NU BSB: Huskers Host Buckeyes for Big Ten Home Opener

Posted By: Sports

Huskers Host Buckeyes for Big Ten Home Opener

Friday, April 4 – 6:35 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP DeLeon (2-2) vs. LHP Riga (3-1)
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio ( | Video Stream (Big Ten Digital Network, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Saturday, April 5 –2:05 p.m.
Probable Starters: RHP Sinclair (4-1) vs. LHP Tully (3-1)
Stream: Free Radio ( | Video Stream (Big Ten Digital Network, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Sunday, April 6 – 1:05 p.m.
Probable Starters: LHP Bummer (3-2) vs. RHP Greve (3-2)
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio ( | Video Stream (Big Ten Digital Network, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Up Next for the Huskers
After splitting a two-game midweek series at Arkansas, the Nebraska baseball team (16-13, 1-2 Big Ten) returns to Hawks Field on Friday night for its Big Ten home opener against the Ohio State Buckeyes (18-10, 2-4 Big Ten). First pitch on Friday is set for 6:35 p.m. and it will be the first game of a three-game series, with game two set for 2:05 p.m. on Saturday on NET while Sunday's finale is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

The Huskers are 8-4 at home on the season following a 2-1 series loss to UNLV last weekend. The Buckeyes are 4-5 in true road games and will be playing their first road game since March 11 when they lost 4-3 at Oregon State, as the Buckeyes just wrapped up a 14-game homestand on Wednesday night with a 7-2 victory over Toledo.

The Huskers and Buckeyes have seen a lot of each other over the past two seasons, playing nine games, including three times at the Big Ten Tournament. Neither team has been able to defend its home field, as the Huskers took 2-of-3 in Columbus during the 2012 season, while the Buckeyes took the series 2-1 last season in Lincoln.

The Buckeyes knocked the Huskers out of the Big Ten Tournament two years ago in Columbus, Ohio, and Nebraska returned the favor at the last season in Minneapolis after losing to the Buckeyes earlier in the tournament.

Senior Christian DeLeon is scheduled to make his 22nd career start on Friday night and he will be in search of his third win of the season. The 6-3 righty has gone at least 7.0 innings in each of his last three starts, including a pair of 8.0 inning outings. DeLeon has thrown a team-high 48.0 innings over seven starts in 2014.

After being tagged with his first loss of the season last weekend against UNLV, Chance Sinclair will look to get back in the win column on Saturday. Now 4-1 on the year, Sinclair carries a 1.28 ERA over 42.1 innings of work and has gone 6.0 innings of more in each of his last five starts.

Junior Aaron Bummer helped the Huskers avoid a three-game sweep last weekend against UNLV with a career-high 7.2 innings of work in his third win of the year. The 6-2 lefty tied a career high with five strikeouts and got stronger as the game went on. After giving up a pair of out-out singles in the fifth, Bummer went on to retire 10 straight Rebels.

The Huskers are hitting .306 as a team on the year, with seven players hitting .311 or better. Ohio State enters the weekend with a .270 team average, with two players hitting .300 or better in 2014.

NU hasn't had the privilege of getting offense from the long ball this year with five team home runs, while the Buckeyes have hit nine, but four have come from Troy Kuhn.

On the Radio this Week
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 and 94.5 FM in Lincoln – and live on the Internet at or the Official Husker App.

TV Coverage this Week
Saturday's game will be carried live across the state of Nebraska on NET.

Web Streams this Week
Each game of the three-game series will be carried on the Big Ten Digital Network ( A subscription to the video service is required.

Nebraska-Ohio State History
The Huskers trail 6-5 in the all-time series against the Buckeyes, with OSU also holding a 5-4 advantage since the Huskers joined the Big Ten Conference prior to the 2012 season.

The all-time series started in 1991 when the Buckeyes earned a 5-2 victory in Phoenix, Ariz. The Huskers evened the series in 2001 with a 10-5 victory at the Mardi Gras Ball in Lafayette, La.

Ohio State won the first ever conference meeting, 10-2, in April 13, 2012, but the Huskers won the series in Columbus two days later with a doubleheader sweep.

The Buckeyes eliminated the Huskers from the 2012 Big Ten Tournament with a 6-2 victory.

Last season the Huskers took the first game of a three-game set in Lincoln, but then the Buckeyes came back and won the next two games, including a 6-5 winning in 11 innings on Saturday.

OSU knocked the Huskers into the losers bracket at the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, but the Huskers got revenge two days later with a 5-0 victory that eliminated Ohio State from postseason play.

