Lincoln – Head Coach Darin Erstad announced the 2014 Nebraska baseball schedule on Monday afternoon. The Huskers are set to play 56 games under the third-year skipper, including 27 games at Hawks Field. The Huskers will play 11 games against teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including a pair of games with College World Series participant Oregon State. The Beavers were a pair of wins away from making a run to the 2013 National Championship Series, but fell to eventual national runner-up Mississippi State.
The Husker coaching staff scheduled a balanced non-conference slate with 15 games at home and 17 on the road, including seven neutral site games.
"Our staff put together a strong non-conference schedule that is going to test our team season," Erstad said. "Right out of the gate we are going to play some tough games on the road against good competition and our guys are going to have to be ready. We put together a good home schedule that I believe our fans will enjoy. I want them to come out and see us play good teams. We will always try to have a 25-27 game home schedule each season that our passionate fan base is excited about."
The Huskers will again play eight Big Ten series, playing four each at home and on the road. After completing a two-year cycle of conference games, Nebraska faces Michigan State and Penn State for the first time in the regular season, while dropping series with Indiana and Purdue. The Huskers have never faced the Spartans or Nittany Lions during regular-season conference play, but have battled both squads at the Big Ten Tournament.
After playing 19 of its first 24 games on the road last season, Nebraska starts the year with 10 straight games away from Lincoln, before returning to Hawks Field for 10 straight home games.
Opening day for Nebraska is set for Friday, Feb. 14, at the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The Huskers and the Pacific Tigers open the season at 1 p.m., and it will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
The Huskers return to Tempe Diablo the following day for a pair of games, as Nebraska takes on Oregon State at Noon followed by a contest with the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 4 p.m. The Huskers finish the weekend by playing their fourth game in three days on Sunday, Feb. 16, with a another game against Gonzaga at 1 p.m. The Huskers opened the 2012 season with a three-game series against Gonzaga in Peoria, Ariz., with the Bulldogs sweeping the series.
Nebraska returns to Arizona for the second weekend of the year, where they will visit Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz., the Spring Training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. Fellow Big Ten programs Michigan State and Indiana will also be in Surprise with the Huskers, as the three Big Ten teams will play one game each against Pac-12 programs Oregon State, Washington and Utah.
The Huskers and Beavers kickoff the weekend on Friday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m., before the Huskers meet the Huskies on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Utes on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Entering the 2014 season, the Huskers and Beavers have met only once, with OSU downing the Huskers, 4-3, during the second game of the 1999 season. Nebraska holds a 5-3 record over Washington, with the last meeting coming in 2011. Nebraska is 4-1 all-time against Utah, last winning a pair of games in Corpus Christi, Texas, early in the 2012 season.
The Huskers end their season-opening 10-game road swing with a trip to Charleston, S.C., for a three-game series with The Citadel. The Bulldogs and Huskers open the three-game set at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, before continuing the series with one game each on Saturday and Sunday. The two teams have met once previously, with the Bulldogs winning at home, 8-5, during the 2006 Homewood Suites Shootout.
The Huskers' home opener is set for Tuesday, March 4, at 1:35 p.m. when the Kansas State Wildcats visit Hawks Field. The Wildcats won the Big 12 regular-season title for the first time in 80 years last season and were also one win away from making a trip to the College World Series, but fell on the road to Oregon State at the Corvallis Super Regional.
Following two days off after hosting the Wildcats, Nebraska welcomes the St. John's Red Storm from the newly formed Big East Conference for a three-game series. The series opens at 1:35 p.m. on Friday, March 7, with the Huskers holding a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series. The teams then meet at 1:05 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Northern Colorado then comes to Lincoln for a pair of games on Tuesday, March 11, and Wednesday, March 12, before the UC Irvine Anteaters open a three-game series at Hawks Field on Friday, March 14, at 4:35 p.m.
The Anteaters took 2-of-3 from the Huskers last season at home and hold a 3-2 all-time lead over the Huskers. The two teams have met before in Lincoln, with the Anteaters posting a 3-2 victory during the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
The 10-game home stand concludes on Tuesday, March 18, with the first of three meetings throughout the season with the Creighton Bluejays. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.
With 20 non-conference games in the books, the Huskers open Big Ten play in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, March 21, at 3 p.m. with a three-game set against the Iowa Hawkeyes. It marks the second straight season that Huskers have traveled to Iowa City, with the Huskers taking 2-of-3 at Duane Banks Field a year ago.
