Nebraska is in the winners bracket of the NCAA Regional for the first time since 2008! The Huskers defeated UConn yesterday to set up their biggest game of the season tonight against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The winner of this game will be in the drivers seat for winning a regional and advancing to a super regional, something the Huskers have not done since the 2005 season. 2005 was also the year that Nebraska last appeared in the College World Series.
Tonight though, Nebraska will have to get past a Cowboy team that shut down the Crimson offense of Harvard in the first round. Harvard was unable to get any sorta of offense going, but did manage to hold the Cowboys to only two runs.
Parker Scott of Oklahoma State gets the ball against the Huskers. Scott has been through three surgeries, including Tommy John. He is only a sophomore, but he has shown the ability to throw deep into games.
The worst part about Scott for the Huskers is that he is a left handed pitcher. Nebraska did manage to get to UConn preseason All-American Mason Feole yesterday, but Scott could be a different story. He has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any start. He has allowed one earned run or less in five of his six starts on the year.
Compared to the bullpen of UConn, the Cowboys are not as deep and lack the top tier arms that the Huskies had. Payton Battlefield and Ben Leeper are leading the bullpen with 26 and 25 appearances.
Battlefield is a multi inning reliever who has the ability to punch out opposing batters. Leeper meanwhile leads the team with six saves, but he had a bad outing against TCU time out giving up four runs and taking a loss in the Big 12 Tournament.
Oklahoma State does have a balanced offense. They can hit the ball out of the ballpark, as shown by their 84 home runs. They had a game earlier this season against Kansas where they hit 12 home runs.
Trevor Boone leads the team with 19 home runs on the season. Closely behind him are Colin Simpson with 15 and Christian Funk with 12. Andrew Navigato also has 12 long balls for State.
Navigating around the powerful lineup will be the job of Matt Waldron. Waldron will need to be able to locate his pitches and keep the Cowboys off balance. Waldron faced the Cowboys back in 2016 as a freshman and was unable to get out of the fourth inning. It will be interesting to see what he has learned in his four years tonight.
NCAA Oklahoma City Regional
May 31-June 3, 2019
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark • Oklahoma City, Okla.
Saturday, June 1st • 7 p.m. (CT)
Nebraska (32-22) vs. #9 Oklahoma State (37-18)
Video Stream: ESPN3
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Matt Waldron (6-4) vs. Parker Scott (3-1)