Husker Baseball

Week 5 Recap

It’s been said repeatedly here that this team is young and sometimes they’re going to look like world beaters and sometimes they’re going to look like they might miss the regionals.  If the last three weeks aren’t evidence of that, I don’t know what is.  From a 5-0 week over South Dakota State and Cal State Northridge to a disappointing 1-2 series loss at Texas Tech back to a 3-2 week against a pair of top 15 teams, one of which was on the road. 

Hopefully the Huskers can break that trend this week at Oklahoma, but it won’t be easy.   Oklahoma is ranked as high as #8 this week, posting a 20-5 (2-1 in the Big XII) record. 

Nebraska 3 - Arkansas 7
The Huskers traveled south to visit the home of a familiar face to Husker fans, Dave Van Horn.  In the first game of the visit, the Huskers were kind to the Razorbacks, letting them off the hook on a couple different big scoring opportunities.  In the 2nd, the Huskers loaded the bases with no outs off three straight walks from the Arkansas Staff, but was only able to get one run out of it, on a double-play grounder by Cody Asche in the 2nd.  The Huskers loaded the bases again off of 2 walks and an error by Arkansas in the third inning.  This time, Adam Bailey and Tyler Farst struck out, and Nick Sullivan grounded out to end the threat. 

Unfortunately, the Huskers were unable to keep Arkansas off the scoreboard in the meantime.  Husker starter Erik Bird (0-1) went just and inning and 2/3, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits.  From there, the young Husker staff did pretty well as 8 pitchers combined to pitch the final 6 1/3 and give up just 3 runs, but by that time the damage had been done.

Nebraska 7 - Arkansas 4
It looked like Nerbaska was going home without a “W” from their trip to Fayetteville.  It’s the top of the 9th, 1 out and no runners on and Arkansas is cruising to a victory with a 3-1 lead.   Ben Kline battled at the plate, fouling off pitches and coaxed a 1 out walk for Nebraska’s first runner of the inning.  Cody Asche also managed to work his way on via the free pass.  Then, what happened next turned the Husker “L” into a “W”.

Cory Burleson hit a soft grounder between 1st and 2nd, but the first baseman threw the ball wildly to his pitcher covering allowing everyone to advance, including Ben Kline to score the first run.  Then, true freshman Cody Asche made a heads up play and noticed that the catcher had backed up the throw to first and nobody was covering home.  In a sprint race to the plate, Asche just beat it out, pulling the game to a 3-3 tie and gave new life to the Husker dugout.  The play was ruled an infield single with an error on the throw allowing the runners to advance.

The Huskers weren’t done though, the next 2 batters singled in the runner on 2nd and took 2nd themselves before a 3rd single by Mort lead to Bubak being thrown out at the plate.  Adam Bailey decided it wasn’t enough though and drove his Big XII leading 9th homerun over the right-center wall to make it 7-3.

The Razorbacks opened the bottom with a solo shot to bring them within 3, but Nesseth struck out the site to finish the game and give the Huskers another great come from behind win.

Oklahoma State 4 - Nebraska 11
The #11 Oklahoma State Cowboys came and visited the Huskers this weekend and the Huskers were ready.  Friday night the Cowboys sent up their All-American ace Andrew Oliver who had pitched a complete game shutout against Nebraska in Stillwater just a year ago, but the Huskers were not intimidated.  In the bottom of the 3rd, the Huskers found themselves behind 3-0, but they didn’t panic.  The Huskers first got on the board with 2 singles and 2 walks, including a 2-out bases-loaded walk by Jeff Tezak.  Cody Neer started off what would be a great weekend with a 2-out 2-RBI double to center to tie up the game at 3.  Cody Asche continued the charge, ripping a triple down the line scoring Neer and Tezak to give the Huskers a 5-3 lead.

The Huskers added a couple more in the next inning with back-to-back RBI singles from Jake Mort and Adam Bailey to chase the All-American Oliver, and the Husker cruised to a victory.  Casey Hauptman got the start and the Huskers used 6 pitchers to keep the OSU bats at bay, including Mike Nesseth who was usually the Friday starter and was recently moved to the bullpen to close out of the latter part of the game.

Oklahoma State 4 - Nebraska 12
Again, Nebraska found themselves up against an All-Big XII pitcher in Tyler Lyons and again, they didn’t seem to notice.  In the first, Jeff Tezak and Tyler Farst singled to drive in a pair of runs to take the early 2-0 lead before Cody Neer ripped an RBI double to extend the lead to 3.

In the 2nd, the Huskers kept it going.  An error and a single by Jake Mort put runners on the corners for Nerbaska’s dangerous newcomer Adam Bailey.  Bailey did what he does best, he ripped a double to the left-center gap and scored both runners before coming around to score on Tezak’s second RBI single of the game.

The 6-0 lead proved to be all Jordan Roualdes needed as he cruised for 7 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits to give the Huskers the series win.

