NU BSB: Huskers Travel to Ann Arbor for Three-Game Series

Posted By: Sports
sports@klkntv.com

Huskers Travel to Ann Arbor for Three-Game Series

Friday, April 25 – 5 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: RHP DeLeon (4-2) vs. LHP Hill (2-4)
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (None)
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Saturday, April 26 – 1 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Sinclair (5-1) vs. LHP Szkutnik (0-5)
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (BTDN, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Sunday, April 27 – Noon (CT)
Probable Starters: LHP Bummer (4-2) vs. LHP McAnallen (2-3)
TV: None
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream (BTDN, premium)
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Up Next for the Huskers

After not having a midweek gave for the first time in nearly two months, the Nebraska baseball team (26-16, 8-4 Big Ten) gets back on the field this weekend in Ann Arbor Michigan when it opens a three-game series against the Michigan Wolverines (18-22-1, 8-7 Big Ten) on Friday night at 5 p.m. (CT).

The Huskers will be looking to get back on a winning track after dropping 2-of-3 to Northwestern last weekend at Hawks Field. The series lost came after the Huskers had swept their past two Big Ten series at home against Ohio State and on the road at Minnesota.

After Friday’s night’s opener at the Wilpon Complex, the series continues at 1 p.m. (CT) on Saturday before wrapping up at Noon (CT) on Sunday.

The final two games of the series will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network (video.btn.com), subscription required.

Since the Huskers joined the Big Ten prior to the 2012 season, neither team has been able to defend its home field. Nebraska took 2-of-3 from the Wolverines in 2012 and then Michigan came into Lincoln last year and took 2-of-3 from the Huskers. The teams then met in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis last year, with the Husker winning, 11-2.

Nebraska enters the weekend sitting third in the Big Ten standings with a 8-4 conference mark, while Michigan is one spot behind in fourth place and 1.5 games back in the standings with an 8-7 record.

Huskers’ Weekend Rotation

For the third straight start Christian DeLeon went 9.0 innings last week, but was unable to pick up his third straight complete game, as the Northwestern beat the Huskers, 2-1, in 12 innings. DeLeon has gone at least 8.0 innings in each of his four Big Ten starts this season. DeLeon has thrown a Big Ten-high 75.0 innings over 10 starts in 2014, while Michigan State’s Justin Alleman ranks second with 67.0 innings pitched.

Saturday starter Chance Sinclair is coming off sixth start of at least 7.0 innings on the year. It came in a no decision, as he left with the game tied and the NU bullpen gave up a run in a 3-2 loss to Northwestern. With a 5-1 record on the year, Sinclair enters the weekend ranked third in the Big Ten with a 1.85 ERA.

Junior lefty Aaron Bummer is looking to bounce back on Sunday after lasting just 3.2 innings in last week’s 10-9 comeback win over Northwestern. It was Bummer’s second-shortest outing of the season, topping his 3.0 innings of work in his first appearance of the year against Oregon State. Prior to last weekend’s short outing, Bummer had gone at least 7.0 innings in each of his last three starts after not working into the seventh in any of his first five starts of the season.

On the Radio this Week

Fans across Nebraska and around the world can listen to Greg Sharpe and Ben McLaughlin 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 Huskers.com or the Official Husker App.

TV Coverage this Week

No TV coverage this weekend at Michigan.

Web Streams this Week

Michigan, Friday – None

Michigan, Saturday – BTDN (video.btn.com)

Michigan, Sunday – BTDN (video.btn.com)

Nebraska-Michigan History

Michigan enters the weekend with a one-game lead in the all-time series, but since Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference the Huskers lead the series, 4-3, including a victory at the 2013 Big Ten Tournament

The first ever meeting between the two programs came at the NCAA Tournament in 1980. Hosted in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines shutout the Huskers 7-0. After Nebraska beat BYU, 12-4, it got a rematch with the Wolverines, but lost again, 12-3.

The teams met for a pair of neutral site games in 1982 and then didn’t meet again until 2012 when the Huskers traveled to Ann Arbor for a three-game Big Ten series, where the Huskers won games one and three of the series.

The Wolverines got revenge last season by taking 2-for-3 from the Huskers in Lincoln, including a 19-9 win in the regular-season finale.

The Huskers bounced back four days late with a 11-2 win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament

NEB and UM Series History — UM leads 6-5

2013 vs. UM W, 11-2 (Big Ten Tournament)

at NU L, 19-9

at NU W, 9-6

at NU L, 7-5

2012 at UM W, 7-3

at UM L, 6-5

at UM W, 15-2

1982 vs. UM L, 1-4

vs. UM W, 7-4

1980 at UM L, 12-3 (NCAA Tournament)

at UM L, 7-0 (NCAA Tournament)

Over the Past 10 Games for Nebraska

• Nebraska was 7-3, including a 4-0 road record.

