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UTA Invite Wrap

My apologies for the delay, I was busy yesterday and couldn't get anything written after Nebraska beat Illinois State 7-3 to take the tournament title and improve to 3-1 on the season.

Here are my thoughts following the Illinois State game, and the end of the invitational:

  • Matt Foust had a very good start, pitching five innings of one-run ball. He gave up four hits, struck out three, and walked just one. He did it in a fairly economical 72 pitches -- 14.4 per inning. Encouraging is the fact that he posted an 8:3 groundball-to-flyball out ratio.
  • How about Andy Gerch? The Lincoln Pius X graduate raised his season average to .412 by going 5-for-5 against the Redbirds. All five hits were singles, but it's nice to see Gerch get rolling.
  • I expected Drew Bowman to pitch yesterday, but I was wrong about his role. He didn't start, but threw two innings of relief. He gave up the only two extra base hits of the game, and had to throw 54 pitches to get six outs. The Arizona State transfer seems to be repeating last season's underwhelming effort where he posted a 6.08 ERA. He's got a good arm and a good slider, though, so he should be able to rebound and post better numbers for the Huskers.
  • Here's something to keep an eye on -- which will happen first, Jeff Lanning (12 plate appearances) striking out, or Bryce Nimmo (17 PA) walking? Neither have occurred yet. DJ Belfonte also hasn't struck out, in 15 times coming to the plate. He's walked five times, and been hit by a pitch twice.
  • Speaking of getting hit by pitches, the Scarlet & Cream are turning black and blue. Through four games, they've been plunked 10 times. In 59 games in 2006, they were issued 75 free bases on hit-by-pitch calls, or 1.27 per game. I don't think that this year's team can sustain the 2.50 HBP-per-game rate, but it's already helped prop up the on-base-percentage to .405.
  • From the esoteric stats dept., Nebraska's batting-average-on-balls-in-play (BABIP), stands at .350, meaning that the team average of .279 is right where it should be. Strikeouts are hurting the Huskers so far, with the SO-per-game for the offense sitting at 7.0, above last season's mark of 5.61 K's per game.
Nebraska's next action comes in the Rice Invitational next weekend. Here's the schedule:
Feb. 23 NU vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 1 p.m. CST
Feb. 24 NU vs. Rice 1 p.m. CST
Feb. 25 NU vs. Florida Atlantic 12 p.m. CST

I'll have a preview coming up on Friday. Also, we're now just two weeks away from the Huskers' home opener against Nebraska-Kearney on March 6th. Unfortunately I'll be unable to attend, since I'll be in Arizona for Spring Training from the 5th to the 20th, but I'll be following the games and writing about the 'skers from Phoenix.