Husker BaseballLincoln, NE – The Huskers (34-8-1, 15-5-1) took both games of a midweek series with the Western Illinois Leathernecks 6-4 and 6-1.  The first win gave the Huskers 1 more win than last year’s season mark of 32, with 10 regular season games, a Big XII tourney and NCAA tourney left, the Huskers look set to win 40 games for the 3rd time in the last 4 seasons.

In the 1st game, the young guys really stepped up in a big way.  Freshman shortstop Ben Kline from Omaha Central hit a bases-loaded single in the 6th to give the Huskers the lead they would not relent.  Freshman pitcher Casey Hauptman from Millard South pitched a career high 4 innings and gave up just 2 hits to get his first career win.  Freshman reliever Mike Nesseth pitched a perfect 9th inning for his 4th save of the year.

In the 2nd game, Husker pitcher Erik Bird got the start and pitched 5 scoreless innings to notch his 4th win of the year.  Freshman 1st baseman Tyler Farst got things going for the offense in the 3rd when he drilled a 2-RBI double off the base of the wall with the bases loaded and just 1 out. After DJ Belfonte was hit by a pitch, Nick Sullivan was hit by a pitch to score another run.

Weekend starter Aaron Pribanic came in for 2 innings of perfect relief, perhaps a sign that Mike Anderson might be considering using lefty Dan Jennings for the Sunday start this weekend since Pribanic has struggled as of late.

The Huskers take on Louisiana-Lafayette for a three game series this weekend starting Friday at 6:35 followed up by a double-header on Saturday at 12:05pm and 6:35pm.

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NebraskaThe NFL Draft happened over the weekend and only three Husker players were drafted.  Sure shows you what NFL staffs thought of the players that Nebraska has had lately… Not very much talent they thought.

Zack Bowman was the first Husker picked as he went in the 5th round to the Chicago Bears.  They Bears said they drafted Bowman hoping that he would be 100% over his knee injuries and back to the he had during his junior season.

Carl Nicks was drafted in the 5th round as well as he went to the New Orleans Saints.  Nicks was once thought to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick but slipped to the 5th round.  You have to think that his off the field incident and not being able to work out at the Nebraska Pro Day really hurt his stock.

Bo Rudd was picked up by the New England Patriots in the 6th round.  Rudd will have to really impress the Patriots during mini camps if he wants to make the team.

So far three other Huskers have signed free agent contracts.  Steve Octavien with the Kansas City Chiefs, Courtney Grixby with the Carolina Panthers, and Lance Brandenburgh with the San Francisco 49ers.  Brett Byford has signed on with the New York Jets.

Maurice Purify will take part of the Cincinnati Bengals mini camp but has not signed a contract.  The same deal with Corey McKeon who will take part in Tampa Bay Bucs minicamp and Tierre Green who will take part in Green Bay Packers mini camp.  We have also learned that Frantz Hardy has signed with the Philedelphia Eagles.

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Husker BaseballWaco, TX – The Huskers (32-7-1, 15-4-1)  pounded the Baylor Bears in the nightcap of Saturday’s double header 14-1.  The win clinched the series win for the Huskers, their first ever series win in Waco since the inception of the Big XII.  In fact, going into today, they had only won 1 game in Waco in 13 attempts.

Thad Weber pitched a great game for the Huskers, keeping the Bears at bay while the offense had their way.  He threw a complete game in the 10-run rule shortened game, a rule for the Big XII reserved for the 2nd game of a double header and Sunday ‘getaway’ games.  He scattered 4 hits over 7 innings and struck out 4.  He allowed just 1 hit over the final 5 innings and struck out the side for the final inning.

The Huskers would give him all the padding he needed when they bolted out to a 7-run first inning.  Started off with a Jake Opitz double that scored Nimmo and Mort.

Opitz led the way for the Husker offense scoring 3 times and knocking in 4 RBIs, including a 2-run bomb in the top of the 5th over the right field wall.  DJ Belfonte continued to battle back since being dropped in the lineup in favor of Bryce Nimmo.  He chipped in a 2 for 2 day with 3 RBIs and scored a run. 

The Huskers will go for the sweep tomorrow at 1:00pm with Junior Aaron Pribanic on the Hill.  The win allows the Huskers to stay just 1 1/2 games behind Big XII leading Texas A&M who has won 14 straight Big XII games.

