Big 12 Commissioner?s Honor Roll (Fall 2000; Fall 2001; Spring 2002)
- Enters his senior season in fifth place in school history with 69 appearances and needs only 10 appearances to break the school record of 78 by Jeff Anderson (1981-84)
His five career saves are the most of any returning Husker pitcher
Made 59 of his last 60 appearances over the past three seasons in relief
Tied the school record for best winning percentage in a season, going 5-0 in 2001
Earned the win in Nebraska?s Big 12-clinching victory at Iowa State on May 12, 2001
Is the only current pitcher on the NU staff with a 10-strikeout game, as he fanned 10 against UW-Milwaukee in Feb. 27, 1999
Was granted a medical redshirt in 1999 after making nine appearances and throwing 30 innings
One of two fifth-year seniors on the 2003 Husker roster, Steve Hale has been an integral part of the Huskers? success over the past four years.
The right-hander from Yukon, Okla., has made 69 career appearances, and needs only 10 appearances to become NU?s career leader in that category. In addition, the 6-1, 205-pounder needs only four more wins to crack the Huskers? top 10 list, not an easy accomplishment for someone who has a total of four career starts.
Throughout his career, Hale has been a constant out of the bullpen. As a sophomore, he went 5-0, including a win at Iowa State that clinched NU?s first regular-season conference title since 1950. While he only had four wins in 2002, three of them were in the final five weeks of the season, including one in the Big 12 Tournament and another in the NCAA Regional title game against Southwest Missouri State. According to Pitching Coach Rob Childress, Hale?s value to the program far exceeds wins and losses.
"Steve is one of our unsung heroes of our staff," Childress said. "We would have probably not gotten back to the CWS last year if it wasn?t for Steve?s postseason performances."
Childress notes that Hale?s versatility and poise makes him a valuable member of the Huskers? pitching staff.
"Steve is someone we won?t hesitate to use out of the bullpen," Childress said. "During his career, he has been in almost every situation imaginable, and has great composure and can chew up a lot of innings out of the bullpen."
2002 - Junior
Hale was Nebraska?s most reliable arm out of the bullpen in 2002, going 4-2 with two saves and a 3.56 ERA in 55.2 innings. The right-hander made a team-high 25 appearances ? all in relief ? and allowed 28 runs (22 earned) on 59 hits, holding opponents to a .277 average. His inning total ranked fifth on the team, while he enjoyed better than a 2.3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (32K-to-14BB). He showed great versatility, ranking third with a pair of saves, while throwing at least two innings in 14 outings.
Hale opened the season strong, going 12.1 innings, covering four appearances, before he allowed his first run. Against New Mexico on Feb. 15, he kept the Huskers in the game, striking out four in a season-best 6.1 innings of relief, as the game went 13 innings before NU pulled out a 3-2 win over the Lobos. Hale earned his first save of the year in his next outing, scattering three hits in a three-inning stint against Louisiana-Monroe on Feb. 23. He allowed his first earned run of the year at Baylor on March 9, taking the loss in a 2-1 setback to the Bears. After allowing a season-high five runs in three innings at Creighton on April 9, Hale allowed one run or less in his next eight appearances out of the bullpen to close out the regular season. He picked up his first win of the year on May 5, hurling an inning of relief in a 7-5 win over the Longhorns. He enjoyed one of his best weeks at the Big 12 Tournament, picking up a win and a save to help NU to the title game. In the opener against Baylor, he threw 2.1 innings of one-hit ball to pick up his second save. Two days later against Kansas State, he starred in a long relief role, striking out five and throwing six innings, his longest outing in over three months to earn NU?s 8-7 win.
During the postseason, Hale made five appearances, covering a total of 11 innings, going 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA. He picked up the win in the regional title game against Southwest Missouri State, allowing two runs on five hits in a 14-3 Husker win. He pitched in NU?s final four games, including both College World Series contests. He allowed a run on two hits against Clemson before throwing a scoreless 0.2 innings against South Carolina.
2001 - Sophomore
Hale was one of the Big 12?s top middle relievers, going 5-0 with a 4.24 ERA in 20 appearances, including 19 out of the bullpen. Hale trailed only All-Big 12 closer Thom Ott in relief appearances and bullpen innings (43.2). The third-year sophomore enjoyed a nearly 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (32 strikeouts to 18 walks), but opponents hit .309 against him. Hale, who was second on the team with a pair of saves, was a workhorse in the bullpen, going two or more innings on 12 occasions.
Hale went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in conference play, holding foes to a .254 average. In 16.1 innings, he allowed just five extra-base hits, including one homer. He earned a permanent place in the school record books, earning the win against Iowa State to clinch NU?s first conference title in 51 seasons. Trailing 3-1 and with All-American Shane Komine knocked out of the game with an injury, Hale?s strong effort kept the Huskers in the contest, as he threw a season-high five innings of relief in a16-8 victory.
