Nebraska-Iowa Baseball Big Ten Preview

Date             Date                    Opponent                          Radio                               Video                 TV         Time/Result

Tuesday        April 26                vs. Iowa (15-22, 4-8)            Husker Sports Network        Huskers.com                   6:05 p.m.

Friday           April 29                vs. Baylor (21-20, 7-11)        Husker Sports Network        Huskers.com                   6:35 p.m.

Saturday        April 30                vs. Baylor                         Husker Sports Network        Huskers.com       NET       2:05 p.m.

Sunday                                  May 1                vs. Baylor      Husker Sports Network                Huskers.com                   1:05 p.m.

 

Media Info

Live Radio: Select Husker Sports Network affiliates and for free on Huskers.com (affiliate list on page five of today's notes)

Live Stats:  Huskers.com

Live Video: Free NET stream on Huskers.com on Saturday

Television: None

Promotion: Business at the Ballpark

 

Probable Starting Pitchers

Day        Nebraska                             Iowa

Friday    Tyler Niederklein, So., RHP (5-1, 4.09)            Jeff Pacha, Sr., LHP (0-2, 6.91)

 

This Week: Nebraska returns home for a seven-game homestand, beginning this Tuesday night when the Huskers meet Iowa. The non-conference match-up will be NU's only with a Big Ten opponent this season. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.

 

This weekend, Nebraska will host a pivotal Big 12 series against Baylor. Three of NU's final four league series are at Hawks Field.


Tickets: Single-game tickets for this weekend are available by visiting the Hawks Field Ticket Office 90 minutes before first pitch. Tickets are $10 (reserved and Home Run Terrace) and $7 (GA) with youth and senior citizens GA seats at $5. All UNL students receive free admission with a valid N-card.


Live Video: Fans can watch all four games this week by purchasing a Huskers NSide subscription on Huskers.com.


On the Radio: Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen to Greg Sharpe and Jeff Culhane call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network – including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln, KFAM 1110 AM in Omaha – and on the Internet at Huskers.com. A complete list of Husker Sports Network affiliates can be found on page 5.


Preview: Nebraska, who will play of its final 14 games at home, is looking to get back on the winning track when the Iowa Hawkeyes come to town Tuesday night. The Huskers carried momentum of a Big 12 series win and non-conference victory over Creighton into Norman last weekend, but dropped two games to the 11th-ranked Sooners. Sunday's series finale was rained out.

Nebraska is 5-0 in Tuesday games this season, including a pair of wins over Creighton and one at Wichita State over the past three weeks. Right hander Tyler Niederklein, who was slated to start Sunday's game at Oklahoma, will be on the mound for the Huskers. He is 5-1 with a 4.09 ERA. The Omaha, Neb., native will be well rested, as his last appearance was in the April 18 series-clinching victory over Kansas State.

Kurt Farmer has taken over as the team's batting average leader, as he enters the final weeks of the season hitting at a .340 clip. The Columbus, Neb., native has consistently ranked among the top 15 individually in the Big 12, while posting a .995 fielding percentage in his first year playing first base.


3 THINGS TO WATCH THIS WEEK

1.  Kurt Farmer has taken over the team's top batting average at .340, the 10th-best mark in the Big 12.

2.  The Huskers are 20-0 when leading after six innings. Logan Ehlers kept the streak alive last Tuesday at Creighton, throwing 5.1 innings of relief in a 2-1 thriller.

3.  Tyler Niederklein will make his ninth start of the season against Iowa. He is 3-0 with a 3.98 ERA in five Tuesday starts this season, including wins over Creighton and Wichita State.

 

Scouting Iowa

The Hawkeyes will visit Lincoln for the final time as a non-conference opponent. Led by eighth-year head coach Jack Dahm, Iowa is 15-22 in 2011 with a 4-7 record in Big Ten play. The Hawkeys' year has been highlighted by two-game sweeps of Mississippi State and Notre Dame.

Mike McQuillan is the top Iowa hitter, batting .340 with a team-best 24 RBIs. Trevor Willis (.306) and Chett Zeize (.304) are also over .300, with Willis hitting 23 RBIs. Ziese and McQuillan lead the Hawkeyes in home runs with two each.

