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Nebraska Baseball Picked Fifth in Preseason Coaches Poll

A year after being picked #1, but finishing 10th, the Huskers climb back up into the Preseason Poll

Preseason Coaches Poll

T’was the night before opening day…

And the Big Ten conference released their preseason coaches poll and each coach provided 3 players for the preseason honors list.

Maryland is expected to repeat as champion. They return a lot of production on the mound and in the batter box. They are the only Big Ten team being ranked in any publication’s preseason polls. Rutgers and Iowa are the logical 2 and 3 placeholders after how they finished last year, combined with their returning players.

After that it gets a little hairier, as most teams have a major flaw or are expecting a lot out of incoming freshmen and transfers. Illinois makes the list above Nebraska, perhaps because they beat Nebraska 2-1 in last season’s series. You may recall the Huskers led the rubber match 4-0 after a Colby Gomes grand slam, and looked like it might be the major step to getting to the B1G Tournament only to allow 5 runs in the final 4 innings. The final 2 happened on errors that all but summed up the Huskers 2022 campaign.

Indiana rounds out the coaches poll, which is always the top 6 teams. They finished 8th last year, but jump Penn State and Purdue, who rarely put together back to back successful campaigns. They also jumped Big Ten Tournament Champion Michigan, who some may be surprised was left off this list. But when you factor in the coaching change, they lost their 4 best hitters, and 3 of their 5 top pitchers, I have them just barely qualifying for the B1G Tournament this year.

Big Ten Preseason Honors List

Each team provides a list of 3 players they expect to be big contributors or up for awards. It will come as no surprise that Nebraska listed INF Max Anderson, INF Brice Matthews, and LHP Emmett Olson.

Olson, a second-team All-Big Ten selection last season, went 3-3 with a 2.86 ERA and a save in 19 appearances, including eight starts in 2022. The Des Plaines, Ill., native totaled 65 strikeouts in 66 innings and limited opposing hitters to a .238 batting average. Olson had five starts with at least six innings and notched seven outings with at least five strikeouts, including a season-high seven strikeouts in two games.

Anderson, a junior infielder, batted .299 with a team-high 12 doubles and 10 home runs last season, while also leading the Huskers with 45 RBI and 47 runs as a sophomore. The Omaha native tallied 18 multi-hit games, including a pair of four-hit games. Anderson went 4-for-5 with a triple, two RBI and two runs at UT Arlington, before having a 4-for-5 day at the plate with two home runs, a double and four RBI in the season finale vs. Michigan State.

Matthews, a junior infielder, appeared in 45 games as a sophomore last season, making 44 starts for the Huskers. The Humble, Texas, native hit .261 at the plate with eight doubles, seven home runs, 29 RBI and 31 runs scored. Matthews recorded 10 multi-hit games and had a team-high 12 stolen bases, while compiling nine multi-RBI games and posting a season-best reached base streak of 22 games.

For the full list of honors, see the Big Ten’s website.