Looking at Ohio State's Weekend Rotation

LHP Ryan Riga – (Jr. | 6-0 | 175 | Hamilton, Ohio)
With the Buckeyes losing their entire weekend rotation from a year ago, Ryan Riga has turned into the team's ace.

The 6-0 junior is 3-1 on the year with a 3.52 ERA and 31 strikeouts in a team-high 46.0 innings of work. Last season in 29 appearances he threw 46.1 innings, allowing 14 runs (11 earned), with 38 strikeouts to nine walks.

In seven starts this season, Riga has gone at least 5.0 innings in every start, including 7.0 innings or more in each of his last four start.

On March 8 at Oregon, Riga threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just five hits and striking out a career-high 10.

LHP Tanner Tully – (Fr. | 6-0 | 185 | Elkhart, Ind.)
A true freshman from Elkhart, Ind., Tanner Tully has made eight appearances for the Buckeyes, including three starts.

In 35.0 innings of work he has allowed 14 runs (8 earned) on 35 hits and only three walks, while striking out 16.

Tully's first five career appearances came out of the pen, but then he joined the weekend rotation one week before Big Ten play started against Xavier on March 19.

After going 5.0 innings in a win over the Musketeers, Tully improved to 3-0 win a victory at Michigan State. He took his first loss of the year last weekend in a 7.0 innings outing against Indiana.

RHP Greg Greve – (Sr. | 6-4 | 210 | Cleveland, Ohio)
After starting 20 games in 28 appearance during his first two seasons at Ohio State, Greg Greve made all 18 of his appearances out of the bullpen in 2013.

The senior from Cleveland, Ohio, has moved back into the weekend rotation this season and has made seven starts on the year.

With a 5.26 ERA in 37.2 innings, Greve has given up 23 runs (22 earned) on 41 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 22.

Greve is yet to make a start of more than 6.0 innings this year.

Over the Past 10 Games for Nebraska
• Ryan Boldt hit a team-best .351 (13-for-37) with one double and one triple

• Ryan Boldt led the team with 13 hits, while Austin Darby had 12 and Pat Kelly had 11

• Austin Darby and Pat Kelly tied for the team lead with five RBIs

• Reliever Zach Hirsch threw 9.0 innings of scoreless relief with 13 strikeouts over five appearances

• Nebraska was 4-6, including 1-2 at home

• In two starts each, Christian DeLeon (2.30) and Chance Sinclair (2.57) had ERAs under 2.60.

• Huskers pitchers had 56 strikeouts to 19 walks, while opposing pitchers had 53 strikeouts to 30 walks

• Nebraska had nearly three times as many sacrifice bunts as opponents, 14-5

• Ryan Boldt, Austin Darby and Pat Kelly each had four multi-hit games

• Jake Placzek led the team with seven runs scored in eight games played

• Nebraska and its opponents each committed 12 errors

Big Ten Bats
Nebraska's offense owns the offense categories in the Big Ten Conference, the Huskers ranked first in seven major categories, including:

Average (.306) – Iowa 2nd (.292)
Slugging (.393) – Iowa 2nd (.392)
Hits (307) – Iowa 2nd (253)
Runs (181) – Iowa 2nd (169)
RBIs (163) – Iowa 2nd (150)
Doubles (47) – Iowa 2nd (46)
Triples (15) – Ohio State 2nd (10)

Rest the Pen
Since joining the Huskers last season, Christian DeLeon has made 21 starts for the Huskers.

The senior has gone at least 6.0 innings 18 times, at least 7.0 innings 11 times and 8.0 or more innings seven times.

DeLeon has gone 6.0 or more innings in his last six starts this season, including 8.0 inning in two of his last three starts.

Double Digits
The Huskers have produced double-digit hits 19 times this year in 29 games, including eight of their 12 home games.

Lean on Hirsch
Zach Hirsch has been one of Nebraska's best arms out of the bullpen in 2014.

Over Hirsch's last six appearances, he has thrown 10 innings of shutout relief, with 10 hits, no walks and 13 strikeouts.

The one-time starter has made a team-high 15 appearances, all out of the pen, in 2014 and holds a 1.25 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .197 average over 21.2 innings of work. He also leads the team in strikeouts with 26.

Hirsch has 12 appearances where he has thrown at least an inning and hasn't given up a run, and hasn't given up a hit in four of those appearances.

The lefty hasn't given up a run in his last 8.0 innings over five appearances, and has struck out 12 batters.

Like Your Chances with Sinclair
Junior Chance Sinclair has been a key addition to the Husker pitching staff in 2014 with his 4-1 record and a Big Ten leading 1.28 ERA.

