Date: May 8th - 10th
Time: April 8th (Sat.) @ 2:00 p.m, April 9th (Sun.) @ 10:00 a.m, April 9th (Sun.) @ 2:00 p.m, & April 10th (Mon.) @ 10:00 a.m
Location: Bainton Field, Pascataway, New Jersey
Record(s): Indiana (20 - 9) 1st in Big Ten Rutgers (17 - 13) 6th in Big Ten & Nebraska: (20 - 10) 3rd in Big Ten
Head Coach(s): Steve Owens (Rutgers) & Jeff Mercer (Indiana)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
The Huskers head to Piscataway, New Jersey to take on a four game set split against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Indiana Hoosiers. The Huskers are coming off of their first series loss of the season last week where they were swept by a red hot Scarlet Knights baseball team at home. The problem for the Huskers was that the Bullpen really struggled to maintain leads late in the games, the Husker bullpen failed to protect a 3-2 and 5-0 lead respectively in the first two games. The Scarlet Knights are red hot at the right time of year and at 17 - 13 are still a really dangerous team, yet one Nebraska has seen now for three games. Indiana however faces off against the Huskers for the first time this year and emerges as the top spot in the conference after winning nine of their last 11 games.
The Huskers failed last week to put up any offensive numbers against the Scarlet Knight pitching capped off by a three hit day on Sunday. The pitching was also unusually shaky as well. Spencer Schwellenbach was nabbed for his first loss of the year late in Game 2 but did record another home run putting him at four on the season. Senior captain Joe Acker also continued his tear at the plate with three hits including a home run. Freshman Max Anderson has slowed down a bit after his historic start with only two hits last weekend, so the Huskers really hope he will heat up again.
The Scarlet Knights have won their last five games, including two against a ranked Michigan team. The Knights are a team that are going to come in and throw the ball hard and play good defense, while also play good situational hitting. The offense has been lead by Redshirt Junior Mike Nyisztor and Richie Schiekofer who are hitting .358 and .302 respectively. Nyisztor is third in the conference in on-base percentage and has only struck out nine times in 84 at bats. Rutgers does have two players with nine home runs however in Ryan Lasko and Chris Brito, who are both tough outs hitting above .280. With 39 homers so far as a team, the power stroke has put the Scarlet Knights at 27th nationally for total dingers.
Pitching for the Scarlet Knights has been the real story. Rutgers weekend probables will be Harry Rutkowski, Ben Wereski, and Brent Teller who is the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of The Week after allowing just two runs in his last two starts. Rutkowskit is ranked second in the Big Ten in innings pitched at 55.2. Wereski has the best WHIP in the conference as well. The bullpen is also very good and is lead by Redshirt Sophomore Nate Mclain who owns a 1.93 ERA in 18 innings this season.
Indiana is a very good baseball team, very good. In fact D1baseball has them ranked at #24 nationally after claiming the top spot in the conference last weekend, a spot previously held by Nebraska. They come off of a good series win against a very talented Iowa team. The Hoosiers have very good pitching and rank second in the nation in hits allowed per game (6.37). The staff is lead by Sophomore Gabe Bierman who throws hard and owns a 2.51 ERA in 46.2 innings with 51 strikeouts. The rotation is rounded out by McCade Brown and Tommy Sommer who own 3.38 and 3.51 ERA’s respectively. As a team they own an impressive 2.93 ERA with a whopping 294 strikeouts.
Offensively Indiana is no slouch either, with 15 players having over 30 At Bats. Junior infielder Cole Barr is the clear leader for this squad and is coming off of a weekend in which he was named the Big Ten Player of The Week. He is hitting .340 with six homers and 22 RBI. Sophomore Grant Anderson is hitting .336 right behind him with four home runs and nine doubles this season. Junior Drew Ashley (3.18) and Freshman Paul Toetz (.307) also are hitting above .300 as well. As a team the Hoosiers are hitting .271 as opposed to Nebraska’s .274 and surprisingly can matchup with Nebraska depth-wise.
Both of these teams are playing very good baseball as of right now and are going to be a tough series against Nebraska. However Nebraska is anything but panicking right now, they are still a very good and confident team capable of hanging with the nation’s best. I expect them to come out here against these good pitching teams and give some quality at bats after last weekends performance. If Nebraska comes out and gets some early leads and the bullpen is able to hold them, there is no reason they shouldn’t come out of this weekend at .500 if not better.
Prediction: Nebraska takes one game a piece and comes out 2-2 on the Weekend.