Matt

Hopper

MattHopperZoom

#16

First Baseman
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 220
Year: Senior
City/State: Golden, Colo.
High School: Bear Creek

Bio

 

Honors & Awards 

  • 2003 Second-Team All-American (Baseball America)
  • 2003 Third-Team All-American (Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA)
  • 2003 Big 12 Player of the Year
  • 2003 NCBWA District Player of the Year
  • 2003 First-Team All-Big 12
  • 2003 First-Team Academic All-Big 12
  • 2002 Lincoln All-RegionalTeam
  • 2001 First-Team All-American (The Sporting News)
  • 2001 First-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, Dallas Morning News)
  • 2001 Lincoln All-Regional Team
  • 2000 Third-Team All-American (American Baseball Coaches Association)
  • 2000 First-Team Freshman All-American (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, USA Today/Baseball Weekly)
  • 2000 Big 12 Freshman of the Year
  • 2000 First-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman)
  • 2000 Minneapolis All-Regional Team
  • Big 12 Player of the Week (5/1/00)

 

Diamond Notes

  • Was drafted in the 10th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft by the Philadephia Phillies
  • Was drafted in the 36th round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft by the San Francisco Giants

 

2003 - Senior
Hopper capped an amazing career at Nebraska by securing second-team All-America honors and being named the 2003 Big 12 Player of the Year. On the season, Hopper fueled the Husker offense, leading the team with a batting average of .382, 66 RBIs, 74 runs scored, 89 hits, 22 home runs, a .717 slugging percentage and 53 drawn walks. Hopper also notched 12 doubles and stole five bases in his senior campaign.

A career .350 hitter, Hopper finished his career as the school and Big 12 all-time leader in homers (64), RBIs (271), hits (338) and runs scored (246). Hopper was a 10th-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

2002 - Junior
Hopper fought through several injuries during the 2002 campaign. The preseason Big 12 Player of the Year by Baseball America, Hopper finished the season with a .309 average, nine homers and 49 RBIs in 64 contests, including 62 starts. He finished the year third in homers and walks (29), while ending the season fourth in both RBIs and runs scored (52). Hopper, who had 20 multiple-hit games, also led the Huskers with 10 game-winning RBIs and batted .379 (36-for-95) with 17 RBIs in two-out situations. He also performed well in his first full season at first base, finishing the season with a .995 fielding percentage, including a pair of streaks of 175 chances without an error.

His season ended at the Super Regional on June 8, when he broke a bone in his left hand, colliding with Richmond's Bobby LeNoir on a sacrifice bunt attempt. It was the second major injury Hopper sustained during the year, as he tore ligaments and cartilage in his right shoulder against Oklahoma on April 5. He missed only one game with that injury, but was limited to DH duty before returning to first base against Creighton 11 days later.

In league games, Hopper batted .268 in 25 contests, ranking third on the squad in homers (four), RBIs (17) and runs scored (20).

Hopper, who hovered around the .300 mark for most of the season, was on a tear before the season-ending injury against the Spiders, batting .408 with a pair of homers and 14 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak.

He was one of the Huskers' catalysts during the Big 12 Tournament, batting .389 (7-for-18) with a homer and four RBIs. He enjoyed his best game of the season in the opening round win against Baylor, lashing out a season-high four hits, including a towering homer to dead center, in the 11-9 win. Hopper continued his torrid pace during the regional, hitting .357 (5-for-14) with a homer and a team-high six RBIs, as he drove in three runs apiece against both Marist and SMS.

 

2001 - Sophomore
Hopper turned in a monster sophomore campaign, batting .358 with 12 homers and 85 RBIs in 64 contests en route to first-team All-America honors by The Sporting News and first-team All-Big 12 honors for the second straight season.

Hopper trailed only teammate and fellow first-team All-American Dan Johnson in RBIs, a total which ranked third nationally and fifth on Husker single-season charts. Hopper also finished in the top 10 in the conference in walks (42, third), runs scored (65, sixth), hits (91, seventh), home runs (12, seventh), total bases (148, seventh) and doubles (19, 10th).

During the season, Hopper, who made 50 starts at DH while alternating with Johnson at first base, had 25 multi-hit games, while also posting a pair of 11-game hit streaks during the season. His .583 slugging percentage was third on the team, while he also led NU with six sacrifice flies and was second with 12 round trippers.