A transfer from Neosho County CC, Sinclair has gone 6.0 or more innings in six of his seven starts, including four 7.0-inning outings.

Last week in a loss to UNLV, Sinclair tied a career high with five strikeouts, while walking none.

Weekend Warrior
Freshman Ryan Boldt has been a key member of the Husker offense in 2014. He holds a team-high .340 average among players who have started at least half of NU's games.

Boldt is tied for the team lead in both runs (20) and triples (3), is tied for second on the team in doubles (7) and ranks third on the team in hits (34).

The Red Wing, Minn., native has been even better against weekend pitching. Boldt leads the team with a .352 average in weekend games and is slugging .507 with and on-base percentage of .439. All seven of his doubles on the year have come in weekend games.

Prior to the start of the 2014 season, Boldt was named the No. 2 freshman in the country by Baseball America.

Need for Speed
Nebraska has produced 15 triples on the year through 29 games entering Friday, which tops their 13 triples in 59 games last season.

The 15 triples are the most by a Husker squad since 2009 and 2005 when NU totaled 15 triples. The last time the Huskers produced 20 triples in a season was 2002.

Seven Huskers have a triple on the season, including three each from Ryan Boldt, Austin Darby and Michael Pritchard. Blake Headley has two triples, while Pat Kelly, Tanner Lubach, Austin Christensen and Quinn McGill each have one.

The single-season team record for triples is 38 by the 1980 squad, while Shawn Buchanan set the individual single-season record in 1990 with nine.

Join the Club
Senior Michael Pritchard joined Nebraska's 200-hit club on Friday, March 21, with a first inning single at Iowa.

Pritchard became the 21st player in school history to join the club and enters Friday ranked 19th in school history with 205 hits.

Junior Pat Kelly has a good shot at joining the list before the end of the season as well, as he enters Friday with 174 career hits. Last season Kelly totaled a team-high 85 hits on the year, and with 38 hits this season Kelly is on pace to join the list by the end of 2014.

Last season, Chad Christensen became the 20th player in Nebraska history to join the 200-hit club with his walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th inning against Northwestern on Friday, March 29.

Prior to Christensen, Jake Opitz was the last Husker to join the club, as he ended his four-year career in 2008 with 227 career hits.

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. Jeff Leise sits second on the career charts with 305 career 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. 250 Paul Meyers 1984-86
6. 249 Joe Simokaitis 2002-05
7. 248 Jed Dalton 1992-95
8. 247 Chad Christensen 2010-13
9. 246 Darin Petersen 1992-95
10. 242 Mark Kister 1985-87
11. 240 Alex Gordon 2003-05
12. 238 DJ Belfonte 2007-10
13. 234 Todd Sears 1996-97
14. 231 Daniel Bruce 2002-05
15. 229 Ken Ramos 1987-89
16. 227 Jake Opitz 2005-08
17. 223 Curtis Ledbetter 2003-05
18. 222 John Cole 1999-01
19. 205 Michael Pritchard 2011-present
20. 203 Ken Harvey 1997-99
21. 201 Francis Collins 1995-97

Huskers in MLB
Seven former Huskers were on MLB rosters for Opening Day, with Cody Asche (Phillies) and Andrew Brown (Mets) both hitting home runs.

Player Years at NU MLB Team
Cody Asche (2009-11) Philadelphia Phillies
Andrew Brown (2006-07) New York Mets
Joba Chamberlain (2005-06) Detroit Tigers
Brian Duensing (2002-05) Minnesota Twins
Alex Gordon (2003-05) Kansas City Royals
Dan Jennings (2006-08) Miami Marlins
Tony Watson (2003-05) Pittsburgh Pirates

Good Eye
The Huskers have struck out 138 times this year, third best in the Big Ten, an average of 4.8 times per game, and the Husker have worked the fifth-most walks in the league at 104, an average of 3.6 per game.

Combined with their 11 HBP, the Huskers only have 23 more strikeouts to free passes; 138-115.

Leadoff hitter Austin Darby has a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 18-to-13, while Ryan Boldt is even, 13-to-13.

Packing the Park
With just 11 home dates in the books this season and no Big Ten home series played yet, the Huskers entered the week ranked 24th in the country with an average of 2,536 fans through the gates at Hawks Field.

During the 2013 season, Husker Nation proved once again why the Nebraska baseball team plays in front of the best fans in the country.

Even with the below average temperatures last spring, Nebraska ranked 19th in the country with 2,859 fans per game in 2013.

In its 12 home Big Ten games last year, the Huskers averaged 3,294 fans through the gates at Hawks Field.

The Huskers have ranked in the top 30 in average attendance the past 12 seasons, including nine times in the top 15.