NU BSB: Huskers Visit Texas for Houston College Classic

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Huskers Visit Texas for Houston College Classic

Texas A&M | Friday, March 6 – 3:35 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Sinclair (1-2) vs. LHP Minter (2-0)
TV: ROOT Sports Southwest
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream: None
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Hawaii | Saturday, March 7 – 12:05 p.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: LHP Kubat (1-0) vs. RHP Brashears (2-1)
TV: ROOT Sports Southwest
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream: None
Radio: Husker Sports Network

LSU | Sunday, March 8 – 11:05 a.m. (CT)
Probable Starters: RHP Burkamper (1-0) vs. TBA
TV: ROOT Sports Southwest & Cox Sports
Stream: Free Radio (Huskers.com) | Video Stream: ESPN3
Radio: Husker Sports Network


Huskers Continue Road Swing with Trip to Houston

Following a 2-1 series victory over the Loyola Marymount Lions in Los Angeles, the Nebraska baseball team (6-4, 0-0 Big Ten) heads back on the road for the fourth straight weekend with a trip to Houston, Texas, for the Houston College Classic. One of the premier tournaments of the college baseball season, the event is held at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

Nebraska will be joined in Houston this weekend by Texas A&M, Baylor, LSU, Houston and Hawaii, but will not play Houston or Baylor.

The Huskers have a tough slate this weekend, starting on Friday afternoon at 3:35 p.m. when they take on undefeated and No. 14 nationally-ranked Texas A&M (13-0, 0-0 SEC). It will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2011, when they were both members of the Big 12 Conference.

Senior Chance Sinclair is scheduled to start the opener and will look to snap a two-game losing streak after posting a 10-1 record last season.

Nebraska and Hawaii then open the second day of the tournament on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. The Rainbow Warriors hold a 15-7 advantage over the Huskers all-time, but this will be the first time the two teams have ever met in the Continental United States.

Senior Kyle Kubat is scheduled to get the ball on Saturday. The lefty is 1-0 on a year and has gone at least 7.0 innings in each of his last two starts.

The Huskers wrap up the tournament on Sunday at 11:05 a.m. against the No. 7 nationally-ranked LSU Tigers (11-1, 0-0 SEC), the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

Sophomore Derek Burkamper is scheduled to start on Sunday for the second straight weekend and is coming off his best outing as a Husker. Last Sunday against Loyola Marymount, Burkamper allowed only two hits and one walk over 7.0 innings of work, while striking out five.

Fans interested in attending the Houston College Classic can buy tickets in advance through the Houston Astros. Single-day and tournament passes are available.

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

ROOT Sports Southwest will carry all nine games of the Houston College Classic. Cox Sports will also carry all of LSU’s games, including Sunday’s game between the Huskers and Tigers.

Web Streams

Sunday’s game between Nebraska and LSU will be streamed on ESPN3.

Head of the Class

Two-time All-Big Ten performer Blake Headley has totaled 13 RBIs in the first 10 games of the season, setting a pace for 72.8 RBIs in 2015. That number though would not crack the top-10 single-season record book at Nebraska, as current Head Coach Darin Erstad holds the No. 10 spot with 76 RBIs in 1995.

Hitting in the No. 4 spot behind Ryan Boldt, who is hitting a team-best .459 on the season, Headley has taken advantage of runners on base. The Omaha native is hitting .800 with runners in scoring position this season and has produced RBIs in five out of six opportunities with a runner on third base and less than two outs.

With 13 RBIs this season, Headley is nearly halfway to his career-best total of 27 RBIs set last season.

Pitcher’s Best Friend

Since 2012, the Huskers ranked 11th in the nation with 175 double plays turned, including 11 this season though 10 games. Mississippi State leads the nation since 2012 with 211 double plays.

Double Plays Since 2012

1. Mississippi State 211

2. Georgia Tech 200

3. Southern Miss 196

4. Arkansas 190

5. Washington State 190

6. Oregon State 189

7. Florida State 183

8. New Mexico 182

9. Tulane 180

10. Fresno State 177

11. Nebraska 175

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 .428 (6-for-14) with a home run and a pair of multi-hit games.

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

Banking on Boldt

Sophomore outfielder Ryan Boldt has been on an offensive tear to start the season, posting a .459 (17-for-37) average through 10 games with two-doubles, one triple and a team-high 10 runs scored.

Slotted third in the Husker lineup, Boldt already has one Big Ten Player of the Week (Feb. 23) award this season. His approach at the plate has been tough on opposing pitchers, with only three strikeouts to five walks. Boldt has posted an on-base percentage of .512.

Last season, Boldt was named the No. 2 freshman in country by Baseball America, while also earning All-Big Tournament and NCAA Regional All-Tournament honors, as well as Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America accolades.

23 Hits to Go

After Michael Pritchard and Pat Kelly each joined Nebraska 200-hit club last season, senior Austin Darby is 23 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

Young Guns

Through 10 games this season the Huskers have seen six freshmen pitchers take the mound. The six newcomers have combined for 18.1 innings of work over 12 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 0.50..

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.

Aggie Staff Tied to Huskers

Friday will be somewhat of a reunion when the Huskers and Aggies meet.

All three of Texas A&M’s coaches have ties to Nebraska. Aggie Head Coach Rob Childress was an assistant coach at Nebraska from 1998 to 2003, where he coached his two assistants, Justin Seely and Will Bolt.

Bolt, who was an assistant at Nebraska for the past three seasons, was a four-year starter at Nebraska from 1999 to 2002 and was a member of Nebraska’s first two College World Series teams. Bolt was also a volunteer assistant on NU’s 2005 College World Series team.

Seely transferred to Nebraska after two seasons at Northeast Texas CC, he went on to play on NU’s College World Series teams in 2001 and 202. Seely was also a volunteer assistant at Nebraska in 2006 and 2007.

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 Friday’s game against Texas A&M 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.

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 443 starts, while three pitchers have made 103 combined appearances, including 50 starts.

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 82-11 since 2012 when they lead after the sixth inning. The Huskers are 84-6 when leading after seven innings and nearly perfect when leading after eight innings with a 93-4 record.

Welcome Home

After one season at Hutchinson CC, sophomore infielder Jake Schleppenbach returned to Lincoln to play for the Huskers.

The Pius X graduate has been a welcome addition to the 2015 squad, as he has filled a defensive hole at second base left by Pat Kelly and he ranks second on the team with a .361 (13-for-36) batting average.

Schleppenbach hit in the bottom third of the lineup over the first six games of the year, before moving to the leadoff spot in on Saturday, Feb. 21, a 9-1 win over BYU. The sophomore made the most his opportunity with a 3-for-5 performance and a pair of runs scored.

Since moving to the leadoff spot, Schleppenbach has scored six runs in four games.

Experienced Lefty

Senior Kyle Kubat has three starts under his belt in 2015 and enters his start on Saturday against Hawaii with 31 career starts on the mound, which ranks 13th all-time at Nebraska. The lefty from Waterloo, Neb., started eight games in each of his first two seasons before making 12 starts last year.

His 32nd career start on Saturday will tie him for 11th on the career list with Joba Chamberlain (2005-06) and Patrick Leinen (1987-89).

If Kubat starts at least 12 games in 2015 he will become the first Husker since Johnny Dorn to make at least 40 career starts. Dorn ranks second all-time at Nebraska with 58 career starts from 2000 to 2003.

Since 2000, only four pitchers at Nebraska have made at least 40 career starts, including Shane Komine (59), Dorn (58), Jamie Rodrigue (53) and Zach Kroenke (41).