In Big 12 play, Hopper enjoyed a solid season, batting .307 with four homers and 23 runs scored in 28 conference games. He led the circuit with 33 RBIs and ranked third with 20 walks.

Hopper closed the season on a torrid stretch, hitting .400 with six homers, 28 RBIs and 30 runs scored over the final 19 games of the season. In that span, he had an on-base percentage of .495, while slugging close to .700. He earned All-Big 12 Tournament honors after batting .368 with a homer, five RBIs and four runs scored in the Huskers? four-game sweep in Oklahoma City.

Hopper, who hit .357 (41-of-115) with runners in scoring position, drove in runs in bunches, leading the Huskers with 25 multiple-RBI performances, including eight games of four RBIs or more. He turned in his best performance of the year on March 6 at Southern Utah, when he went 4-for-5 with a career-high six RBIs in an 18-6 win over the Thunderbirds. With the bases loaded, he hit .579 (11-for-19) with three homers, but no hit was as big as his sixth-inning grand slam against Iowa State on May 12, which helped NU clinch its first regular-season conference title in 51 years. Hopper went 2-for-5 and tied his career high with six RBIs in the win over the Cyclones.

Hopper shined during NU's postseason run, batting .385 with a pair of homers and eight RBIs in seven contests. He also led the Huskers in both walks (eight) and on-base percentage (.514). He went just 1-for-8 in the College World Series with his lone hit being a solo homer against Cal State Fullerton in NU's 5-4 loss. Hopper went 2-for-8 with a pair of walks during the Super Regional sweep of Rice. He earned all-regional honors, batting .700 (7-for-10) with a homer, six RBIs and six runs scored, highlighted by a 4-for-5 effort with a grand slam and five RBIs in NU's 16-6 opening round win over Northern Iowa on May 25.

 

2000 - Redshirt Freshman
Hopper enjoyed the finest freshman campaign in school history, earning third-team All-America honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association and unanimous first-team freshman All-America accolades from every major baseball publication.

He finished with a .352 batting average and added 21 homers and 71 RBIs in 64 games. He tied Dan Johnson for the team lead with 21 home runs, while his 71 RBIs trailed only Justin Cowan's team-best 74. He was also among Nebraska's team leaders in hits (83, third), doubles (14, second), slugging percentage (.678, second) multi-hit games (23, third) and walks (35, fourth).

The Big 12 Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-Big 12 selection, Hopper led all conference freshmen in batting average, homers and RBIs, and set a conference record for most homers by a freshman with 21. His home run and RBI totals were the best ever by a Husker freshman.

In regular-season conference play, Hopper batted an impressive .411 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs. He led Nebraska with 44 hits and 32 runs scored in 29 Big 12 games and was second to Johnson in both slugging (.822) and on-base percentage (.480).

After breaking into the starting lineup for good on March 8, Hopper sparked the Huskers to a 43-12 record, hitting .359 as the designated hitter, while also seeing time at first and third base. He tied a school freshman record with a 16-game hitting streak, batting .443 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs during the stretch. He also recorded 17 multiple-RBI games, driving in five runs in a game on five occasions. Against Western Illinois, he tied an NCAA record, hitting a pair of homers in the same inning and finished 4-for-5 with five RBIs. In a 10-day, seven-game stretch in mid-April, Hopper homered seven times and added 17 RBIs, as the Huskers won all seven games en route to a 15-game winning streak, the longest in 17 years.

At the Big 12 Tournament, Hopper appeared in all six games, playing DH and third base, hitting .286 (6-for-21) with a homer and four RBIs. At the NCAA Minneapolis Regional, Hopper batted .274 with a pair of homers and four RBIs to earn all-regional honors. Hopper went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo homer in NU's 4-1 win over Minnesota, while his three-run first-inning homer keyed NU's 8-1 rout of Wichita State in the title game. Against Stanford in the Super Regional series, he went 1-for-11 with an RBI against the Cardinal.

 

1999 - Freshman
Hopper redshirted after having hernia surgery in February of 1999.

 

Before Nebraska
Hopper earned first-team all-state recognition as a senior for Coach Mitch Hartung at Bear Creek High School, batting .490 with six homers and 27 RBIs. He was even more effective on the mound, going 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA, while striking out 86 batters en route to earning honorable-mention All-America honors from USA Today. He led BCHS to a third-place finish at the state tournament during his junior season, batting .380 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs, while going 11-3 with a 2.97 ERA on the mound. Hopper also lettered in golf for two seasons at Bear Creek High School.

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