Junior college transfer Bubbs Merrill enters the spring as one of the front-runners to replace four-year starter Will Bolt at second base. An Omaha native, Merrill returns to the state after spending the previous two years at Texarkana (Texas) College, helping the Bulldogs to two conference titles and a NJCAA World Series appearance.
Head Coach Mike Anderson said Merrill, who comes from the same program as former Husker third baseman Jeff Blevins and fellow junior college transfer Quinton Robertson, is a fundamentally sound player and has a multitude of skills that belies his 5-8, 185-pound frame.
"We were very fortunate to sign Bubbs in the spring," Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "If he doesn?t start at second, he could be a great utility player or defensive substitute late in games. He can play either middle infield position as well as in the outfield."
"One of the things we talk about often is the importance of filling roles, and Bubbs will give us a lot of flexibility with our lineup."
Merrill was one of the Huskers? best performers during the fall, batting .365 with a team-best 10 stolen bases. In the Red-White Series, Merrill led the White squad with a .400 average (8-for-20) with three runs scored and an on-base percentage of .478.
Merrill played for coaches Matt Deggs and James Mansinger at Texarkana College. He earned first-team all-Region XIV and Texas East Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore, batting .410 with 10 homers, 44 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. During his freshman year, Merrill hit .291 with five homers, 31 RBIs, 19 doubles and 11 stolen bases.
Merrill played for former NU volunteer assistant Kevin Koch at Millard North High School, earning first-team All-Nebraska honors from both the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star as a senior in 2000. He batted .521 with three homers, 39 RBIs, 36 runs scored and 17 stolen bases.
Merrill, who selected NU over East Carolina and Lewis-Clark State, comes from an athletic background, as his father, Rick, played baseball at UNK, while his brother, Rick, played football at Hastings College and baseball at Bellevue University.