Michael Pritchard hit .500 (20-for-40) with six doubles, one triple, one homer and 10 RBIs

• Blake Headley posted six multi-hit game, including a trio of three hit games. Also posted a .488 on-base percentage

• Five Huskers had double-digit hits, including Michael Pritchard (20), Blake Headley (17), Jake Placzek (13), Steven Reveles (12) and Ryan Boldt (11)

• Nebraska produced 18 doubles, but also gave up 16 doubles to opposing hitters

• Nebraska pitchers totaled 62 strikeouts, while walking 34

• Nebraska posted a .309 batting average, while holding opponents to a .287 average

• Nebraska hit four of its nine homers for the year

Keep Grinding

If you could only use one word to describe Head Coach Darin Erstad, the word would be “grind”.

No matter what the score is, Erstad preaches to his team that they need to grind at-bats and stick to the team’s offensive approach.

A total of 11 times this year the Huskers have been behind or tied after six innings and have come back to win.

2/14 vs. Pacific | Tied 3-3 after 6th, won 5-3

– Scored twice in bottom of 7th

3/8 vs. St. Johns | Tied 6-6 after 7th, won 7-6

– Walk off single by Taylor Fish

3/15 vs. UC Irvine | Tied 2-2 after 6th, won 7-4

– UC Irvine took 3-2 lead top of 7th, Huskers responded with 3 runs bottom 7th and 2 in bottom 8th

3/19 vs. Creighton | Down 4-3 bottom 10, won 5-4

– After NU tied the game 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Creighton took a 4-3 lead top of 10. Huskers answered with 2 in the bottom of the 10, including a walk-off single by Jake Placzek

4/1 vs. Ohio State | Down 2-0 after 7, won 3-2

– Trailing 2-0 headed bottom of 8, Huskers scored 3 runs to win 3-2

4/2 vs. Ohio State | Down 3-0 after 7, won 4-3

– Trailing 2-0 after 7, the Huskers scored 1 in the 8th and 3 in the 9th, including a walk-off single by Michael Pritchard to win 4-3

4/3 vs. Ohio State | Tied 1-1 after 8, won 2-1

– With the game tied 1-1 after 4, the Huskers won the game 2-1 in the 9th on a walk-off single by Tanner Lubach

4/8 at Creighton | Down 2-1 after 7, won 4-2

– Trailing 2-1 headed to the 8th, Huskers scored 3 runs and won the game 4-3

4/11 at Minnesota | Tied 6-6 after 7, won 8-6

– After NU took a 5-0 lead after 2 innings, Minnesota tied the game 6-6 after 7. Huskers scored 2 in the top of the 9th to win 8-6

4/13 at Minnesota | Down 2-1 after 6, won 3-2 in 10

– Down 2-1 after 6 innings, Huskers tied the game 2-2 in the top of the 7th. Huskers won the game 3-2 in 10 innings after scoring in the top of the 10th

4/19 vs. Northwestern | Tied 9-9 after 7, won 10-9

– Tied 9-9 after 7 innings, Blake Headley delivered a sac fly in the bottom of the 8th and Josh Roeder picked up his 8th save of the year to avoid a sweep by the Wildcats

He’s Back

Michael Pritchard has been a hit machine during his career at Nebraska, producing 227 career hits. Earlier this season he fell into a slump, but has recently again found his stroke at the plate.

Pritchard was hitting .407 after the Huskers’ first two weeks of play and was at .373 after a 3-for-5 day against Northern Colorado on March 11, NU’s 14th game of the season.

Over his next 16 games, Pritchard went 9-for-60 with only two multi-hit games and saw his average fall to .261 on April 6.

Over his past 10 games entering Friday, Pritchard has raised his average 60 points to .321. He is 20-for-40 with six multi-hit games, including a career-high 5-for-5 night against Kansas State on April 15.

During the 10-game stretch Pritchard has six doubles, including one double four of his last six games entering Friday, and has notched 10 of his 31 RBIs on the season.

In 2014, Pritchard has eight multi-RBI games, the same amount he had during his first three seasons at Nebraska combined.

Rest the Pen

Senior Christian DeLeon tossed back-to-back complete games earlier this season, becoming the first Husker pitcher since Erik Bird to throw consecutive complete games. He has gone 9.0 innings in each of his past three starts, but last week’s game went to extra inning and DeLeon missed out on a third-straight complete game.

Since joining the Huskers last season, Christian DeLeon has made 24 starts for the Huskers, including 10 in 2014.

The senior has gone at least 6.0 innings 21 times, at least 7.0 innings 14 times and 8.0 or more innings 10 times.

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

The three times DeLeon hasn’t gone at least 6.0 innings have come in his first appearance each season as well as the series opener against Northwestern in 2013.

Hitting the Century Mark

Junior Pat Kelly became the 43rd Husker since 1986 to notch 100 RBIs for their career last weekend when he drove in a run in the first game of a doubleheader with Northwestern.

Kash Kalkowski (123), Chad Christensen (118) and Josh Scheffert (113) all joined the club last season. Prior to the three, Cody Asche was the last to join in 2011, ending his career with 135 RBIs

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

Like Your Chances with Sinclair

Junior Chance Sinclair has been a key addition to the Husker pitching staff in 2014 with his 5-1 record and an ERA of 1.85 ERA, which ranks 79th nationally and third in the Big Ten

A transfer from Neosho County CC, Sinclair has gone 6.0 or more innings in eight of his 10 starts, including five 7.0-inning outings and a 9.0-inning complete game against Ohio State.

