The Nebraska Baseball team will face elimination from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Huskers who were “out-competed” on Friday against Yale will have to bounce back and win four straight elimination contests if they want to win the Corvallis Regional. The first contest is a game against the Patriot League automatic qualifier, the Holy Cross Crusaders.
Holy Cross is just 23-28 on the season, but won the Patriot League tournament by sweeping Army and Bucknell. Outside of a win against Yale, Holy Cross is 0-9 against opponents in the RPI top 50. There best wins were Yale, and at the University of Southern California.
Nebraska is likely to see Joe Cravero (3-4, 4.68) as the starting pitcher. Cravero has pitched well of late, allowing three runs against Bucknell and Navy in his last two starts. He was roughed up by Yale in a relief appearance to the tune of six runs in just two innings.
Cravero leads the team in home runs surrendered at nine, while pitching the second most innings at 67.1. Cravero is a solid strikeout an inning pitcher, racking up 66 on the season. He limits walks, and works around the strikezone.
Outside of Cravero, the Huskers could possibly see bullpen pieces such as George Capen (6-1, 4.30) , Michael Spada (2-1, 3.14) , and Jon Escobar (0-0, 4.50). Capen did throw 30 pitches last night, so his availability for tonight is questionable. Escobar could be the closer if Capen is unavailable.
Flipping to the batters box, Holy Cross hits .256 as a team. They don’t scare you with light tower power, but they have hit a respectable 36 home runs as a team. They have walked 177 times and struck out 381 times. No one on the team has more than four stolen bases.
Individuals who stand out include Anthony Critelli, Austin Masel, Bill Schlich, and Josh Hassel. Critelli leads the team in most offensive categories, including batting average at .301, home runs at nine, and doubles at thirteen. Masel has scored 36 runs for the Crusaders while batting a respectable .293. Schlich and Hassel both have double digit extra base hits while being solid in the field.
Holy Cross as a team bats just .256, while they allow opponents to hit .283. In the field, Holy Cross does not steal a lot of bags, but they have allowed 55 in 78 tries for opponents. Looking closer, catcher Alex Voitik has thrown out 17 of 54 runners attempting to steal. Cravero has allowed 9 of 11 stolen bases on the season.
In the field, Holy Cross can be prone to a couple of errors. Thomas Russo and Chris Rinaldi, the combination at third base and shortstop have combined to make 38 errors on the season.