Posted By: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Media Relations
Lincoln - Coming off an 11-1 win over Kansas State on Tuesday night, the Nebraska baseball team (13-10, 0-0 Big Ten) heads to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend for its first Big Ten series of the year. The Huskers will meet the Indiana Hoosiers (14-9-1, 3-0 Big Ten), who opened league play last weekend with a 3-0 road sweep at Northwestern.
The series opener at Bart Kaufman Field is set for Friday night at 6:02 p.m. (CT), and will be carried nationally on the Big Ten Network.
The Huskers enter the series on a three-game winning streak and have posted an 8-2 record over their last 10 games. Nebraska is just 6-8 away from Lincoln this season, including 3-2 in true road games.
The Hoosiers have been hot of late, after starting the year 4-7-1, the Hoosiers have gone 10-2 over their past 12 games.
Nebraska and Indiana History
The Huskers and Hoosiers have met 18 times dating back to 1899 and the series is tied 9-9 after the Huskers took three of the four meetings last year. Nebraska swept the Hoosiers in Lincoln to end the 2016 regular season, but then the Hoosiers knocked the Huskers out of the Big Ten Tournament with a 6-2 win.
The teams have twice met for the Big Ten Tournament title. The last meeting came in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament Championship game at TD Ameritrade Park and the Hoosiers defeated the Huskers for the second straight year with an 8-4 victory in front of a record crowd of 19,965.
The teams have met four times in the Big Ten Tournament over the past four seasons, but have met for a regular-season league series just three times since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2012.
Prior to the Husker sweep at home last season, the teams last met for league play in 2013 when the Hoosiers took 2-of-3 from the Huskers at Hawks Field. The Hoosiers went on to play in the College World Series that season. The two teams first met during league play in 2012 and Nebraska took the opener in Bloomington, but the Hoosiers swept a doubleheader the next day to take the series.
How to Listen/Watch the Huskers
Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe, Ben McLaughlin and Nick Handley call all the action this season on the Husker Sports Network. Every game this season can be heard on Huskers.com and the Official Nebraska Huskers App for both iOS and android devices.
This weekend’s series at Indiana will be carried on 1400 AM in Lincoln and 590 AM in Omaha. Fans can also listen on TuneIn.com or the TuneIn App on the Husker IMG Sports Network channel.
Friday’s series opener will be carried live on the Big Ten Network and also streamed on BTN2Go. Both Saturday’s and Sunday’s games will be streamed live on BTN Plus (subscription required).
Freshman Mojo Hagge made his Husker debut in the second game of the season against UC Riverside and went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Hagge has played in each of Nebraska’s last 22 games, including 20 starts.
The Omaha Skutt Catholic product enters Friday with a team-high 21-game on-base streak, while ranking second on the team in both hits (27) and batting average (.333). NU’s leadoff hitter in 17 of the last 18 games, Hagge has also show the ability to drive in runs, as he ranks third on the team with 10 RBIs.
The 5-7 left-handed hitting outfielder also carries a .433 on-base percentage with a team-best 14 walks.
Get a Lead for the Bullpen
During Darin Erstad’s tenure at Nebraska, the Husker bullpen has done its job when it has a lead. Prior to ninth-inning walk-off loss last season at Rutgers on Friday, April 29, the Huskers had won 73 straight games when leading after the eighth inning. Since the loss at Rutgers, the Huskers have won 24 straight games when leading after eight innings.
Led by pitching coach Ted Silva, the Huskers are 150-17 since the start of the 2012 season when they lead after the sixth inning. The Huskers are 156-10 when leading after seven innings and are nearly perfect when leading after eight innings with a 166-5 record.
How High Can He Climb
Ben Miller was taken in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but turned down professional baseball to instead return to Nebraska for his senior season. The Clive, Iowa, native now has a chance to cement his name near the top of Nebraska’s all-time hits list.
Miller enters Tuesday with 187 hits, putting him 13 hits shy of becoming the 25th member of Nebraska’s 200-hit club. Over the past two seasons Miller has averaged 68.5 hits and with that average he would end his career just outside of NU’s all-time top 10.
If Miller can match his 77 hits from last season, he would tie Michael Pritchard for fifth all-time at Nebraska with 251 hits.
The Huskers have had at least one player join the 200 hit club in each of the past four seasons, including 2016 second-round pick Ryan Boldt last year.
NU 200-Career Hit Club
1. 338 Matt Hopper 2000-03
2. 305 Jeff Leise 2000-03
3. 281 Will Bolt 1999-02
4. 261 Darin Erstad 1993-95
5. 251 Michael Pritchard 2011-14
6. 250 Paul Meyers 1984-86
7. 249 Joe Simokaitis 2002-05
8. 248 Jed Dalton 1992-95
9. 247 Chad Christensen 2010-13
10. 246 Darin Petersen 1992-95
11. 242 Mark Kister 1985-87
12. 240 Alex Gordon 2003-05
13. 238 DJ Belfonte 2007-10
14. 234 Todd Sears 1995-97
15. 231 Daniel Bruce 2002-05
16. 229 Ken Ramos 1987-89
17. 227 Jake Opitz 2005-08
18. 226 Austin Darby 2012-15
19. 223 Curtis Ledbetter 2003-05
223 Ryan Boldt 2014-2016
21. 222 John Cole 1999-01
22. 212 Pat Kelly 2012-14
23. 203 Ken Harvey 1997-99
24. 201 Francis Collins 1995-97
-- 187 Ben Miller 2014-Present
Nebraska has totaled 10 or more hits 10 times in 23 games entering Friday. Nebraska is 8-2 on the year when notching double-digit hits, the only losses came in a 7-5 defeat to Utah on Feb. 24 and a 8-6 loss at CSU Bakersfield on March 21.
