Huskers Start May with Trip to Northwestern

husker baseballLincoln – Without a road win in league play this season, the Nebraska baseball team (31-16, 6-9 Big Ten) will look to break that streak this weekend with a three-game series in Evanston, Ill., against the Northwestern Wildcats (13-29, 4-11 Big Ten). The series kicks off at Rocky Miller Park on Friday afternoon at 3:05 p.m., while both Saturday andSunday’s games are both set for 1:05 p.m. starts.

Nebraska enters the weekend in seventh place in the Big Ten with a 6-9 record, including an 0-6 mark on the road. The Huskers have been swept at Maryland and at Iowa, with three of the games decided by one run. In Nebraska’s nine conference losses this season, four have come by one run and three have been extra-inning defeats.

Nebraska has only made one trip to Rocky Miller Park since joining the Big Ten and it didn’t end well. The Huskers took the series opener in 2012, but then dropped the final two games of the series. The Huskers bounced back with a three-game sweep in Lincoln in 2013, but the Wildcats took their second series from the Huskers in three years last season. Northwestern took the first two games of the series in Lincoln in 2014 before the Huskers avoided the sweep with a 10-9 win in the series finale.

The Wildcats sit 11th in the conference standings with a 4-11 mark, including a 0-3 home mark in the league after they were swept by Ohio State last weekend. Northwestern was scheduled to have played two league series at home already, but due to renovations at Rocky Miller Park, its Big Ten home opener against Illinois in early April was moved to the Illini’s home field in Champaign, Ill. The Wildcats played their first 37 games of the year away from home, as they didn’t play their first home game until April 21. Following a 5-4 win over Chicago State on Wednesday night in 10 innings, the Wildcats are 3-3 at home this season.

While the Huskers are in search of their first Big Ten road series win of the season, the Wildcats are looking for their second conference series win overall this year. After starting the season with a 2-1 series victory at Minnesota, the Wildcats have dropped four straight series to Illinois (0-3), Michigan State (1-2), Iowa (1-2) and Ohio State (0-3).

Four Ex-Huskers Named to NFF Hampshire Honor Society

nebraska_helmetFormer Huskers Ameer Abdullah, Mike Moudy, Mark Pelini and Trevor Roach each earned a spot on the NFF Hampshire Honor Society when the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced the members on Wednesday.

The society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career. A total of 817 players from 278 schools qualified for membership in the society’s ninth year, setting a new record for the number of schools represented in the history of the program, which began in 2007.

Abdullah finished his collegiate career in 2014 by putting together his third consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season and completed his career with 4,588 yards on the ground, second-best in school history. A finalist for the Doak Walker Award, he ran for 1,611 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior en route to second-team All-America honors from several publications.

Moudy started all 13 games on the offensive line and helped the Huskers rank among the top 20 nationally in rushing offense and scoring offense. Pelini also saw action on the offensive line, as he started the first 11 games of the 2014 campaign before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in November.

Roach helped lead the Blackshirt defense with 63 tackles in 2014, which included 32 solo stops. The linebacker started the final six games of the season and played every regular-season game before sitting out the Holiday Bowl with an injury.

Moudy, Pelini and Roach are each three-time Academic All-Big Ten team members.

Roeder Ties Career Saves Mark in Husker Win

husker baseballOmaha – On a night when Josh Roeder notched his 31st career save to tie Brett Jensen for Nebraska’s career saves mark, the Nebraska baseball team (31-16, 6-9 Big Ten) finished a season sweep of the Creighton Bluejays (24-13) with a 7-6 victory on Tuesday night in front of 10,513 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.

With a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, Roeder gave up a triple and a double to start the frame, putting the tying run at second base with no out. The Jays used a sacrifice bunt to put the tying run 90 feet from home, but Roeder kept Reagan Fowler from scoring with a groundout and a swinging strikeout to end the game.

The Husker win was also made possible by an insurance run from Taylor Fish in the top of the ninth. Wes Edrington started the inning with a walk and scored on a RBI groundout from Fish to put the Huskers ahead 7-5 and it ended up being the game-winning run. Nebraska also got a key two-out hit from Jake Schleppenbach in the eighth. With the bases loaded and two out, Schleppenbach lined a two-RBI single into right field to put the Huskers back in front 6-5.

