NU BSB: Huskers Host Bears for 2015 Home Opener

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Huskers Host Bears for 2015 Home Opener


Tuesday, March 10 (1:35 p.m.)

Probable Starters: RHP King (0-0) vs. RHP Applebach (1-0)
TV: None
Audio Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream: HuskersNSide
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Wednesday, March 11 (1:35 p.m.)

Probable Starters: RHP Engelken (1-0) vs. TBA
TV: None
Audio Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream: HuskersNSide
Radio: Husker Sports Network


Huskers Host Bears for 2015 Home Opener

Following 13 straight games on the road to open the 2015 season, the Nebraska baseball team (7-6, 0-0 Big Ten) is set to play its first home game of the season on Tuesday afternoon when it hosts the first game of a two-game series with the Northern Colorado Bears (2-6, 0-0 WAC) at Hawks Field, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m.

The two-game series with the Bears will be the first of 16 straight home games for the Huskers, as NU also hosts Florida Gulf Coast (3), Indiana State (2), Michigan (3), Cal State Fullerton (2), Texas (3) and Creighton (1) during the month of March.

The Huskers and Bears have met 45 times since 1986, with the Huskers holding a 39-6 advantage in the series. All but five of the games have taken place in Lincoln, with the Husker holding a 35-5 record at home. One of the losses happened last season, as the Bears took the second game of the series, 9-2, after the Huskers won the opener, 10-2.

A pair of Husker freshmen are scheduled to make their first career starts this week. Right-hander Garett King is scheduled to start the home opener on Tuesday. The Anaheim Hills, Calif., native has made six relief appearances for the Huskers in 2015, posting a 1.93 ERA over 4.2 innings of work.

Overland Park, Kan., native Zack Engelken is scheduled to start on Wednesday and will be looking for the second win over his young career. A 6-4 righty, Engelken has one relief appearance on the season. He went 2.2 innings and earned the win against BYU on Feb. 21, giving up no runs on one hit, one walk and two strikeouts.

On the Radio

Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen to Greg Sharpe and Lane Grindle call all of the action on the Husker Sports Network – including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln – and live on Huskers.com, the Official Husker App or the TuneIn Radio App.

TV Coverage

No TV coverage this week.

Web Streams

Both games against Northern Colorado will be streamed on HuskersNSide (subscription required).

14th Season at Hawks Field

The Nebraska baseball program is celebrating its 14th year at Hawks Field. Entering Tuesday’s 2015 home opener with Northern Colorado, the Huskers are 280-103-1 (.730) since opening the park on March 5, 2002 with a 23-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.

Open with a Win

The Huskers have won their last 36 home openers dating back to the 1979 season. Nebraska is 13-0 all-time in home openers at Hawks Field.

Confidence in the Pen

During Darin Erstad’s tenure at Nebraska, the Husker bullpen has done its job when it has a lead.

Led by pitching coach Ted Silva, the Huskers are 83-11 since 2012 when they lead after the sixth inning. The Huskers are 85-6 when leading after seven innings and nearly perfect when leading after eight innings with a 94-4 record.

20 Hits to Go

After Michael Pritchard and Pat Kelly each joined Nebraska 200-hit club last season, senior Austin Darby is 20 hits away from becoming the program’s 23rd member.

If he joins the club, Darby would be the fourth Husker to join over the past three seasons, as Chad Christensen ended his career with 247 hits in 2013.

Prior to Christensen, Jake Opitz was the last Husker to join the club in 2008.

Matt Hopper holds the school record with 338 career hits and is one of just two players in school history to have topped 300 hits.

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 2001-14

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. 223 Curtis Ledbetter 2003-05

19. 222 John Cole 1999-01

20. 212 Pat Kelly 2012-14

21. 203 Ken Harvey 1997-99

22. 201 Francis Collins 1995-97

Turning the Corner

Tanner Lubach didn’t get off to the start he wanted in his senior year, going 0-for-18 to start to the season.

Lubach broke the dry spell with a double that nearly left the park against BYU on Saturday, Feb. 21.

Since the double against the Cougars, Lubach is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with a home run and three multi-hit performances over his past six games.

More importantly, Lubach has struck out just twice over the past seven games, after notching nine strikeouts through his first six games of the season.

Miller’s Time

Sophomore Ben Miller has been a key cog in NU’s offense this season. The left-handed hitter from Clive, Iowa, Miller ranks second on the team with 10 RBIs and needs only three more RBIs to match his season total of 13 from a year ago.