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Husker BaseballWaco, TX – The Huskers (31-7-1, 14-4-1) haven’t had very much luck in Waco for a long time.  Before today the Huskers were an abysmal 1-12 in Waco, easily their worst record at any Big XII destination.  The first game threatened to continue that aweful trend, when Baylor hit a dramatic 2-run home run of reliever Dan Jennings to tie the game with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th.  However, DJ Belfonte knocked in 2 go ahead runs for the 2nd time late in the game for the 6-4 win in the first half of the double header.

In an all to common trend, Johnny Dorn was excellent, but still failed to get the decision.  He pitched 7 innings, gave up just 4 hits and walked 3 while striking out 7.  He allowed 2 runs to score, both in the Baylor 5th, the only inning where he seem to face any trouble.  Dorn was in position to earn the win, when DJ Belfonte knocked in two runs in the 8th just before Dorn was lifted.

The Huskers took the early lead in the 2nd inning when Craig Corriston launched a 3-1 pitch over the left field wall.  After the Bears took the 2-1 lead in the 5th, Corriston singled home a run to tie it up again.

After the dramatic comeback in the 9th by the Bears, DJ Belfonte did it again, grounding a single up the middle in the 10th scoring Jake Opitz and Nick Sullivan for the final advantage.

Mike Nesseth earned the win, who came in to relieve Dan Jennings in the 9th and Zach Herr earned his 4th save allowing just 1 hit in the 10th.

The Huskers and Bears finish up the double header in the nightcap as the Huskers try to get their first ever series win in Waco.

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Husker BaseballWaco, TX – The opening game of the Nebraska vs Baylor series was postponed due to rain Friday until Saturday at 2:00 pm.  The Huskers will still start Johnny dorn, as they look to improve their 1-12 record in Waco since the formation of the Big XII.

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NebraskaThe Nebraska Football team has got their second commitment in the 2009 class.  Shawn Bodtmann, a 6-foot, 208-pounder, attended the NU spring game last weekend and left impressed with the Huskers’ facilities and fan support.

Bodtmann will be playing at one of the linebacker positions, depending on how much weight he puts on.  Definately look for Bodtmann to redshirt his first year in the program.

The Huskers have also offered Bodtmann’s teammate Eric Shrive, a 6-foot-7, 298-pound offensive tackle so they are hoping to get two players out of Pennsylvania for the 09 class.

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Husker BaseballLincoln, NE – The Huskers (29-7-1, 13-4-1) couldn’t get much going against Creighton starter Greg Hellhake.  They managed just 4 hits and 0 runs in his 5 innings.  When Creighton went to the bullpen in the 6th, the Huskers took advantage and scored all their runs in a 4-3 victory in that frame.

Jake Mort opened the frame with a base hit up the middle and moved up to 2nd on a wild pitch.  Two batters later, Senior Catcher Mitch Abeita singled to left, scoring Mort to tie up the game at 1 apiece.  Even though Nick Sullivan popped out on the next play, the Huskers weren’t done.  After and Abeita steal, Creighton intentionally walked Craig Corriston to setup the force out.   Unfortunately, Creighton’s Jeremy Hauer couldn’t find his control, walking DJ Belfonte. 

Creighton brought in T.J. Roemmich who plunked Freshman left fielder Dan Johnston to give the Huskers their first and final lead.  After another pitching change, freshman Ben Kline singled home Belfonte and Corriston to extend the lead to 4-1.

It was a good thing for the Huskers too, because the next inning, Junior Nick Nordgren parked a 1-0 Erik Anderson pitch in the left-center berms to trim the lead to one.

On the mound, the Huskers got yet another excellent outing from Junior Dan Jennings.  Although his 30-inning scoreless streak ended in the 4th, he pitched 6 solid innings, walked 1, and gave up just 3 hits while striking out 5.  Zach Herr and Mike Nesseth combined to closeout the game with Nesseth earning his 4th save of the year.

The Huskers and Bluejays both make the 50-mile trek up I-80 for tomorrow night’s game as the two teams make up for the weather postponed contest on April 1st.  First pitch is set for 6:35pm and the Huskers send Erik Bird to the mound, fresh off his brilliant performance against top 10 Wichita State Shockers last week.

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Husker BaseballLincoln, NE – The Husker baseball team (28-7-1, 13-4-1) fell short 6-3 on Sunday as they tried to complete the sweep against the Kansas Jayhawks.  The Husker  bats were silenced all day long by Omaha Skutt graduate TJ Walz.  Walz, perhaps a little upset he wasn’t able to play for Nebraska, proved that at least on this day, he’s a legitimate Big XII pitcher.