Schleppenbach, Ryan Boldt and Blake Headley combined for nine of NU’s 11 hits on the night, while Schleppenbach and Fish both drove in a pair of runs.

The Huskers led off the game with a single from Boldt, but then didn’t have another base runner until the top of the fourth when Boldt led off the frame with a walk. Headley followed with his 17th double of the season and the Huskers quickly had two runners in scoring position. Miller got the Huskers on the board with a RBI groundout and Fish delivered a RBI single to cut Creighton’s lead to one run, 3-2.

The Jays jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second on three singles and a pair of wild pitches from Husker starter Garett King.

Nebraska even the game at 3-3 in the fifth on a two-out RBI from Boldt. The Huskers were in position for a big inning when Schleppenbach and Luis Alvarado started the frame with singles to put runners on the corners. The Jays caught a break though when Edrington hit into a 5-4-3 double play, leaving a Schleppenbach on third with two out. CU went to Will Bamesberger to face Boldt and the sophomore got in an 0-2 hole before ripping the third pitch of the at-bat into centerfield for a RBI single. Headley then drew a walk to put Boldt in scoring position, but Bamesberger retired Miller 4-3 to end the inning.

The Jays jumped back in front in the sixth with a pair of runs on two hits and two walks. With one run already plated and the bases loaded the Huskers nearly got out of the inning with a double play ball, but NU was unable to turn it and a run scored. Colton Howell then struck out Fowler swinging to end the inning.

Schleppenbach started the seventh with a single, he was quickly at third after stealing second and taking third on a throwing error by the catch on the steal. After Alvarado struck out, Edrington came through with an RBI groundout that cut CU’s lead to 5-4.

After Howell kept the Jays scoreless in the seventh, Headley got the Huskers going with a leadoff single in the eighth and was in scoring position when Miller drew a four-pitch walk. Fish moved both Huskers into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and to setup the double play, the Jays internationally walked Darby to load the bases. CU reliever David Gerber struck out Schreiber for the second out of the inning and needed to retire Schleppenbach to get out of the jam. The Husker second baseman took a strike before roping a two-RBI single that retook the lead for NU, 6-5.

Miller took the mound for NU in the bottom of the eighth and retired the Jays in order, Fish delivered a much needed insurance run in the ninth and Roeder closed the door to record NU’s first 3-0 mark over Creighton in a season since 2008.

Tuesday marked the final non-conference game of the season for the Huskers. Nebraska has nine Big Ten games left, including a three-game series with Northwestern this weekend in Evanston, Ill.

Huskers Finish Season Series with Jays

husker baseballLincoln – After winning the its first two games against the Creighton Bluejays (24-12, 8-3 Big East) this season, the Nebraska baseball team (30-16, 6-9 Big Ten) will go for the season sweep on Tuesday night when the two teams meet at TD Ameritrade Park. The game is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. be shown nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The Huskers have won five straight games over the Jays dating back to the 2013 season, but the Huskers haven’t won gone 3-0 against the Jays in a single season since 2008.

Tuesday will mark the 129th all-time meeting between Nebraska and Creighton dating back to 1902 and Nebraska holds a 77-49-2 record all-time against Creighton.

Creighton is 13-5 at TD Ameritrade this season, with one of the losses coming to the Huskers on April 14. Since loss, the Jays have posted a 4-2 record, with one of the losses coming to St. John’s at home on April 18.

The Huskers are looking to add to their road resume, as they are 6-9 on the road this year after they were swept at then #19 Iowa last weekend. Nebraska is 5-5 in its last 10 games.

Freshman Garett King will make his eighth start of the season on Tuesday night and will face the Bluejays for the third time this season. King has started each of the first two games against Creighton this year. Over 12 appearances King is 4-1 on the year with a 2.64 ERA in 44.1 innings of work with 24 strikeouts to 10 walks.

Creighton is scheduled to start right hander Jack Rogalla, who will be making his four appearance of the season and third start. In 11.1 innings the freshman for Oak Park, Ill., has a 1.59 ERA , he has given up seven hits while striking out seven and walking two.

Tuesday, April 28 (6:05 p.m.)

Probable Starters: RHP King (4-1) vs. RHP Rogalla (1-0)

TV: CBS Sports Network

Audio Stream: Huskers.com | Video Stream: None

Radio: Husker Sports Network

This Week in Nebraska Athletics

Tuesday, April 28      Baseball                      at Creighton                           at Omaha, Neb. (TD Ameritrade) 6:05 p.m.

