NU BSB: Huskers visit #20 Dirtbags

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

Friday, March 4 (8 p.m. CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Howell (0-1) vs. RHP Mathewson (1-1)
TV: None
Audio Stream: Huskers.com | Video Stream: None

Radio: Husker Sports Network

Saturday, March 5 (4 p.m. CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Burkamper (0-0) vs. RHP McCaughan (2-0)
TV: None
Audio Stream: Huskers.com | Video Stream: None

Radio: Husker Sports Network

Sunday, March 6 (1:30 p.m. CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Waldron (1-0) vs. RHP Brown (1-1)
TV: None
Audio Stream: Huskers.com | Video Stream: None
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Lincoln After competing at the Tony Gwynn Classic last weekend in San Diego, the Nebraska baseball team (2-4, 0-0 Big Ten) will be in California for the second straight weekend, this time playing a three-game series against No. 20 Long Beach State (5-3, 0-0 Big West).

The Huskers and #20 ranked Dirtbags open the series on Friday night at 8 p.m. (CT). Saturday’s game is scheduled for 4 p.m., while Sunday’s finale is set for 1:30 p.m.

The Dirtbags are ranked 20th in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll and are receiving votes in other polls. Long Beach has played just one road game this season, a 10-1 victory at UCLA on Feb. 23, otherwise they have played seven of their first eight games at home. The Dirtbags are playing 16 of their first 20 games at home. Their first weekend series away from Blair is next weekend when they travel to Norman, Okla., to face the Sooners.

Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe and Ben McLaughlin call all the action on the Husker Sports Network this weekend, including on Huskers.com and the Official Husker App. Friday and Saturday’s games can be heard in Lincoln on 1400 AM, while Sunday’s game will be on 105.3 FM. Due to the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament and men’s basketball at Northwestern on Sunday, coverage in Omaha is TBA. Games will be carried on 590 AM or 105.9 FM. TuneIn Radio coverage on Friday and Saturday is also TBA depending on women’s basketball. Sunday’s game will not be carried on TuneIn Radio due to men’s basketball.

Big Fish

Senior Taylor Fish enters the weekend with a team-best .545 batting average (6-for-11) in four starts this season. The senior catcher has two doubles on the year, after recording one career double during his first three seasons at NU.

Placzek power

Jake Placzek entered last Saturday’s game against Arizona with one career home run in 332 career at bats. Placzek notched his second career home run against the Wildcats and then added another on Sunday in NU’s 11-5 win over Tulane.

Placzek enters this weekend hitting .462 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBIs on the year. He is slugging 1.154 and has an on-base percentage of .579

Stolen Bases

Nebraska has been more active on the base paths this season, stealing seven bases in its first six games. Last year the Huskers totaled 40 stolen bases in 57 games, an average of 0.7 stolen bases per game.

Get a lead for the bullpen

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 105-14 since the start of the 2012 season when they lead after the sixth inning. The Huskers are 110-8 when leading after seven innings and are nearly perfect when leading after eight innings with a 120-4 record.

The last time the Huskers lost a game when leading going into the ninth inning was March 21, 2014, in Iowa City, Iowa. The Huskers held a 1-0 leading going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Hawkeyes rallied for a 2-1 walk-off victory.

Year Lead after 6 After 7 After 8

2012 31-5 29-3 31-2

2013 20-3 25-2 28-1

2014 28-3 27-1 31-1

2015 26-3 28-2 28-0

2016 0-0 1-0 2-0

Total 105-14 110-8 120-4

Golden Spikes Watch List

Junior outfielder Ryan Boldt was one of 50 players named to USA Baseball’s preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Boldt has already been named a preseason All-American by multiple publications and is ranked as the #13 college prospect for the 2016 MLB Draft by Baseball America.

Boldt was one of three Big Ten players named to the watch list, joining Michigan’s Carmen Benedetti and Maryland’s Mike Shawaryn.