A traditionally fast starter, Hale was the Huskers? most effective pitcher during the first month of the season, going 1-0 with a save and a sterling 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings in February. He picked up his first save of the season, coming out of the bullpen to throw 3.1 innings of relief in a win at New Mexico on Feb. 16. Against Ohio State, Hale turned in his finest outing of the season to earn the win. With NU clinging to a 5-4 lead and with a pair of runners on, Hale came out of the bullpen to shut the Buckeyes down, throwing a scoreless 4.2 innings while striking out a season-high six in a 10-4 Husker victory. He picked up his second win of the spring, throwing three innings of relief at Texas Tech on March 2, as the Huskers rallied for an 8-7 win. Hale was summoned out of the bullpen to record his second save of the year in Nebraska?s 12-9 win at Southern Utah on March 6. Hale struggled in his next three appearances, allowing six runs and seven walks over a span of 8.1 innings.
Hale started April in fine fashion, scattering one hit in 2.1 scoreless innings at Oklahoma on April 1 to complete Nebraska?s first sweep in Norman since 1962. He continued his strong performances, throwing three shutout innings against Creighton on April 4, where he scattered three hits and struck out four, and against Texas on April 7, where he allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. He made his first start since March of 1999 against Southern Utah, allowing two runs on seven hits in three innings but did not get the decision in the Huskers? 5-2 win. He moved to the bullpen for his final seven appearances, earning victories over UTSA on April 17 and against Northern Iowa on May 8, where he struck out three Panthers in 2.2 scoreless innings of relief.
He made a pair of appearances in the Huskers? postseason run, throwing a scoreless third of an inning against Rutgers on May 26 to help preserve a 5-4 Husker win over the Scarlet Knights. At the College World Series against Tulane, Hale came in the game to face a bases-loaded, no-out situation, but got Jason Jurries to ground into a double play and did not allow a run in NU?s 6-5 loss.
2000 - Redshirt Freshman
Hale showed little side effects after missing most of the 1999 season with an injury, becoming one of the Huskers? top middle relievers. On the season, he made 15 appearances, all in relief, going 2-0 with a 4.46 ERA in 36.1 innings. Only 10 of his 41 hits allowed went for extra bases, while he also enjoyed nearly a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, fanning 27 hitters while walking only 14.
Hale opened the season on fire, allowing just one run in his first 12.1 innings of work. He did not allow a run in his first three appearances, with four scoreless innings against Northwestern State on Feb. 11 to open the season before throwing 4.1 scoreless innings against Washington State eight days later. Through his first 10 appearances, Hale allowed just three earned runs in 22 innings for a 1.23 ERA after a perfect inning of work in a 14-2 Nebraska win over Kansas on April 8.
In regular-season Big 12 play, Hale was 1-0 with a 6.23 ERA in 21.2 innings of work. His finest conference performance came against defending Big 12 champion Texas A&M, where he went a season-long 6.2 innings to pick up his second win of the year in an 11-3 victory over the Aggies on April 22. Hale struck out a season-high six batters against the Aggies, while scattering just four hits.
In his only postseason outing against Oklahoma State on April 17 in the Big 12 Tournament, Hale allowed one hit and one walk in one third of an inning of relief.
1999 - Freshman
Hale was granted a medical redshirt after making nine appearances in 1999. On the year, he pitched 30 innings, going 3-2 with a 4.80 ERA. Hale surrendered 16 earned runs and 34 hits, walking just 10 batters and striking out 34 in 30 innings.
He went 2-0 as a starter, earning starts against Jacksonville State, UW-Milwaukee and Oklahoma. In his first career start, he pitched six innings, allowing one earned run while striking out seven in a 15-3 victory over Jacksonville State. In his next outing, he was superb, fanning a career-high 10 batters in 7.2 innings of work against UW-Milwaukee. His season came to a crashing halt in Lawrence, Kan., on March 20, when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury.
Hale had an impressive senior season, finishing with a 14-1 record and earning first-team all-state honors from the Oklahoma Coaches Association in 1998. In 96 innings pitched, he had 115 strikeouts, threw five shutouts and had a no-hitter. He threw 13 complete games for Yukon, as the team finished 30-13 and lost in the district finals. He also played third base and was a designated hitter. He also produced double-figure wins during his American Legion season.
Year ERA W-L App GS CG SHO/CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO
1999.... 4.80 3-2 9 3 0 0/0 1 30.0 34 23 16 10 34
2000.... 4.46 2-0 15 0 0 0/0 0 36.1 41 23 18 14 27
2001.... 4.24 5-0 20 1 0 0/0 2 46.2 59 25 22 18 32
2002.... 3.56 4-2 25 0 0 0/0 2 55.2 59 28 22 14 32
TOTAL... 4.16 14-4 69 4 0 0/0 5 168.2 193 99 78 56 125