)
Erik Bird will make his third start of the season in the series finale against Northern Colorado Has worked in a number of roles this year, going 0-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five outings, including a pair of starts Has not pitched since a no-decision against Arkansas on March 19, as he allowed two runs on four hits over five innings, as he struck out a career-best four hitters Made his first career start against South Dakota State on March 11, tossing three innings of one-hit shutout baseball with a trio of strikeouts Fired two shutout innings against Nebraska-Kearney on March 4, scattering two hits in an 11-2 Husker win Worked a perfect inning of relief against UC Riverside on March 1 Took the loss against Stanford on Feb. 24, allowing a double to the only hitter he faced in a 4-2 setback Spent the summer pitching for Falmouth (Mass.) in the Cape Cod League, helping the Commodores to the Cape Cod League Championship Series Compiled a 2-1 record with three saves and a 2.96 ERA in 16 appearances, fanning 18 over 24.1 innings without issuing a walk Ranked second on the team in saves and was third in appearances Worked out of the Husker bullpen in a number of roles in 2007, going 0-0 with a 5.56 ERA in 17 appearances Overcame a bumpy early-season stretch to pitch well during the second half of the year, posting a 1.35 ERA in his final 10 outings Was 0-2 with a sparkling 0.82 ERA as a true freshman, tying for second on the team with 24 appearances, one off the freshman school mark Ranked second on the team with four holds and allowed just two of 23 inherited runners to score, as he held opponents to a .218 average Earned first-team all-state honors playing at Omaha Burke High School, going 5-1 with four saves and a 1.90 ERA in 2005, ranking among the state leaders in strikeouts (85), ERA, saves (four) and wins (five) Went 15-2 with a 1.14 ERA as a senior, striking out 141 and walking only 20 during the spring and summer seasons