 On the day, he allowed just 3 runs and the Huskers couldn’t even manage a hit until Mitch Abeita caught a ball up in the wind that fell short of the right fielder for a strange double with 2 outs in the 4th. 

Aaron Pribanic started the day and for the most part pitched very well.  He ended up with 5 earned runs, but two were after he left and he struck out 8.

The Huskers seemed like they had something going in the bottom of the 9th with runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out.  David Stewart, representing the tying run, grounded into a double play to dash the Husker hopes.

The Huskers face in-state rival Creighton Bluejays on Tuesday in Lincoln before turning around and heading right back up to Omaha the next day to play at Rosenblatt stadium.  Since Dan Jennings was not used today or yesterday, it’s likely he’ll get the start on Tuesday with Erik Bird going on Wednesday.

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Husker BaseballLincoln, NE – Senior catcher Mitch Abeita hit one home run all last year.  Today Abeita hit his 7th home run of the year, a grand slam in the 4th inning that gave the Huskers (28-6-1, 13-3-1) a 4-2 lead.  The 8-6 win over the Jayhawks gave Nebraska the series win, their 5th Big XII series win out of 6 tries.

Senior Thad Weber picked up his 7th win of the year (7-2), although it was not his best outing of the year, giving up 4 runs over 5 innings and struck out 7.  Zach Herr picked up his 3rd save of the year with a solid 1.2 innings of scoreless work to finally shut down the Jayhawks. 

8,697 fans watched as the Huskers loaded the bases with just one single by Bryce Nimmo, a misplayed bunt from Jake Mort and a walk to Jake Opitz.  Then Abeita drilled the 2-1 pitch over the left field wall for the grand slam and the 4-2 lead.

The Jayhawks would tie it again in the next inning, but the Huskers would grab the lead right back.  Ben Kline opened the inning with a single. On a brilliant call bike Coach Anderson, Kline took off on the pitch while Nimmo faked the bunt and leaned across the plate and slapped a ground ball right back where the shortstop covering 2nd orginally was.  Ben Kline hustled around 2nd and just beat the throw to third while Nimmo smartly took 2nd when he saw the throw was to third.  Two batters later, Opitz would ground out to the 1st baseball and score Kline from third, giving the Huskers back the lead for good.

In the next inning, the Huskers would add a couple more.  Corriston was hit by the pitch to open the frame and then brought home on a DJ Belfonte double to right center.  DJ would eventually come around to score on a Bryce Nimmo single to 2nd base where he just beat out the throw to give the Huskers a 7-4 advantage.

The Jayhawks would pull back within 1 off of a double in the 7th and a solo home run in the 8th that would chase reliver Mike Nesseth to bring the score to 7-6.  But the Huskers would add an insurance run in the 8th when Jake Opitz hit an infield single just past a running 3rd baseman and score Kline who doubled 3 batters earlier.

Zach Herr walked the leadoff batter in the 9th, but put the next three down in order to earn the save and the Husker victory.

The win kept the Huskers just a half game out of first place in the Big XII behind Texas A&M who beat Baylor 11-1 on Saturday.  The Huskers will go for the sweep tomorrow at Hawks Field at 1:05 pm.  The game will be televised on NET sports across the state of Nebraska.

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NebraskaThe Nebraska football team concluded their spring practices with the annual spring game on Saturday afternoon.  The starters were split up between teams so the competition was pretty good.  The red team led by Joe Ganz beat the White team 24-14.

Ganz threw for 131 yards and two touchdowns against the white team defense.  Ganz hooked up with Curenski Gilleylen on a 77 yard touchdown.

Patrick Witt and Zac Lee both had decent days as well for the Huskers.  Witt took most of the snaps so I assume he is the clear leader for the #2 spot over Lee at this point.  Witt completed 6-of-12 pass attempts for 61 yards. He was intercepted one time.  Lee completed 6-of-11 attempts for 87 yards and a touchdown.

At the running back position, Marlon Lucky ran for 37 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.  Quentin Castille ran for 47 yards and also caught two balls for 55 yards.  Roy Helu finished the game with 67 yards and one touchdown while Marcus Mendoza ran for 33 yards and caught a 24-yard pass for a touchdown.

Prince Amukamara and Armando Murillo made eight tackles to each for the red team.  Amukamara forced a fumble and Murillo and an interception as well.  Colton Koehler led the Whites with six tackles.

Coach Pelini said after the game that there is still plenty of work that needs to get done to get ready for next season.  Hopefully all the kids take it serious this summer during off season conditioning and they come out ready to play in August!


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