Nebraska stays on the road for its next two games, traveling to the state of Kansas for one game each with Wichita State and Kansas State. The Huskers visit the Shockers on Tuesday, March 25, for a 6:30 p.m. game before heading north on HWY 77 for a 6:30 p.m. game with the Wildcats the following night.
The Huskers conclude the month of March with a three-game home series with the UNLV Rebels. The Rebels will make their first-ever trip to Lincoln and the series opens on Friday, March 28, at 6:35 p.m. The two teams have previously met 22 times, with 20 of the game taking place in Las Vegas, as well as a pair of neutral site games.
Nebraska starts the month of April by paying a visit to former NU Head Coach Dave Van Horn with a mid-week trip to Fayetteville, Ark., for two games with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Game one is set for 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1, with the second game set for 1:35 p.m. the next afternoon. It will be the Huskers second trip to Fayetteville since Van Horn left Nebraska for his alma mater, as the Huskers and Razorbacks split a series in 2009. Last season in Lincoln, the Huskers swept a doubleheader from the No. 10 ranked Razorbacks, including a combined no-hitter from three Husker pitchers in game one.
Nebraska hosts it first Big Ten Conference series of the year on Friday, April 4, when the Ohio State Buckeyes visit Lincoln for the second straight season. In just two seasons as conference foes, the Huskers and Buckeyes have met nine times, including three times at the Big Ten Tournament. The teams are an even 3-3 during the regular season, but the Buckeyes hold a 2-1 advantage during postseason play.
The Huskers then play their next four games on the road, starting with their first trip of the season to TD Ameritrade Park on Tuesday, April 8, for a 6:30 p.m. game with Creighton. The week concludes with a three-game conference series in Minneapolis, Minn., with the Minnesota Golden Gophers that starts on Friday, April 11, at 3:05 p.m. The Huskers are 7-1 against the Gophers over the past two seasons.
Nebraska then hosts five straight home games, starting with the last of a three-game season series with Kansas State on Monday, April 15, at 6:35 p.m. UNO visits Hawks Field the next night, also at 6:35 p.m., for the first-ever meeting between the two teams since the Mavericks moved to Division I.
The five-game homestand ends with a three-game series against the Northwestern Wildcats, starting on Friday, April 18, at 6:35 p.m. It marks the second straight season that the Wildcats will head to Hawks Field during conference play.
Following the series with the Wildcats, the Huskers will be off for four days before heading to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines took 2-of-3 in Lincoln to end the 2013 regular season, but the Huskers bounced back with a 11-2 win over the Wolverines to open the Big Ten Tournament. The three game series opens on Friday, April 25, with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m.
Nebraska heads to Omaha on consecutive nights, starting on Tuesday, April 29, with a second trip to TD Ameritrade Park to face the Bluejays. The Huskers will be in Omaha the following night as well, but will be at Werner Park to battle UNO at 6 p.m. It will mark the Huskers first appearance at Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
The month of May consists of only Big Ten action, as the Huskers end the 2014 regular season with nine straight conference games.
The Penn State Nittany Lions open the month of May on Friday, May 2, at 6:35 p.m. with the first of three games at Hawks Field. It is the first-ever series between the two teams. The squads have met just once all-time, with the Huskers posting a 12-3 win at the 2012 Big Ten Tournament.
Nebraska then makes its first Big Ten trip to East Lansing, Mich., the following weekend for three games with the Michigan State Spartans, starting at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, at McLane Baseball Stadium. The series is set to run Saturday-Sunday-Monday. The Huskers have made a trip to East Lansing once before, as they dropped the final game of the 1937 season, 6-0. The Huskers and Spartans last met during the opening round of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, when the Spartans held off a late Husker rally to win, 10-9. Michigan State held a 10-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Huskers rallied with seven runs and had the tying run on third base with two outs, but a leaping catch by All-Big Ten second baseman Ryan Jones on a ball off the bat of Pat Kelly ended the Huskers' comeback.
The 2014 regular season comes to a close with a three-game series against the Illinois Fighting Illini. After opening Big Ten play with the Illini the past two seasons, the two teams will instead end the regular season starting on Thursday, May 15, at 6:35 p.m. The three-game set continues on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. and ends on Saturday at 1:05 p.m.
Nebraska will look to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament for the third straight season, which is being held at TD Ameritrade Park in 2014. Ticket information will be available at a later date.