The Iowa pitching staff has posted a 4.49 ERA, led by Nick Brown (3-2, 2.85), who ranks fifth in the league. Tim Fangan has a team-high 14 appearances with two saves. The Huskers will see left hander Jeff Pacha, who enters Tuesday night with an 0-2 record and a 6.91 ERA. Pacha will be making his second start and eighth appearance of the year.

Iowa was 30-28 last season and finished in a third-place tie in the Big Ten Conference standings. The Hawkeyes returned eight position starters from that squad.

Series History: Nebraska leads the all-time series with Iowa, 11-9, and has won four of the past six matchups since the series resumed in 2005 after a 75-year break. The 2008 game was canceled due to rain, and the teams have split the last two meetings with the home squad winning each contest.

Last Time Out:

Huskers Fall Short in Pitching Battle, 4-1

    Nebraska (25-16, 5-9) trailed by only one run after seven innings but No. 11 Oklahoma (29-11, 9-7) put up a pair in the eighth on RBIs from Caleb Bushyhead and Garrett Buechele to down the Huskers 4-1 on Saturday afternoon in Norman, Okla.

    The Huskers were held to three hits, two of which came in the sixth inning when NU cut a two-run deficit in half (2-1) on Kash Kalkowski's RBI double down the left field line. That was all the offense could produce, however, as Oklahoma starter Burch Smith (7-2) went 7.1 innings before Dillon Overton and Ryan Duke silenced the Husker bats over the final two innings.

    Nebraska starter Jon Keller (2-4) was strong on the rubber for the Big Red, going 5.0 innings and holding the Sooners to two runs on 10 hits. Keller got out of jams in the third and fifth when Oklahoma stranded five of 12 runners on the day. It marked the second straight week the freshman went at least five innings and gave up only two runs. Fellow freshman Logan Ehlers relieved Keller in the sixth and was clean through two innings before allowing two runs in the eighth.

    The Huskers had a chance to tie the game in the eighth when Kale Kiser drew a bases loaded walk to start the inning. After Bryan Peters was retired, Kiser was erased when he was caught stealing 1-3-6.

    Oklahoma outhit Nebraska 14-3 but only carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning. That is when the Huskers broke up Smith's no-hitter on an infield single by Peters before Kalkowski ripped a double down the left field line to make it 2-1. From that point on, the Huskers were unable to get a hit until two outs in the ninth on Chad Christensen's single up the middle.

    Nebraska had one error in the setback on a tough play at second by Peters. The sophomore initially fumbled a hard-hit grounder from Casey Johnson but recovered to make the throw, which Johnson narrowly beat to the bag. It marked NU's first infield error in seven games.

 

Leading Off

    -Nebraska returns to Lincoln for seven straight home games following three consecutive road contests. The Huskers are 16-6 this season at Hawks Field, with five of those losses coming to opponents games currently ranked in the national polls. Nebraska is 224-72-1 all-time at Hawks Field. This is the 10th season at the ballpark, which is nationally-recognized as one of the best in collegiate baseball. Nebraska currently ranks 28th nationally in attendance with 2,244 fans per game.

    -Prior to last weekend's series at Oklahoma, the Huskers played in five straight one-run games. The last time that happened was 1979.

    -A week ago, Nebraska picked up one of its most significant wins in recent history, as the Huskers defeated in-state rival Creighton in the first game ever played at the new TD Ameritrade Park. Located in downtown Omaha, the stadium will be the new home of the College World Series.

    Freshman Logan Ehlers came out of the bullpen to earn the win in only his second career appearance. The Nebraska City, Neb., native held CU scoreless on two hits in 5.1 innings while striking out five Bluejays.

    The attendance at last Tuesday night's game was 22,197, the largest crowd to see a college baseball game this season.

    -Three of Nebraska's last seven wins have come when the Huskers were outhit by the opponent, including Big 12 wins over Oklahoma State (April 3) and Kansas State (April 17).

    -Nebraska has won two games this season when scoring only two runs (2-1 vs. UCLA on March 5; 2-1 vs. Creighton April 19). The last time the Huskers won two games in a season when scoring just two runs was 2008.       

    -The Huskers pitching staff did not offer any walks in Nebraska's 5-4 win last Monday against K-State. It marked the third this season the Husker hurlers had not given any free passes.