Tuesday, April 28     Softball                      Drake                                    Bowlin Stadium                       7 p.m.

Friday, May 1            Baseball                      at Northwestern (BTN Plus)     Evanston, Ill.                             3:05 p.m.

Friday, May 1           Softball                      Illinois                                  Bowlin Stadium                       5:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 2       Softball                      Illinois (NET)                         Bowlin Stadium                       1 p.m.

Saturday, May 2        Baseball                      at Northwestern (BTN Plus)     Evanston, Ill.                             1:05 p.m.

Saturday, May 2        Track & Field               at Musco Twilight                   Iowa City, Iowa                          2 p.m.

Sunday, May 3         Softball                      Illinois                                  Bowlin Stadium                       Noon

Sunday, May 3          Baseball                      at Northwestern                      Evanston, Ill.                             1:05 p.m.

Huskers Swept at No. 19 Iowa

husker baseballIowa City, Iowa – The No. 19 Iowa Hawkeyes (30-11, 13-2 Big Ten) finished off a three-game sweep of the Nebraska baseball team (30-16, 6-9 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader sweep. The Hawkeyes walked off the Huskers, 3-2, in the 10th inning of game one and then took game two by a score of 5-1 in front of a sellout crowd of 2,506 at Duane Banks Field.

With nine games left on the Big Ten schedule for the Huskers, they sit in seventh place after Sunday.

The Hawkeyes started Tyler Peyton, who was scheduled to start Friday night’s series opener before it got postponed, and he went 8.1 innings  to improve to 5-3 on the year. The junior right-hander allowed one run on eight hits, while walking none and striking out nine.

Muscatine, Iowa, native Derek Burkamper started for the Huskers, but didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. The sophomore gave up a five runs (four earned) on a career-high 10 hits. The right hander didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. Jake Meyers and Colton Howell combined to throw 3.2 scoreless innings down the stretch, but NU’s offense was unable to crack Peyton.

The Huskers mounted a threat in the top of the ninth, as they had the bases loaded with two outs and Elijah Dilday at the plate as the game-tying run, but Nick Hibbing got a strikeout to finish the win and pick up his fourth save of the season.

The Hawkeyes scored first in the second when they plated a run on three singles. They then pushed their lead to 2-0 in the third with an unearned run. Dan Potempa moved to third base on a passed ball and scored on a RBI groundout by Nick Roscetti.

Iowa picked up at least a run for the third straight inning in the fourth with two runs on one hit. Burkamper hit Eric Schench-Joblinske with one out and Eric Toole made it hurt with a RBI triple. Toole then scored on a RBI ground out from Jake Mangler to push UI’s lead to 4-0. Iowa extended its lead to 5-0 in the fourth with a run on three singles.

Nebraska broke into the scoring column in the sixth, starting with a leadoff single from Ryan Boldt. Peyton came back and retired two straight Huskers and was in position to keep his shutout through six, but Blake Headley delivered his 16th double of the season to drive in Boldt and cut UI’s lead to 5-1.

The Huskers went down in order in the seventh and eighth before threatening in the ninth.

Nebraska will be back in action Tuesday night for their final non-conference game of the season when they travel to TD Ameritrade Park for a 6:05 p.m. game against the Creighton Bluejays.

Hawkeyes Walk-Off Huskers in 10 Innings

husker baseballIowa City, Iowa – With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 10th and the bases loaded with two outs, Jimmy Frankos had a full count against Garett King. The Hawkeye catcher hit a low line drive to left and Christian Cox nearly made a diving catch to send the game to the 11th inning, but the ball bounced out of his glove and the Hawkeyes walked off the Huskers to take the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday at Duane Banks Field.

The Huskers jumped out a 2-0 lead after the top of the third, but then were held scoreless the rest of the game on three hits.

For the sixth straight starter Kyle Kubat was unable to pick up his 20th career win, as he didn’t factor into the decision. Kubat went 7.1 innings for the Huskers, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks.

The Huskers took their first lead of the series in the second when Blake Headley led off the inning and cruised into second base on an by John Barrett in left field. Tanner Lubach then moved Headley to third base with a sacrifice bunt and the moved paid off when Austin Darby followed with a deep sacrifice fly to right field that took Joel Booker to the warning track.