Alex Gordon is the only Husker to ever win the Golden Spikes Award, as he won the Golden Spikes, Brooks Wallace and Dick Howser Awards in 2005, and he was also named ABCA Player of the Year. Two other Huskers have been finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, including Darin Erstad (1995) and Ken Harvey (1999).

Count on Chesnut

Senior Jeff Chesnut enters the weekend with 66 career appearances, including 31 last season. His 31 appearances in 2015 are tied for sixth on Nebraska’s single-season chart.

Chesnut needs four appearances more appearances this year to tie Jarod Bearinger (1996-99) and John Lepley (1985-88) for ninth place on NU’s career list.

Steve Hale holds the school record with 87 career appearances from 1999-2003.

Career Appearances

1. 87 Steve Hale 1999-03

2. 82 Casey Hauptman 2008-11

3. 80 Brett Jensen 2004-06

4. 79 Dylan Vogt 2010-13

5. 78 Erik Bird 2006-09

78 Jeff Anderson 1981-84

7. 74 Zach Herr 2006-08

8. 73 Jonas Armeta 1994-97

9. 70 Jardon Bearinger 1996-99

70 John Lepley 1985-88

Boldt Keeps hitting

Ryan Boldt broke onto the collegiate scene as a freshman in 2014 with a .311 average and 74 hits. He avoided a sophomore slump in 2015 by hitting .344 with 75 hits.

Boldt needs 44 more hits this season to become the 24th player in school history with 200 career hits.

Just a junior, Boldt would be just the 15th player to reach the mark in three seasons, and the first since his cousin, Pat Kelly, notched 212 hits from 2012-14.

Other Huskers who have reached 200 or more hits in three seasons include: Darin Erstad (261), Paul Meyers (250), Matt Hooper (249), Mark Kister (242), Alex Gordon (240), Todd Sears (234), Ken Ramos (229), Curtis Ledbetter (223), John Cole (222), Jeff Leise (217), Pat Kelly (212), Will Bolt (205), Ken Harvey (203), Francis Collins (201).

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 2011-14

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. 226 Austin Darby 2012-15

19. 223 Curtis Ledbetter 2003-05

20. 222 John Cole 1999-01

21. 212 Pat Kelly 2012-14

22. 203 Ken Harvey 1997-99

23. 201 Francis Collins 1995-97

— 156 Ryan Boldt 2014-Present

Road Warriors

The Huskers are playing nine-straight games away from Lincoln to start the year, and with six games down they are 2-4. Nebraska played 13 (7-6) straight games on the road last year, after playing 10 (5-5) in 2014 and seven (0-7) in 2013. In Head Coach Darin Erstad’s first season in 2012 the Huskers started the year with 10 straight road games and went 6-4.

The last time the Huskers opened the season at home was 1990, when NU hosted Kearney at Feb. 11 at Buck Beltzer Field.

Waldron Gets the Start

True freshman Matt Waldron is scheduled to start Sunday’s finale at Long Beach State. The right-handed from Omaha tossed 6.0 innings of relief last weekend in San Diego, the longest outing by any Husker pitcher this year entering the weekend. Colton Howell is the next closest with 5.0 innings in his season-opening start at College of Charleston.

Waldron is the first freshman to start a weekend game since 2014, when Derek Burkamper started against Gonzaga on Feb. 16 at the Husker Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The game against the Zags was the Huskers’ fourth game of the weekend.

The last time a freshman started a weekend game when NU played a tradition three-game series was May 11, 2012, when Kyle Kubat picked up his fourth win of the year with a victory over Minnesota at Hawks Field.

360 Feet

Last Sunday against Tulane sophomore Jake Meyers notched his first career home run, but it didn’t get over the fence. Meyers lined a ball to center field and then Tulane’s center fielder dove and missed the ball, Meyers sped 360 feet for an inside-the-park home run.

It was the first inside-the-park home run by a Husker since 2012 when Cory Burleson hit one against Louisiana Tech at Hawks Field.