Young Guns

Through 13 games this season the Huskers have seen six freshmen pitchers take the mound. The six newcomers have combined for 19.0 innings of work over 13 relief appearances.

The six freshmen have shown early success as well, as five of them have yet to allow a run, while the group holds an ERA of 0.47.

Over the past three seasons combined the Huskers had a total of nine freshmen see time on the mound, including three in 2012, two in 2013 and four in 2014.

Pitcher’s Best Friend

Since 2012, the Huskers are tied with Fresno State for 12th in the nation with 177 double plays turned, including 13 this season though 13 games. Mississippi State leads the nation since 2012 with 220 double plays.

Double Plays Since 2012

1. Mississippi State 220

2. Georgia Tech 204

3. Southern Miss 201

4. Washington State 198

Oregon State 198

6. Arkansas 195

7. Notre Dame 191

8. Florida State 188

9. Tulane 185

10. New Mexico 183

11. East Carolina 179

12. Fresno State 177

Nebraska 175

14. Siena 173

Double Digits

Last season the Huskers produced double-digit hits 30 of their 62 games, including 14 of their 27 home games.

The Huskers were 25-5 when notching double-digit hits last season.

Through 13 games this season, the Huskers have notched double-digit hits three times and are a perfect 3-0 in those games.

The Huskers are 4-1 this year when out-hitting their opponent. The only loss came against LSU, when the Huskers out hit the Tigers, 9-8, but lost 4-2.

Last season, Nebraska was 32-3 when they out hit their opponent, with losses coming against Oregon State, as well as both of NU’s losses to Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA Tournament.

Not Nice to Steal

Senior catcher Tanner Lubach enters Tuesday with 34 runners caught stealing, which ranks third all-time at Nebraska. Lubach has started 12 of NU’s 13 games in 2015 and was the Huskers’ primary catcher each of the past two seasons after transferring to Nebraska following one year at Hutchinson Community College.

Cory Burleson (2009-12) holds the school record with 46 runners caught stealing, while current volunteer assistant Jeff Christy ranks second with 38 runners caught stealing in just two years behind the plate in 2005 and 2006.

Veteran Group

Nebraska’s senior class includes eight members who all played a role in Nebraska’s return to the NCAA Tournament last season.

The eight member class is made up of five position players who have combined for 455 starts, while three pitchers have made 106 combined appearances, including 52 starts.

Close the Door

After playing his freshman season at Louisburg College in North Carolina, Josh Roeder joined the Huskers in 2013 and helped solidify the back end of NU’s bullpen.

During the 2013 season, Roeder saw most of his action in a setup role to Dylan Vogt, but did collect six saves. Roeder took over the closer role in 2014 and saved 12 games.

With three saves in three chances this season, Roeder enters Tuesday ranked second in NU history with 21 career saves and needs 11 more saves in 2015 to break Brett Jensen’s school record of 31 saves.

Huskers Picked Second by League Coaches

The Big Ten coaches picked Nebraska to finish second out of the league’s 13 teams in 2015. Nebraska has finished second in the conference the past two seasons during both the regular season and at the conference tournament.

Maryland, who is new to the Big Ten in 2015, was picked as the league favorite after coming up one win shy of advancing to the College World Series last season. The Terrapins fell in the Super Regional round to Virginia.

The top six was rounded out by Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State. Indiana is the conference’s defending regular-season and conference champion.

Draftees on 2015 Roster

Four members of the 2015 Husker baseball team have previously been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

Drafted Huskers

Player Round Team Year

Derek Burkamper 20th Red Sox 2013

Ryan Boldt 22nd Red Sox 2013

Luis Alvarado 33rd Red Sox 2014

Garett King 36th Mets 2014

Topping 100

Senior Austin Darby is 14 RBIs away from becoming the 44th Husker since 1986 to notch 100 RBIs for their career.

With a team-high 13 RBIs so far in 2015, Blake Headley (71 career RBIs) also has a chance to join the club this year. Headley produced a career-high 27 RBIs last season.

Pat Kelly joined the club last year and ended his three-year career with 125 RBIs, while Michael Pritchard fell four RBIs short of 100 career RBIs.

Matt Hopper is the only Husker to ever top the 200-RBI mark, with a school-record 271 RBIs.