Nebraska extended its lead to 2-0 in the second, with the run again scoring on a sacrifice fly. Ben Miller notched his 33rd RBI of the season with a fly ball to left field that easily scored Wes Edrington from third base, who walked to start the inning.

Kubat kept the Hawkeyes scoreless through the first five innings, but couldn’t hang a zero in the sixth. Facing the top of UI’s lineup, Eric Toole started the frame with a single and then scored on a triple to left center off the bat of Jake Mangler. Following a groundout to Kubat for the first out of the inning that kept Mangler at third, the Hawkeyes had runners on the corners when Kris Goodman walked. Kubat’s defense stepped and turned an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Dan Potempa to keep the Huskers in front, 2-1.

Kubat then sat the Hawkeyes down in order in the seventh, but Kubat was quickly in trouble in the eighth when No. 9 hitter Joel Booker led off the frame with a triple. Four pitches later Eric Toole lifted a sacrifice fly to left field that was deep enough to score the tying run. With one down, the Huskers brought in reliever Jeff Chesnut and Mangler welcomed him with a double. Chesnut got Grant Klenovich to foul out for the second out of the inning, but he then loaded the bases with back-to-back walks. Without nowhere to put Nick Roscetti, Chesnut got the UI shortstop to ground out 6-3 to end the inning, but not before Iowa tied the game, 2-2.

After the Huskers stranded a two-out single in the ninth, the Hawkeyes had a chance to win the game. Chesnut retired the first two batters he faced, but then Booker and Toole delivered singles that put Booker in scoring position at second base. Mangler came through with UI’s third straight single, but on the play Darby threw out Booker at the plate to send the game to extra innings.

Reliever Nick Hibbing sat down the Huskers down in order in the top of the 10th, setting the stage for the Hawkeyes to win the game in extras.

Game two of today’s doubleheader is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Missed Opportunities Cost Huskers in 4-3 Loss

husker baseballIowa City, Iowa – Two-out hitting and three unearned runs were the story in Nebraska’s 4-3 loss to the #17 Iowa Hawkeyes (28-11, 11-2 Big Ten) in Saturday’s series opener. The Huskers, who fell to 30-14 on the year and 6-7 in league play, left 12 runners on base on the afternoon, including the bases loaded twice in the final three innings of the game. The Hawkeyes scored all four of their runs with two outs, including three unearned runs in the first inning following a two-out error.

The Huskers had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh and ninth innings, but neither time came away with w run. Ryan Boldt respesented the tying run at third base in the ninth inning after earlier reaching on his third hit of the game, but was stranded when Luke Vandermaten picked up his third save of the year after getting Austin Darby to ground into a game-ending fielder’s choice.

Senior Chance Sinclair fell to 5-6 on the year, even though he only gave up one earned run on six hits over 6.2 innings. Sinclair retired the first two Hawkeyes he faced in the first and was on his way to a 1-2-3 inning when Kris Goodman hit a routine groundball to Jake Placzek, but the NU shortstop booted the ball to extend the inning. The Hawkeyes took advantage of the error with three unearned runs on three singles and a walk. Jake Schleppenbach also committed an error later in the inning that loaded the bases, but Sinclair got No. 9 hitter Joel Booker to bounce in a 6-3 groundout to end the bleeding.

Nebraska offense was slow out of the gate, as Blake Hickman threw 5.2 no-hit innings to start the game and had allowed just one base runner before Austin Christensen blasted a two-out double in the fifth. Christian Cox then worked a walk and both runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Placzek worked a full count and had a chance to make-up for his first-inning error, but grounded out 5-3 to end the inning.

After being held to one total hit in the second, third and fourth innings combined, Iowa got a leadoff single by Jake Mangler in the fifth. The bases were quickly cleared though when Schleppenbach made a diving stop up the middle and flipped to Placzek for a 4-6-3 double play. Dan Potempa then lined out to end the inning with the Hawkeyes ahead 3-0 through five.

With one hit through the first five innings for the Huskers, Boldt started the sixth with a single to right field. After Hickman retired Schleppenbach for the first out, Ben Miller delivered a home run for the third straight game with a opposite-field shot on a 1-1 offering from Hickman that cut Iowa’s lead to 3-2. Hickman responded with a groundout off the bat of Tanner Lubach before Blake Headley worked a walk to put the tying run on base. Darby then laid down a bunt and reached on a throwing error by Hickman, Lubach moved to third on the play and Darby was awarded second base because of interference by first baseman Taylor Kaufman. The Hawkeyes went to left-handed reliever Ryan Erickson to face Christensen with two runners in scoring position and Erickson won the battle with a groundout to first.