Multi-Hit Machine

Blake Headley has been on a multi-hit tear of late, with six multi-hit performances in his last eight games, including five of his last six games.

Over the last eight games Headley is 16-for-30 and has raised his batting average from .284 to .344.

Lean on Hirsch

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

The one-time starter has made a team-high 19 appearances, all out of the pen, in 2014 and holds a 1.44 ERA, while holding opposing batters to a .200 average over 31.1 innings of work. He also ranks second on the team with 36 strikeouts, one behind Christian DeLeon’s 37 strikeouts

The senior lefty had a streak of 14.1 innings of scoreless relief before Minnesota scored a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh that tied the game 6-6 last weekend.

Hirsch has 13 appearances where he has thrown at least an inning and hasn’t given up a run, and hasn’t given up a hit in eight of those appearances.

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 tied with Jake Opitz (2005-08) for 16th in school history with 227 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 184 career hits. Last season Kelly totaled a team-high 85 hits on the year, and with 48 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, 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. 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

227 Michael Pritchard 2011-present

18. 223 Curtis Ledbetter 2003-05

19. 222 John Cole 1999-01

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.

Michael Mariot became the 35th former Husker to reach the Majors when he was called up by the Kansas City Royals on April 7. Mariot made his MLB debut in Minnesota on April 11 with 2.0 inning so relief against the Twins.

According to Baseball America, as of April 9, 2014 Nebraska was tied for fourth nationally with Cal, Miami and Stanford, all with eight former players in MLB.

Arizona State led the list with 11 players, while Long Beach State was second with 10 and North Carolina ranked third with nine players.

The Big Ten Conference ranked sixth with 15 players. Minnesota ranked second in the league with three players

Go the Distance

Nebraska’s rotation of Christian DeLeon, Chance Sinclair and Aaron Bummer were workhorses in a three-game sweep of Ohio State April 4-6, as all three pitchers tossed complete games.

No other staff in the country has thrown three 9.0-inning complete games in a weekend. Monmouth is the only other team that has come close with two 9.0-inning complete games along with a 7.0-inning complete game.

At least since 1999, the Huskers have never had three pitchers throw consecutive complete games. Due to incomplete records the last time the feat occurred has not been found yet.

Since 1999, the Huskers had thrown 9.0-inning complete games in back-to-back games on two occasions prior to the Ohio State series:

May 16-17, 2009 vs. Baylor

May 16 – Sean Yost (9.0 innings)

May 17 – Erik Bird (9.0 innings)

April 14-15, 2006 vs. Texas A&M

April 14 – Tony Watson (9.0 innings)

April 15 – Johnny Dorn (9.0 innings)

The closest the Huskers had come to throwing three consecutive games before last weekend was against Texas A&M in March of 2002. Shane Komine threw 8.0 of the Huskers’ 9.0 innings on Friday, before Jamie Rodrigue threw a 9.0-inning complete game on Saturday and Aaron Marsden threw an 8.0-inning complete game on Sunday. Sunday’s game was called after 8.0 innings due to the Big 12 mercy rule with the Huskers ahead 10-0.

Tough to Fit on the Scoreboard

In the second inning against Omaha on Wednesday, April 16, the Huskers scored 10 runs on 11 hits and had three players record at least two hits in the inning.

It was the most runs scored in an inning by the Huskers since they put up 10 in a 15-2 win over Northern Colorado during the 2010 season.

Double Digits

The Huskers have produced double-digit hits 25 times this year in 42 games, including 11 of their 17 home games.

Nebraska produced a season-high 22 hits on Tuesday April 15, in a 14-5 win over Kansas State. It was the most hits by a Husker offense since 2012, when the Huskers notched 24 hits in a 22-3 win over Louisiana Tech.

RPI Watch

Nebraska enters Friday with a RPI of 54 according to the NCAA RPI released on April 22.

The Huskers have an 11-7 record against top-100 RPI teams


RPI Top-100 Wins

Washington – 1 (RPI 15)

Oregon State – 1 (RPI 23)

UNLV – 1 (RPI 38)

Arkansas – 1 (RPI 51)

Kansas State – 1 (RPI 62)

UC Irvine – 2 (RPI 65)

Wichita State – 1 (RPI 66)

Ohio State – 3 (RPI 84)

Nebraska’s RPI has been hurt though by three losses to teams with an RPI above 200. The Huskers are 2-3 in games against RPI 200+ teams

RPI 200+ Losses

Northwestern – 2 (RPI 224)

Northern Colorado – 1 (RPI 299)

National Noise

Nebraska’s offense enters the week ranked in the top 20 nationally in four major categories.

The Huskers are eighth nationally with 441 hits on the year, while ranking 19th with a .302 batting average and 20th in runs scored with 260.

Nebraska also ranks 12 nationally in doubles, with 16 on the year through 42 games, which tops their 13 triples in 59 games last season.

The 16 triples are the most by a Husker squad since 2002 when NU totaled 20 triples.

Seven Huskers have a triple on the season, including four from Michael Pritchard, as well as three each from Ryan Boldt and Austin Darby. 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.