    -With Kash Kalkowski's ninth-inning game-winning single last Monday, the Huskers have now had four walk-off victories this season, including two against UCLA.

    -Nebraska's 25-16 start is its best since 2008 when it hosted an NCAA Regional. The 41-game start is also one game ahead of pace of the 2007 team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament.  

    -Three Huskers – all sophomores – have started all 41 games this season in first baseman Kurt Farmer, shortstop Chad Christensen and second baseman Bryan Peters.

    -Five Huskers have at least 10 multiple hit games this season, led by Cody Asche with 17. Kurt Farmer has 14 multiple hit games, while Kash Kalkowski had his 13th multiple hit game of the year with his walk-off single last Monday.

    -Nebraska has had quick starts in two of its last three Tuesday night games, scoring two runs in the first inning of wins over Creighton (April 5) and Wichita State (April 12). Those marked the third and fourth times this season the Huskers have had more than one run in the first inning. In those games, the Huskers put the leadoff man on base in 10 of 17 innings, scoring in six of those frames.

    -Nebraska ranks third in the Big 12 in team fielding with a .976 percentage. NU has only had multiple errors four times in the past 32 games. The infield, anchored by sophomores Chad Christensen (SS) and Bryan Peters (2B), has led NU in turning 20 groundball double plays.

    Nebraska's current .975 field percentage would tie the school record, set in both 2004 and 2005.

    -Nebraska has had 12 come-from-behind victories this season, including three in a row in wins over North Dakota and Northern Colorado from March 20-23. The Huskers have 137 come-from-behind wins under Mike Anderson since 2003.                 NU had 10 come-from-behind wins last season, including overcoming a 10-run deficit against North Dakota on March 30 and a four-run deficit against Southeast Missouri State on May 8.

    -Nebraska has thrived in the middle innings this season, scoring 70 percent of its runs from the third to seventh innings.  The Huskers' have had the most success in the third with 46 runs in that frame.

-The Huskers are 90-11 dating back to 2008 when they out-hit an opponent and have won 90 percent of their games since 2003 when out-hitting an opponent. Last season, NU was 25-4 when out-hitting opponents. The Huskers are also 32-10 when reaching double-figures in hits, but just 9-29 when held to nine hits or less.

The Huskers are 17-1 this season when outhitting the opposition, with the only loss coming March 27 at Texas Tech.

-Nebraska's bullpen has done impressive work in preserving leads this season, as the Huskers are 20-0 when leading after six innings.

Nebraska has been hit by 71 pitches this season and ranks fifth nationally in that category. Kash Kalkowski has been plunked a team-leading 15 times, which ranks him eighth individually in the NCAA. Kalkowski is just one short of reaching NU's single-season top 10.

Kale Kiser ranks second on the team with 12. Peters has now been hit 30 times during his two-year career, placing him seventh on the school's career hit-by-pitch chart.

   

    NU Career Hit-by-Pitch Top 10

    1.   67    Daniel Bruce  2002-05

    2.   59    DJ Belfonte   2007-10

    3.   37    Alex Gordon  2003-05

          37    Nick Sullivan 2006-09

    5.   36    Jake Mort      2006-09

    6.   34    Dave Crain    1994-95

    7.   30    Bryan Peters  2010-present

 

    -As Nebraska enters its sixth week in league play this weekend, the Huskers rank second in the Big 12 with 27 home runs, five behind Oklahoma. Individually, Cody Asche's 10 homers lead the Big 12, two ahead of Texas Tech's Barrett Barnes

    -Cody Asche ranks fourth nationally with 19 doubles.  Asche, who held the national doubles lead for several weeks, is well within reach of moving his way up NU's single-season top 10 doubles list, needing just three more.

    Asche is the team leader with 45 RBIs and 17 multiple-hit games. He has hit all 10 homers since March 13. From March 16-27, he hit .487 with 14 RBIs in a 10-game stretch while also going on a 12-game hit streak. Asche hit .444 (4-for-9) with a pair of homers in Nebraska's series at Kansas. He was 1-for-3 with a home run in the Friday and Sunday games, while also going 2-for-3 with a 2-RBI double in Saturday's win.

    Asche leads the Big 12 in home runs (10) and doubles (19), while he is also second in RBIs (45).