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Nebraska Baseball Preview: BYU

BYU comes to Lincoln to take on the up and down Cornhuskers this weekend.

Jon Johnston

Nebraska vs BYU Preview:

Date: April 14th-16th

Time: April 14th (Thur.) @ 6:35 p.m April 15th (Fri.) @ 2:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. April 16th (Sat.) @ 11:05 p.m

Location: Hawks Field at Haymarket Park, Lincoln, Nebraska

Record(s): Nebraska (12-18) Rutgers (17-12)

Head Coach(s): Will Bolt, Trent Pratt

Stream: Big Ten+

Radio: Husker Radio Network

The weather got in the way of Tuesday’s matchup versus Creighton for Nebraska. After a one day turnaround from an extremely frustrating and painful series against Rutgers, this may have been a rare lucky break for the Huskers to catch their breath a bit. Even more so with this weekends series starting on Thursday evening because of Easter Sunday. Hopefully, the Cornhuskers can give their fans something to celebrate with their Sunday off.

*Roster note: True Freshman Jaxon Jelkin is no longer with the team and appears to moving on from the program. The Nebraska native had a 2.31 ERA in 11 23 innings. The Huskers pitching is already noticeably thin with the absence of Kyle Perry and Jake Bunz (injuries) and will now be without one of their best Freshman arms.

BYU Cougars:

April 14th: vs BYU 6:35pm cst

April 15th: vs BYU 2:00pm and 5:30 pm cst

April 16th: vs BYU 11:05pm cst

BYU has had a crazy last 48 hours to say the least. Longtime coach Mike Littlewood announced on Monday that he would be stepping away from the program for “personal reasons”. Whenever a head coach leaves a program in the middle of the season, it is certainly a huge shakeup to any team and BYU could very well fall victim to this same culture shock. Assistant coach Trent Pratt will take over and be making his head coaching debut this weekend against Nebraska.

BYU is led offensively by reigning WCC Freshman of The Week Ozzie Pratt. The Freshman Infielder hasn’t quite racked up the at bats as some of his teammates, but there’s no denying he is one of the hottest hitters on the team coming off of a weekend where he went 10-16 with a double and a triple. Right behind him are Brock Watkins and Mitch Mcintyre hitting .324 and .303 respectively. Mcintyre leads the team with six steals in six attempts. The biggest power bat for the Cougars so far has been Jacob Wilk with five home runs so far. As a team they are hitting .267 compared to the Huskers hitting .243. They are also out-homering Nebraska 27-19.

The pitching for BYU has actually been relatively solid as a unit so far this season. Strength of schedule aside, the Cougars are holding opponents to a .247 batting average, good enough for a 3.38 team ERA. Starting pitching has been very dependable so far and the top arm for them has been Jack Sterner. The 6’5 Sophomore has a 2.25 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 44 innings and owns a 3.1 record. Bryce Robison has 12 appearances this far and three of which are starts. Robinson has a 2.48 ERA and a 5-0 record and is one of the most frequently called on arms for BYU. Nate Dahle and Ryan Brady have also received a small chunk of starts and have been effective. Jansen Keisel is tied for the team lead in starts and has been slightly less effective than the rest of the group yet has been overall dependable with a 4.73 ERA and 2-2 record. Reid Mclaughlin and Cy Nielson are tied for the team high in appearances and own a .306 b/avg and .232 b/avg respectively.

Verdict:

BYU isn’t a bad baseball team. Their pitching has been a pretty dependable group so far this season and the offense has been very middle of the road. They have, however, struggled against some poor teams this year and have been pretty inconsistent this year, blowing out #19 Gonzaga 11-2 and losing 5-7 to Dixie State a week later are just one example.

Nebraska has to be tired of the inconsistencies but their pitching depth continues to diminish while Will Bolt tries to find at least a couple arms that consistently go out and throw quality innings. It seems like there is at least one blow out game every weekend for the Huskers this season. If Nebraska can go out and pitch well this weekend, they should have an excellent shot at this one.