Nebraska will fight for their NCAA Tournament life Saturday afternoon as they face off against the Western Carolina Catamounts in an elimination game contest. Nebraska. The Huskers went out with a whimper in their Friday afternoon contest against Oklahoma State, while the Catamounts gave up 24 runs to Clemson, after taking an early 6-0 lead.
Nebraska will try and avoid going without a win in the postseason for the second consecutive year. Dating back to the 2015 Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis, the Huskers have lost five straight postseason contests, being outscored 29 to 12 in those contests. This year, Nebraska has been outscored in postseason play 17 to 3.
The good news for the Huskers is that Jake Meyers will get the start on Saturday. Meyers, who did not pitch in the Big Ten Tournament last weekend, has been a second half revelation, giving the Huskers a consistent third pitcher. With their backs up against the wall, the Huskers will hope that Meyers will be able to guide them into an elimination contest against either Oklahoma State or Clemson.
With Meyers pitching, one would expect Scott Schreiber to be out of the lineup. Schreiber who did have two hits in Friday's contest, looked to be in discomfort running the bases. With Schreiber out, expect possibly Angelo Altavilla to get at-bats at the designated hitter spot. Altavilla has looked comfortable swinging the bat lately, even though he does not have a hit to show for it.
The good news for the Huskers is that Western Carolina really struggles on the mound.Taylor Durand gets the start on the mound for Western Carolina. Durand is wild as he has 20 walks in just 22.1 innings pitched. Interestingly, Durand has not given up a double on the season.
Offensively the Catamounts can swing it. Four Catamounts bat above .325, led by Matt Smith who bats .385. Western Carolina really likes to crowd the plate, as they have been hit by pitches 94 times this season, so Meyers will need to use his soft stuff to induce weak contact. With the way Meyers pitches, he could be a really good match up with the Catamount batting order.