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2012 Husker Baseball Season Begins This Weekend!

Nebraska baseball kicks of the 2012 season tonight with a three-game series against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Peoria, Arizona.

This is the first meeting between the two teams.

Projected Starting Pitchers:

Friday, Feb. 17 - 8 p.m. (CT): So. Zach Hirsch (LHP) vs. So. Marco Gonzales (LHP)
Saturday, Feb. 18 - 8 p.m. (CT):
So. Jon Keller (RHP) vs. Sr. Tyler Olson (LHP)
Sunday, Feb. 19 - 1 p.m. (CT):
Fr. Kyle Kubat (LHP) vs. Sr. Andy Hunter (RHP)

Hirsch will be making his first start for the Huskers after making 13 appearances last season, pitching 17.2 innings with 13 strike outs and 11 walks, with a 2.04 ERA.

Keller started 14 games last season, starting every weekend series. In 15 appearances, he pitched 64.2 innings, leading the team in strikeouts with 54, gave up 37 walks, with a 3.62 ERA.

Freshman Kubat will be making his first start as a Husker, obviously.

We have not done player previews for the 2012 Husker season for one simple reason - new Head Coach Darin Erstad has made it clear that there that the players on this team will come out and play his brand of baseball or spend their time sitting in the dugout.

Starting lineup is projected as:

C - Sr. Cody Burleson

1B - Jr. Kash Kalkowski

2B - Jr. Bryan Peters

SS - Fr. Pat Kelly

3B - Jr. Kurt Farmer

OF: Anybody's guess.

If you're wondering why Tom Lemke, Tyler Niederklein, Travis Huber, or Brandon Pierce aren't starting this weekend, keep in mind that this team must find it's starting pitching rotation before the start of Big Ten conference play.

A further word on that - wandering the internets, noticing Husker fans posting on message boards, Facebook, etc., I get the impression that most think all this team has to do to win the Big Ten is show up.

I wrote earlier this week about setting expectations for this team. Keep in mind that this is basically the same team second to last in the Big 12 last season, finished seventh in batting average at .269, seventh in ERA at 4.00 and doesn't return a batter or hitter that finished in the top of any statistical category last season. The Huskers have missed the conference tournament and NCAA tournament the past three consecutive seasons. Expect some early losses while Erstad figures out who on this team is going to play his brand of tough dirtbaggin' baseball.

Our collective hope as Husker fans is that Darin Erstad and his staff can turn this program around, but before we expect them to win a brand new conference, let's just sit back and see if they can play some ball.

Relax. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and playing in the Big Ten will be quite different than playing in the Big 12.