Nebraska baseball set to take on defending champs Oregon State

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge
Nebraska (3-1) vs. No. 7 Oregon State (4-0)
Feb. 21-24, 2019
Surprise, Ariz. • Surprise Stadium

Thursday, Feb. 21 • 2 p.m. (CT)
Video Stream: None
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Kyle Perry (0-0) vs. Kevin Abel (0-0)

Friday, Feb. 22 • 2 p.m. (CT)
Video Stream: None
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Chad Luensmann (0-0) vs. Bryce Fehmel (1-0)

Saturday, Feb. 23 • 6 p.m. (CT)
Video Stream: None
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Nate Fisher (1-0) vs. Sam Tweedt (0-0)

Sunday, Feb. 24 • 10 a.m. (CT)
Video Stream: None
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Colby Gomes (0-0) vs. Grant Gambrell (0-0)

The Nebraska baseball team (3-1) looks to continue its momentum this week when the Huskers travel to Surprise, Ariz., to face No. 7 Oregon State (4-0) at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.

The Huskers and defending national champion Beavers open their four-game series on Thursday at 2 p.m. (CT) at Surprise Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. NU and OSU also meet on Friday at 2 p.m. (CT), Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT) and Sunday at 10 a.m. (CT). Tickets for all four games are available at SurpriseStadium.com.

Video Previews

Darin Erstad wants young Huskers to play loose against Oregon State:

Huskers ready for challenge against defending national champs:

 

Last Time Out
The Huskers won 3-of-4 games during its season-opening series at UC Riverside. NU used a late scoring barrage in the season opener on its way to a 21-6 triumph on Friday. During Saturday’s doubleheader, Nebraska lost the first game, 10-9, before winning the second game, 10-6. In Sunday’s series finale, the Huskers won a 7-1 decision. 

Next Up
The Huskers head to the Frisco College Baseball Classic in Frisco, Texas next weekend. NU faces Texas Tech (Friday, March 1), Sam Houston State (Saturday, March 2) and Mississippi State (Sunday, March 3). The Red Raiders and Bulldogs each made the College World Series last season, while Sam Houston State won the Southland regular-season title.

How to Listen/Watch the Huskers

  • Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe and Ben McLaughlin call the action this weekend on the Learfield/IMG Husker Sports Network. Every game this season can be heard onHuskers.comand the Official Nebraska Huskers App for both iOS and android devices.
  • Sunday’s game will be carried onTuneIn.comand the TuneIn App on the Husker IMG Sports Network channel.
  • Fans in Lincoln can listen on 1400 AM and fans in Omaha can listen on 590 AM.
  • There won’t be a video stream for this week’s games at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Surprise, Ariz.

Scouting the Oregon State Beavers

  • Oregon State leads the all-time series against Nebraska, 6-1, dating back to the first meeting between the schools in 1999. All seven games have taken place at neutral sites.
  • The teams met twice last season during the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Suprise, Ariz. Oregon State won both games (9-1, 10-3).
  • Last season, Oregon State went 55-12-1 en route to winning the College World Series. The Beavers finished second in the Pac-12 with a 20-9-1 mark in 2018.
  • Oregon State is 4-0 this season and ranked seventh in the nation after sweeping its four games at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise. The Beavers defeated New Mexico (twice), Gonzaga and Minnesota.
  • Interim Head Coach Pat Bailey has served as an assistant coach for the Beavers for the last 11 years. He holds a career record of 357-158 in his 13th season as a head coach. Bailey is assisted by Nate Yeskie, Andy Jenkins and Ryan Gipson.
  • Players to Watch
    » Adley Rutschman (Junior C): First-team Preseason All-American who went 4-for-12 with two home runs, six RBIs and eight runs scored during the opening weekend
    » Kevin Abel (Sophomore RHP): First-team Preseason All-American who threw 5.0 innings during his first outing and recorded four strikeouts
    » Bryce Fehmel (Senior RHP): First-team Preseason All-American who went 8.0 innings and allowed only one run in his season debut

Hallmark Paces Offense During Opening Weekend

  • Sophomore Jaxon Hallmark earned Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honors on Monday after leading Nebraska’s offense during its series victory at UC Riverside over the weekend.
  • Hallmark went 8-for-18 during the series with 10 RBIs, two doubles, five runs scored and one stolen base.
  • In Friday’s season opener, Hallmark set career highs for hits (4) and RBIs (5) to help NU to a 21-6 drubbing of UC Riverside.
  • On Saturday, Hallmark went 3-for-4 with four RBIs during the second game of the doubleheader. He also made his pitching debut during that game, throwing 0.2 scoreless inning of relief.