Noting the 2016 season

* 13 games against 2015 NCAA Tournament teams

– 3 at College of Charleston (Feb. 19-21)

– 1 vs. Tulane (Feb. 28)

– 3 vs. Illinois (April 1-3)

– 3 at Michigan (April 15-17)

– 3 vs. Indiana (May 19-21)

* Nebraska’s 55-game schedule consists of 27 home games, 23 road games and 5 neutral site games

* Nebraska will play eight Big Ten Conference series (4 home/4 road)

– Home series: Illinois, Northwestern, Penn State, Indiana

– Road series: Purdue, Michigan, Rutgers, Michigan State

* Nebraska’s Big Ten series at Michigan State will mark the second time the teams have met in East Lansing since NU joined the Big Ten. The teams have never played a series in Lincoln, but have met six times, with three of the meetings coming at the Big Ten Tournament.

* For the first time since 2010, the Huskers won’t play a non-conference game against a team that played in the College World Series the previous season.

* Nebraska and Kansas are set to play a midweek game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Wednesday, April 27.

* The Huskers end the season with seven-straight home games. The last time Nebraska hosted seven or more games to end a season was 2009 when NU played its final 11 games of the season at Hawks Field.

Reveles Returns

Steven Reveles was 16 games into his senior season in 2015 when he broke his finger attempting a bunt against Michigan on March 20. The shortstop ended up missing the rest of the season and was granted a medical hardship, giving him another shot at his senior year in 2016.

To be eligible for a medical hardship Reveles needed to have played in no more than 30% of NU’s regular-season games for the year and it had to take place in the first half of the season. Reveles’ game total was 29.1%, if he had played in one more game he would have went over 30% and would not have been eligible to apply for a medical hardship.

Reveles has started five on NU’s first six games and is hitting .235 with one home run and three RBIs.

McSteen back on the mound

Jake McSteen was issued a medical hardship in 2015 after he had season-ending shoulder surgery following the third week of the regular season.

This season he has tossed 6.2 innings over relief over two appearances and has a 2.70 ERA with three strikeouts.

Burkamper Back

Junior Derek Burkamper will be back on the field this weekend after being suspended for the first two weeks of the season.

Burkamper was NU’s Sunday starter last year. He was third on the team with 65.2 innings over 12 starts.

Huskers in MLB

A total of 19 former Huskers were part of a Major League organization in 2015, including five that are currently at the MLB level.

MLB

Cody Asche – Phillies

Alex Gordon – Royals

Dan Jennings – White Sox

Michael Mariot – Phillies

Tony Watson – Pirates

Minor Leagues

Andrew Brown – Angels

Aaron Bummer – White Sox

Joba Chamberlain – Indians

Chad Christensen – Twins

Brian Duensing – Royals

Blake Headley – Cubs

Zach Hirsch – Brewers

Dan Johnson – Cardinals

Pat Kelly – Twins

Kyle Kubat – Royals

Tanner Lubach – Angels

Michael Pritchard – Cardinals

Josh Roeder – Yankees

Thad Weber – Tigers

New blood on the mound

Multiple newcomers have seen time on the mound through six games this season. Out of the 14 pitchers that have pitched this season, six are true freshman

The six freshman have combined to throw 18.0 innings over 11 appearances.

Chad Luensmann and Robbie Palkert have each made true appearances and have combined for 6.0 shutout innings.

Draft History

Eight members of the 2016 Husker baseball team have previously been drafted:

Luis Alvarado – 2014 (Boston Red Sox, 33rd Round)

Ryan Boldt – 2013 (Boston Red Sox, 22nd Round)

Derek Burkamper – 2013 (Boston Red Sox, 20th Round)

Sean Chandler – 2015 (Milwaukee Brewers, 32nd Round)

Colton Howell – 2015 (San Diego Padres, 27th Round)

Garett King – 2014 (New York Mets, 36th Round)

Chad Luensmann – 2015 (New York Mets, 39th Round)

Jesse Wilkening – 2015 (Arizona Diamondbacks, 28th Round)