The Huskers come home to Haymarket Park as an unranked team that's just barely treading enough water to keep from drowning. After finally winning a Friday game, the Big Red fell apart in College Station, losing another Big 12 series, this time at the hands of the Aggies. Texas A&M is a fine team, but that's a series Nebraska could have taken.
Oklahoma State comes into Lincoln as the top team in the Big 12 with a 5-1 league record. Nebraska, on the other hand, limps home in 8th place with a 3-6 mark in the league.
The Huskers have a very thin pitching staff -- carrying the worst team ERA since 1999 -- with a rotation that disappears after Tony Watson and Drew Bowman, and a bullpen that has perhaps three effective pitchers: Thad Weber, Matt Foust and Steve Edlefsen.
On the offensive side of things, it's perhaps more bleak. Jeff Tezak is blazing the way with an average over .400, and Mitch Abeita is hitting .333 in conference games. Craig Corriston is second on the team with 19 total bases and a .341 average in Big 12 play. That's about it for the Husker hitters.
Jake Opitz, Andrew Brown and Thad Weber -- three of the Huskers' offensive cornerstones in the first three weeks of play -- are hitting a combined .221 in conference games. As a team, Nebraska has a .282 average, .384 on-base-percentage and .411 slugging. Keep in mind that the average for the NCAA last year was .292/.361/.420...
All is not doom and gloom, though. Tony Watson has pitched very well as of late, and the Husker bats came awake in a 12-10 midweek romp over Creighton. The Huskers have a very high winning percentage at home in Lincoln, and may have a cold-weather advantage over Oklahoma State. It's forecasted to be between 35 and 45 degrees with winds around 20 mph every day from Friday to Sunday.
Fri. 2:05 p.m. CDT
NU-Tony Watson, Jr., LHP (2-1, 3.63 ERA, 34 K, 39.2 IP)
OSU-Oliver Odle, Sr., RHP (4-2, 4.50 ERA, 32 K, 42 IP)
Sat. 2:05 p.m. CDT
NU-Johnny Dorn, Jr., RHP (4-1, 4.58 ERA, 26 K, 35.1 IP)
Sun. 1:05 p.m. CDT
OSU-Andrew Oliver, Fr., LHP (5-0, 4.85 ERA, 29 K, 29.2 IP)
Note that Johnny Dorn has been moved from Sunday to Saturday. My guess is that Drew Bowman takes over the Sunday starter's spot after pitching well in midweek series. Charlie Shirek will probably take over Bowman's vacated midweek role as he works out his problems.
For those outside the state, CSTV will rebroadcast Saturday's game on April 10th at 3:30 p.m.