Strong Start

  • Nebraska went 3-1 during its opening weekend, matching the best four-game start under Coach Darin Erstad with last year’s start.
    » Nebraska has started 2-2 twice under Erstad (2014, 2015)
    » Nebraska has started 1-3 three times under Erstad (2012, 2016, 2017)
    » Nebraska has started 0-4 once under Erstad (2013) 
  • Nebraska’s 21 runs against UC Riverside on Friday marked the most runs by the Huskers in a season opener since 1996 when the Huskers scored 23 against New Mexico State.

Offense Shows Firepower in Late Innings

  • Over the span of the opening weekend’s games, the Huskers outscored UC Riverside by a 33-9 margin over the final three innings. The two teams each scored 14 runs during the first six innings.
    » Seventh inning: Nebraska outscored UC Riverside, 10-2
    » Eighth inning: Nebraska outscored UC Riverside, 11-2
    » Ninth inning: Nebraska outscored UC Riverside, 12-5 

Newcomers Stepping In

  • Nebraska’s nationally ranked recruiting class showed its potential during the opening weekend of the season. Of the 15 Huskers who registered at-bats against UC Riverside, six of them are newcomers. In addition, three newcomers made their pitching debuts.
  • D1 Baseball ranked NU’s class 16th nationally and the best among all Big Ten teams, six spots ahead of second-best Illinois.
  • Baseball America tabbed the group among its top-35 recruiting classes. After announcing its top 25, Baseball America released its “Next 10” in alphabetical order. Nebraska was one of two Big Ten teams on the list, along with No. 24 Illinois.
  • Rawlings/Perfect Game ranked Nebraska’s recruiting class 37th nationally and third in the Big Ten, behind No. 32 Purdue and No. 36 Indiana.
  • The Huskers welcome 15 newcomers to the roster this season, including 11 freshmen, as the entire recruiting class made it to campus.
  • Two newcomers – Spencer Schwellenbach and Bo Blessie – were drafted in June 2018, but chose to come to Nebraska to play college baseball. Schwellenbach was selected in the 34th round by the Cleveland Indians, while Blessie was drafted in the 36th round by the Washington Nationals.
  • Four newcomers – Aaron Palenksy (Southeast CC), Trey Kissack (UNC Greensboro/Southeast CC), Ty Roseberry (Nebraska-Kearney) and Gareth Stroh (Purdue/Coffeyville CC) – bring previous college baseball experience to NU’s roster. Stroh and Kissack will sit out this season.

On the Road Again to Start the Season

  • Nebraska is scheduled to play 11 consecutive games away from Lincoln to start the year. The Huskers visit Surprise, Ariz., this weekend and Frisco, Texas (March 1-3) before NU’s home opener on March 5. Last weekend, the Huskers played four games in Riverside, Calif.

Consecutive Games Away from Lincoln to Start the Season Since 2012

  • 2012: 10 games
  • 2013: 7 games
  • 2014: 10 games
  • 2015: 13 games
  • 2016: 9 games
  • 2017: 9 games
  • 2018: 11 games
  • 2019: 11 games

Pitching Staff Aims for Healthy Comeback

  • Four Husker pitchers who spent most of 2018 sidelined with injuries came back to throw during the opening weekend.
  • Junior right-hander Chad Luensmann made his first career start on Friday after missing the entire 2018 campaign following Tommy John surgery last winter. During his first two years at Nebraska in 2016 and 2017, Luensmann compiled 21 saves in 55 appearances.
  • Senior righty Reece Eddins returned to the mound during the second half of the 2018 season after suffering an injury in 2017. Eddins made eight appearances in his limited time last season after missing from March 28, 2017 to April 1, 2018. He went 3.2 innings in his season debut on Saturday at UC Riverside.
  • Sophomore left-hander Connor Curry underwent Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2017 and missed the entire 2018 season. Curry came out of the bullpen for 4.0 scoreless innings against the Highlanders on Friday.
  • Junior righty Robbie Palkert received a medical hardship after suffering a season-ending arm injury during the opening weekend of the 2018 season that required Tommy John surgery. Palkert threw 1.1 innings of relief on Saturday.

Closing Time

  • One of Nebraska’s strengths under Head Coach Darin Erstad has been the bullpen. Nebraska earned 16 saves in 2018, marking the eighth consecutive season the Huskers have recorded double-digit saves.
  • Nebraska has had a pitcher earn 10 or more saves in each of the last five seasons after no Husker pitcher reached the 10-save milestone during the previous seven seasons (2007-13).

Nebraska’s Record with the Lead Since 2012

  • » After six innings: 188-20 (2-0 this season)
  • » After seven innings: 200-10 (3-0 this season)
  • » After eight innings: 212-6 (3-0 this season)