The Huskers had a chance to tie the game in the seventh when Placzek reached on a one-out walk and Boldt followed with a single. Schleppenbach was then retied on a bang-bang play at first for the second out, but NU had two runners in scoring position. The Hawkeyes took a risk and loaded the bases with an international walk to Miller, the move paid off as Erickson got Lubach to ground out to first to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

Iowa pushed its lead to 4-2 in the seventh when they plated another two-out run. Kaufman led off the inning with a single and was on third with two outs with Mangler coming to the plate. The Huskers went to reliever Jeff Chesnut, and he gave up an infield RBI single on a high chopper. Chesnut retired Goodman to end the inning.

Trying 4-2 in the ninth, Placzek led off with a walk and Nebraska had tying runs on base when Boldt reached on a single. Schelppenbach nearly dropped a single into center field, but Eric Toole made a diving catch. Miller then nearly tied the game with a blast to right-center field, but again Iowa’s defense came to the rescue with a diving catch from Joel Booker. Lubach cut Iowa’s lead to 4-3 with a RBI single and then Headley worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases for Darby. Vandermaten delivered a first-pitch strike and then got Darby to ground out to end the game.

Nebraska and Iowa are set to finish their three game series tomorrow with a doubleheader. The first game tomorrow is scheduled for a 12:05 p.m. start and game two will start roughly 45 minutes after the end of game one.

Huskers Sweep Kansas State in Grand Island

Nebraska-Volleyball-HuskersGrand Island, Neb. – In front of a sold-out crowd of 6,006 at the Heartland Events Center, the Nebraska volleyball team put on an impressive display in a 25-13, 25-11, 25-23 sweep against Kansas State on Saturday night.

Playing against a veteran Wildcat squad that reached the NCAA Tournament last season, the Huskers came out blazing and took care of the Wildcats in three sets in NU’s only spring exhibition match of 2015.

Kadie Rolfzen had 12 kills and Alicia Ostrander had 10. Kelsey Fien had nine kills and five blocks, and Amber Rolfzen had four kills and nine blocks. The Huskers outblocked Kansas State 16-4 and outhit them .294 to .036.

Sophomore setter Kelly Hunter filled the stat sheet for the Big Red. Taking over for Mary Pollmiller, Hunter tallied 33 assists, 14 digs, four blocks and two kills.

Kylee Zumach led Kansas State with 11 kills. Grand Island Central Catholic product Katie Brand had 25 assists and six digs in her homecoming.

The Huskers took control of set one with a 5-1 run to go up 8-5. NU pushed its lead to 12-7 by smashing eight kills on its first 15 attacks with no errors. A kill by Kadie Rolfzen and three consecutive Husker blocks put NU up 21-12. Hunter and Cecilia Hall teamed up to end the set with another block, 25-13. NU hit .500 in the first set with 14 kills and just one error. The Huskers had seven blocks in the frame.

In the second set, the Huskers gained momentum about the same time they did in the first set. After falling behind 3-1, the Huskers went on an 8-2 run to take a 9-5 lead after back-to-back kills by Fien. After a Wildcat timeout, Kadie Rolfzen served up an ace and Fien killed again for an 11-5 lead. Another kill by Fien and block with Hall led to a 15-8 Husker advantage. Kills by Hall and Ostrander then made it 17-9. The Huskers continued to blast away and won the set, 25-11. Through two sets, NU totaled 31 kills with just five errors.

In the third set, Olivia Boender’s kill ignited a 5-0 run to put NU up 7-3. After the Wildcats got within 9-6, Boender recorded another kill to start a 3-0 run that gave the Huskers a 12-6 lead. The Huskers went up 17-10 but Kansas State rallied to tie it 18-18. Kadie Rolfzen killed for a 19-18 lead, and an Annika Albrecht ace made it 21-18. Amber Rolfzen pasted a kill for a 22-18 lead, and Kadie followed to make it 23-18. Kansas State made it interesting by pulling within 24-23, but the match ended when Kansas State served long.