One of six true freshmen pitchers on the roster, left-hander Brad Furnish will look to be an impact player for the Huskers in 2004. The southpaw earned first-team all-state honors in Texas as a high school senior, ranking among the strikeout leaders in the metro Dallas area.
Furnish, the first high school senior from Texas to sign with Nebraska since Will Bolt in 1998, made one appearance in the Red/White Series, allowing two earned runs and striking out three in four innings of work. Pitching Coach Rob Childress said the 6-1, 190-pounder throws consistently in the upper 80s with a good breaking ball. In addition to his pitching abilities, he also played in the infield during the fall, showing off another skill, as he can throw with either his left or right hand.
"Brad comes from a very good high school program and played for the Dallas Mustangs, which is one of the top summer league teams in the country," Childress said. "He is an excellent athlete, but also has a good feel for the game when he is one the mound. As he gets used to the college game, he will get more comfortable, which will help him become a more consistent pitcher."
The freshman, who has already put on 20 pounds since arriving on campus, will likely begin the year coming out of the bullpen as a set-up man for closer Mike Sillman.
Furnish was one of the top pitchers in the state of Texas and earned first-team Class 5-A All-State honors pitching for Allen High School and Coach Paul Pool. A two-time all-district honoree, Furnish was selected by the Dallas Morning News as co-pitcher of the Year, going 7-3 with two saves and a 1.53 ERA in 2003. He allowed just 32 hits in 64 innings of work, while striking out 101, including an 18-strikeout performance in a seven-inning game, to rank among the district leaders in both wins and strikeouts. Over the summer, he helped the Dallas Mustangs to a third-place finish at the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M., over the summer. As a junior, Furnish went 6-2 with a 1.94 ERA, striking out 67 and allowing 23 hits in 54 innings of work. He chose Nebraska over a host of schools, including Baylor, New Mexico, Louisiana-Lafayette, Kansas, Texas-San Antonio, Texas-Arlington and Texas-Pan American.
Birthdate: Jan. 19, 1985; Parents: Keith and Vicki; Sister: Megan; Major: Business Administration.