Oklahoma State 6 - Nebraska 3
For the first time all weekend, the Huskers found themselves fooled by Oklahoma State’s starting pitching.  Ironcially enough, it came against a pitcher that they knocked all over the field a year ago in Stillwater in Tyler Blandford.  In fact, about the only Husker Blandford didn’t have in check was Nick Sullivan who was 2 for 4 with a homerun and two RBIs.

Husker starter Michael Mariot couldn’t keep the Oklahoma State bats quiet.  Mariot spent too much time over the plate and the Cowboys came up swinging most of the afternoon.  Mariot lasted just 3 innings, gave up 8 hits to just 16 batters and allowed 4 runs.

The Huskers made it close in the 6th when Kyle Bubak reached with one out.  Bubak proceeded to steal 2nd and then came around to score on two wild pitches to notch the game at 4-2.  However, the Huskers weren’t able to do any more damage as Adam Bailey struck out to end the inning.

A look back: The Good

Adam Bailey- Again, Adam continued to show he’s one of the better hitters in the Big XII this year.  The JUCO transfer hit .381 for the week with a homer, 5 RBI and scored 8 times.  Adam is tied for the Big XII lead with 9 homeruns and leads the Big XII with 33 RBI.  He flat out is just getting it done at the plate.
Nick Sullivan - Just two weeks ago, Sullivan only held a .182 average, and for the 2nd week in a row, Nick was able to break out a little, posting a .333 average (.467 OBP) and with a homerun, lifting his season average to .254.
Jordan Roualdes - While allowing 4 runs over 7 innings isn’t going to turn any heads, I’m sure Mike Anderson will tell you that he’s been one of the Huskers most valuable pitchers on this young staff.  He’s been able to go deep into games almost every week and keep the young bullpen arms rested for the Friday and Sunday games.
Jeff Tezak - Tezak’s presence back in the lineup after being injured all year last year is very welcome.  Tezak continued to be one of Nebraska’s most consistent hitters posting a .357 average and a .526 on base percentage as well as 4 runs and 4 RBIs to help the Huskers.
Cody Neer - Despite a rough midweek game and a rough game on Sunday, Cody drove in 8 runs and scored twice in the Friday and Saturday victories for the Huskers, including a late 3-run bomb on Saturday to put the game away for good.  If Cody can learn some consistency and stay under control at the plate, he should see more of the starting lineup.
Jake Mort -Again, Jake is forcing Mike Anderson to keep him in the lineup.  The Senior hit .313 on the week and scored 5 times to help power the Huskers.
Matt Freeman -Matt Freeman has shown, that when he’s got his control, he’s one of Nebraska’s better pitchers. On the year, opposing hitters are batting an abysmal .148 against him (2.81 ERA), but also leads the team with 17 walks. This week, Freeman pitched better, going 7 innings in 4 appearances, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 4 while walking 4. 

A look back: The Not So Good

Runners left in scoring position (Wed) - Scoring just 1 run with the bases loaded and no outs twice really hurt the Huskers.  Had they been able to capitalize and possibly win the first game at Arkansas, they may find themselves ranked this week.  Posting a 4-1 record over two Top 15 opponents would have been huge.
Erik Bird - I’m not sure what’s wrong with Bird, but he’s really struggled as of late.  In his last two starts, he’s pitched 4.2 innings and given up 9 earned runs for a 17.36 ERA.

Overall Grade: B+
It’s hard to give them any lower, because they did go 3-2 against two Top 15 teams this week, including an impressive ‘last at-bat’ come from behind win over Arkansas on Wednesday and two convincing wins against what is probably one of the top 2 or 3 pitching duos in Oklahoma State on Friday and Saturday.  However, as you’ve been warned, the inconsistency of the team is still keeping them from being one of the very best in the Big XII.  On one end they got just one run out of two bases-loaded no out situations on Wednesday and they were hancuffed by the least heralded pitcher they saw on Sunday.  On the other end, they went up against two of the best pitchers they’re going to see all year in Oliver and Lyons and treated them like batting practice.    For the pitchers, even though we dropped our walk/9 rate this weekend, we are still walking too many and need to get that under control. The Big XII is just too darn competitive to be giving away free passes.  The bright side is, that when they play consistent baseball, they’ve shown they can play with anybody.

The Huskers take on Northern Colorado in the midweek before heading to Norman Oklahoma to face the #8 Oklahoma Sooners.  Oklahoma can be summed up in one word, offense.  They lead the Big XII in runs (248), homeruns (40), average (.348 team average), hits (309), doubles (63) and walks (111).  Fortunately, they’re 7th in the Big XII in pitching with a 5.16 ERA.  Expect some high scoring, whoever scores last types of games.  If you’re an old-fashioned pitchers duel kind of fan, you might want to look away.

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2 Responses to “Husker Baseball Blog: Week 5”

  1. Husker Baseball Blog: Week 5 - Nebraska Sports Blog Says:

    [...] Husker Baseball Blog: Week 5 [...]

  2. Cliff Says:

    Love the baseball reporting so far!

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