Nebraska vs Northwestern State/ UT Arlington Series Preview:
Date: March 4th-5th
Time: March 4th (Fri.) @ 11:00 a.m & 3:00 p.m (Sat.) @ 11:00 a.m & 3:00 p.m
Location: Clay Gould Ballpark, Arlington, Texas
Record(s): Nebraska (1-6) Northwestern State (3-5) UT Arlington (2-5)
Head Coach(s): Will Bolt, Bobby Barbier, & Darin Thomas
Radio: Husker Sports Network
The highly touted preseason Big Ten favorite Cornhuskers have so far been the complete opposite. They’re currently riding a four game losing streak, good for a second to last place 1-6 record in the Big Ten. Other Big Ten teams like Purdue (9-0) and Maryland (6-0) are absolutely rolling and the Huskers need to find some life, and fast. Granted, it is still early in the season as Nebraska is yet to even host their home opener, but the last thing the Huskers want to do is dig themselves into an early hole.
Will Bolt has already announced that the Huskers will be shaking things up a bit this weekend as far as their pitching rotation goes. Koty Frank will be rewarded with the game 1 start on Friday after allowing just one run in 8 1⁄3 innings so far out of the bullpen. Kyle Perry will start game 2 with Saturday’s starters announced as TBD. Shay Schanaman and Dawson McCarville have been the starters behind Perry this year, and will most likely get the nod. Braxton Bragg has also received a start this year and we could even see a bullpen arm get some looks such as Mason Ornelas. Nebraska has given up 45 runs through seven games and owns a 6.05 team ERA, a stat that the staff will be looking to cut down quite a bit.
Offensively the Huskers have struggled quite a bit, especially with runners in scoring position. Colby Gomes is leading the team in AVG with .400, followed by freshman Luke Jessen (.368), and captain Griffin Everitt (.333). The next highest batting average on the team is Leighton Banjoff hitting .259. Max Anderson (.250), Cam Chick (.174), Brice Matthews (.158), and Core Jackson (.083) are all underperforming right now and are each players that the Huskers will rely on to be a big part of the offense this season. Each one has shown flashes of the players fans know that they are capable of becoming and are too talented not to turn it around sooner rather than later.
Northwestern State Demons:
March 4th: vs. Northwestern State 11:00am cst
March 5th: vs. Northwestern State 11:00am cst
Northwestern State is not exactly a household name in college baseball, but certainly not a team to be underestimated. The Demons were able to take a game each against Steven F. Austin and Oklahoma earlier this year, but are currently riding a four game losing streak.
Northwestern State’s main strength is their pitching. They have allowed 39 runs as opposed to Nebraska’s 45 and own a 3.91 team ERA. The staff is lead by Junior lefty and Lincoln native, Cal Carver. Carver is a crafty lefty who owns an 0-1 record with a 5.59 ERA that doesn’t speak for itself, with 12 strikeouts in nine innings. Carver does have seven walks however. Sophomore Jonathan Harmon has been extremely efficient for the Demons this year owning a 1.80 ERA in two starts. Out of the bullpen Dawson Flowers is a 6’4 215 lb Sophomore with a power arsenal and a 0.00 ERA in three appearances with five strikeouts.
The offense for Northwestern State has struggled mightily this far. The team has a .227 batting average with a .311 on-base percentage. The Demons have struck out 95 times and have one lone hitter above .300 in Senior outfielder Larson Fontenot. Sophomore outfielder Broch Holmes is close behind with a .290 batting average.
UT Arlington Mavericks:
March 4th: vs. UT Arlington 3:00pm cst
March 5th: vs. UT Arlington 3:00pm cst
The Mavericks come into this series with a 2-5 record after nudging out a 9-7 win against Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a blowout win against Steven F. Austin. They are middle of the road in all facets of the game right now with a team ERA of 5.02 and a team batting average of .304.
The pitching staff is lead by Senior Michael Wong and the 6-4 240 lb righty owns a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings with eight strikeouts and a .171 batting average against. Senior David Moffat is schedule to start game 2 with a .343 batting average against and a 6.00 ERA. The bullpen has been lead by Crowley native Connery Peters, with four appearances so far and a 0.00 ERA to show for it. The Mavs pitching staff owns 56 strikeouts compared to the Huskers 52 in six more innings. This team gives up the long-ball (8 allowed) and Nebraska has the talent to put the ball over the fence.
Offensively, the Mavericks own a .304 batting average which is in the top 50 nationally and surely beats the Huskers batting average of .247. Five UTA hitters own a batting average above .300. Zach Henry is a redshirt freshman outfielder and Rockwell Texas native who leads the team with a .381 AVG. Jaden Brown (.360), Wilson Galvan (.333), Matthew Cavanaugh (.316), and Senior Oscar Ponce (.308) are also hot hitters for the Mavs going into this series. They’ve only hit four home runs but the Cornhuskers have also only managed three. They’ve also out-walked the Huskers 22-15.
The Cornhuskers have shown little life yet this year, outside of Gomes, Everitt, and Frank. Both UT-Arlington and Northwestern State are teams that have outplayed the Huskers on both sides of the ball as well. These are two teams that the Huskers are “supposed” to beat however and Will Bolt’s squad is tired of losing and will be switching up their strategy to go into their home opener against a tough opponent in Long Beach State next weekend with some momentum. The Cornhuskers offense will wake up against the Mavericks shaky pitching and the Husker pitching is more than capable of holding Northwestern State’s mute offense to a minimum, (We like to keep it rather optimistic around here). If the Huskers cannot get out of their own way and the offense is quiet once again, things could get ugly rather quickly.