Last season the Huskers totaled 10 or more hits 27 times in 59 games and were 21-6 in those games.
Get the First One on the Road
Since joining the Big Ten Conference for the 2012 season, Nebraska has played 20 league series on the road and has a record of 13-7. In 59 regular-season Big Ten road games, NU is 34-25.
The Huskers have won the opening game of a Big Ten road series 13 times and have won 11 straight series when they have taken the opener on the road.
The last time NU didn’t win the series after winning the opener was in 2012 at Indiana. Nebraska took game one 13-2, but then dropped a doubleheader the next day, 7-5 and 9-6.
In the seven road series when the Huskers have started with a loss, they have gone on to win the series just twice, including last season at Rutgers when NU dropped the opener and then took a doubleheader on Saturday. Prior to the comeback at Piscataway, the only other time NU had lost an opener on the road and then went on to win was in 2012 at Ohio State. NU lost 10-2 in the opener on Friday and following a rain out on Saturday, took a doubleheader on Sunday, 5-4 and 17-9.
After making a pair of starts last season as a true freshman, Angelo Altavilla has become a key contributor in 2017. The sophomore infielder leads the teams with a .366 average, had a team-high eight doubles and ranks second on the team in RBIs with 16.
Altavilla has started 21 of NU’s 23 games, and has shown versatility in the field with 12 starts at shortstop, seven at third base and two at second base.
Sophomore twin brothers Matt and Mike Waldron have played in the same game at Nebraska four times, including three times this season. Tuesday night against Kansas State Matt started on the mound and Mike started at third base, it was the third time both brothers have been in the starting lineup of the same game.
Last year they played in the same game once. At Michigan State on May 8, Matt started against the Spartans and went 6.0 innings, while Mike was NU’s designated hitter, his first career start.
The last time the Huskers had a twin brothers on the team was 1994, when Glendale, Ariz., natives Jeff and John Strasser were freshmen. Jeff made 16 appearances on the mound, including nine starts, while John played the field in 25 games, including 12 starts.
Lean on the Lefty
Junior Jake Meyers picked up his fourth straight win last Saturday at Cal Poly and is now 4-1 on the year with a 2.01 ERA. Meyers entered his start at Cal Poly on Saturday with 21.2 straight shutout innings and extended the mark to 25.2 innings after he sat the Mustangs down in order in the fourth. The streak came to an end in the fifth when Scott Ogrin hit two-run home run after Bradlee Beesley started the frame with a double.
Meyers has gone 5.0 or more innings in each of his last four starts, including 8.0 innings or more twice.
In the first game of NU’s doubleheader sweep at Cal Poly on Saturday Meyers went 8.0 innings and matched a career high with five strikeouts. Meyers earned the win in NU’s sweep-clinching win over the College of Charleston, as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings. The previous week he tossed a complete-game shutout against Western Carolina, which backed up 5.0 shutout innings against previously unbeaten Arizona at the Frisco College Baseball Classic, where the Huskers handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season with a 1-0 victory.
Leave it to Luensmann
Chad Luensmann had a tough task last season as a true freshman, he had to replace career saves holder Josh Roeder as NU’s closer. Luensmann went on to save 13 games in 14 chances, a NU freshman record, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Husker baseball player to win the award.
Luensmann’s 13 saves tied Brett Jensen (2006) for third place in NU’s single-season record book and Luensmann ranked fourth nationally in saves. Among freshmen, Luensmann tied Long Beach State’s Chris Rivera for the most saves in the country.
Luensmann has three saves this season, including his 15th career save on Sunday, March 5, when the Huskers shut out previously unbeaten Arizona, 1-0. Against the Wildcats Luensmann matched a career high with 4.0 innings on the mound and struck out a career-high four batters.
Luensmann enters Friday ranked fourth all-time at Nebraska in career saves and needs one save to move into a tie with Thom Ott for third place on the career list.
Six members of the 2017 Husker baseball team have previously been drafted:
Luis Alvarado - 2014 (Boston Red Sox, 33rd Round)
Derek Burkamper - 2013 (Boston Red Sox, 20th Round)
Sean Chandler - 2015 (Milwaukee Brewers, 32nd Round)
Chad Luensmann - 2015 (New York Mets, 39th Round)
Ben Miller - 2016 (Pittsburgh Pirates, 32nd Round)
Jesse Wilkening - 2015 (Arizona Diamondbacks, 28th Round)
Building Up Hohensee
Junior Jake Hohensee missed the entire 2016 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and made his Husker return on Feb. 26 against Utah, his first appearance on the mound in 653 days.
The Lincoln native entered the year with three career starts and had never gone more than 4.0 innings in an appearance. This year Hohensee has bettered that mark three times, including back-to-back 6.2-inning outings against the College of Charleston and Cal Poly.
Hohensee will make his sixth start of the season on Friday and has a 2.08 ERA, but is just 2-2 on the year. In his first three starts of the season Hohensee ran into a bit of bad luck, as teams scored at least two unearned runs in each start, including three unearned runs twice.
Hohensee has allowed one earned run or less in four of his five starts this season.
First Trip to Bart Kaufman
The last time the Huskers played in Bloomington was in 2012 and the Hoosiers were still playing at Sembower Field.
Indiana opened Bart Kaufman Field in 2013 and Friday will be the Huskers’ first game at the facility.
Bart Kaufman is scheduled to host this season’s Big Ten Tournament.