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Opening Day for the Huskers

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It's finally here. The Huskers open their 2007 season today, with Omaha in their sights. Of course, on a clear night, anyone in Lincoln can see the lights of Omaha over the horizon to the northeast.

In Arlington, Tex., New Mexico will take on Nebraska in the UTA Invite. The double-header is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. Central time, with the second game that evening. Nebraska is the second to last school in the Big 12 to start the season, with Kansas State opening their year later this afternoon.

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Nebraska is ranked No. 7 / 12 / 14 / 19 in the national polls, while New Mexico hasn't received votes in any poll.

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Nebraska travels to Texas without having had the opportunity to practice outside for any length of time. The Huskers had an outdoor batting practice on Thursday night, but hitting balls at 0 degrees isn't really that much better than hitting inside.

The Huskers will send Tony Watson to the mound for the season opener, with Johnny Dorn being the likely pick to start the second game.

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New Mexico comes into today's doubleheader sporting a 2-3 record. The Lobos opened their season with a wild 15-13 win over Texas Tech, in which the two teams combined for 30 hits and scored in 12 of 18 half-innings in Lubbock, Tex.

New Mexico followed that up by getting swept by No. 17 /  23 Arizona in three games by a combined score of 25-10.

The Lobos got back to winning by beating in-state rival New Mexico State in another high scoring affair. In the 11-7 game, New Mexico State outhit the Lobos, but allowed four earned runs on four errors in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to lose.

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New Mexico's best player this season is Jordan Pacheco, who's gone 9-for-17 with two home runs and a double so far this year. He's likely the Mountain West's top hitter, and this snippet from the Lobos' official site tells you why:

In 2006, Pacheco was:

All-Mountain West Conference first team honoree as a second baseman for the second consecutive season ... in the preseason, named to the 2006 Wallace Watch List, all-MWC team, a Louisville Slugger All-American and Collegiate Baseball's projected MWC Player of the Year ... hit .351 (87-for-248) with a team-high 79 runs scored, 21 doubles, five home runs, 43 RBI, 39 walks and 11 stolen bases as the leadoff hitter ... started all 59 games for UNM at second base ...ranked third in the nation in runs per game (1.37) ... aided in 55 of New Mexico's 75 double plays, the most in the nation ...led the MWC in runs (79), finished second in hits (87), doubles (21), walks (39), total plate appearances (305) and fielding double plays (55), third in on base percentage (.461) and at bats (248), fifth in hit by pitch (14) and assists (190) and 10th in total bases (125), stolen bases (11), steal attempts (14) and chances (342)

There's not much Pacheco doesn't do, and doesn't do well. It will be interesting to see how Tony Watson and Pacheco deal with each other.

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For what it's worth, Nebraska has an all-time record of 16-7 against New Mexico, and has beaten the Lobos the last six times the teams have met.

Also, there's no free radio/TV/telegraph/carrier-pigeon coverage of any Nebraska games until March 2nd. Until then, you're stuck with the Live Stats from, or you can fork over some cash for the HuskerNside subscription.