Bakersfield, Calif. – After going 6-2 during an eight-game homestand, the Nebraska baseball team (9-8, 0-0 Big Ten) heads to California for the week while classes are out on campus at UNL for Spring Break.
The trip starts with a visit to CSU Bakersfield (10-5, 0-0 WAC), where the Huskers and Roadrunners will play one game on Tuesday, March 21, at 8 p.m. (CT). Nebraska’s last and only previous trip to Bakersfield was for the 2013 season opener, and the Roadrunners won, 9-4. The Roadrunners hold a 4-2 lead in the all-time series, with the first five meetings taking place in Lincoln, where the Roadrunners hold a 3-2 lead.
From Bakersfield the Huskers will head 130 miles west to San Luis Obispo, where they will play four games in three days against the Cal Poly Mustangs. The series opens on Thursday at 8 p.m. (CT) and continues on Friday at 8 p.m. (CT). The teams finish up their series on Saturday with a doubleheader that is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (CT).
The Huskers enter the week with a perfect 6-0 all-time record against the Mustangs, but Thursday will mark the first meeting between the two teams on the Mustangs’ home field. The series started in 1998 with a 7-3 Husker win in Hawaii, while the next five meetings took place in Lincoln. Most recently, the Huskers took a pair of games from the Mustangs in 2003 at Hawks Field.
How to Listen/Watch the Huskers
Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe, Ben McLaughlin and Nick Handley call all the action this season on the Husker Sports Network. Every game this season can be heard on Huskers.com and the Official Nebraska Huskers App for both iOS and android devices.
All five games this week will be carried on 1400 AM in Lincoln and 590 AM in Omaha. Fans can also listen to all five games on TuneIn.com or the TuneIn App on the Husker IMG Sports Network channel.
Tuesday’s game at Bakersfield will be streamed live for free on the WAC Digital Network.
Nebraska’s four-game series at Cal Poly will be video streamed live for free on the BigWest.TV.
Lean on the Lefty
The past three Sundays junior Jake Meyers has been dominant against opposing hitters, as the lefty has not allowed a run in each of his last three starts. Including a complete-game shutout of Western Carolina on March 12, in Meyers last three starts he has thrown 20.0 shutout innings.
If you go back on the end of his start against Oregon State on Feb. 25, Meyers has gone 21.2 straight innings without allowing a run.
This past weekend Meyers earned the win in NU’s sweep-clinching win over the College of Charleston, as he tossed 6.0 shutout innings. The previous week he tossed a complete-game shutout against Western Carolina, which backed up 5.0 shutout innings against previously unbeaten Arizona at the Frisco College Baseball Classic, where the Huskers handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season with a 1-0 victory.
Freshman Mojo Hagge made his Husker debut in the second game of the season against UC Riverside and went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Hagge has played in each of Nebraska’s last 16 games, including 15 starts.
The Omaha Skutt Catholic product enters Tuesday with a team-high 16-game on-base streak, while ranking second on the team in average (.339) and hits (20). NU’s leadoff hitter in each of the last 12 games, Hagge has also show the ability to drive in runs, as he ranks third on the team with eight RBIs.
The 5-7 left-handed hitting outfielder also carries a .452 on-base percentage with a team-best 12 walks.
Get a Lead for the Pen
During Darin Erstad’s tenure at Nebraska, the Husker bullpen has done its job when it has a lead. Prior to ninth-inning walk-off loss last season at Rutgers on Friday, April 29, the Huskers had won 73 straight games when leading after the eighth inning. Since the loss at Rutgers, the Huskers have won 20 straight games when leading after eight innings.
Led by pitching coach Ted Silva, the Huskers are 146-17 since the start of the 2012 season when they lead after the sixth inning. The Huskers are 152-9 when leading after seven innings and are nearly perfect when leading after eight innings with a 162-5 record.
How High Can He Climb
Ben Miller was taken in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but turned down professional baseball to instead return to Nebraska for his senior season. The Clive, Iowa, native now has a chance to cement his name near the top of Nebraska’s all-time hits list.
Miller enters Tuesday with 183 hits, putting him 17 hits shy of becoming the 25th member of Nebraska’s 200-hit club. Over the past two seasons Miller has averaged 68.5 hits and with that average he would end his career just outside of NU’s all-time top 10.
If Miller can match his 77 hits from last season, he would tie Michael Pritchard for fifth all-time at Nebraska with 251 hits.
The Huskers have had at least one player join the 200 hit club in each of the past four seasons, including 2016 second-round pick Ryan Boldt last year.
After making a pair of starts last season as a true freshman, Angelo Altavilla has become a key contributor in 2017. The sophomore infielder leads the teams with a .354 average, ranks second on the team in RBIs with 13 and is tied with Scott Schreiber for second on the team in doubles with five.
Altavilla has started 15 of NU’s 17 games, and has shown versatility in the field with eight starts at shortstop, five at third base and two at second base.
Nebraska has totaled 10 or more hits seven times in 17 games entering Tuesday. Nebraska is 6-1 on the year when notching double-digit hits, the only loss came in a 7-5 defeat to Utah on Feb. 24.
Last season the Huskers totaled 10 or more hits 27 times in 59 games and were 21-6 in those games.
Leave it to Luensmann
Chad Luensmann had a tough task last season as a true freshman, he had to replace career saves holder Josh Roeder as NU’s closer. Luensmann went on to save 13 games in 14 chances, a NU freshman record, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Husker baseball player to win the award.
Luensmann’s 13 saves tied Brett Jensen (2006) for third place in NU’s single-season record book and Luensmann ranked fourth nationally in saves. Among freshmen, Luensmann tied Long Beach State’s Chris Rivera for the most saves in the country.
Luensmann has three saves this season, including his 15th career save on Sunday, March 5, when the Huskers shut out previously unbeaten Arizona, 1-0. Against the Wildcats Luensmann matched a career high with 4.0 innings on the mound and struck out a career-high four batters.
Luensmann enters Tuesday ranked fourth all-time at Nebraska in career saves and needs one save to move into a tie with Thom Ott for third place on the career list.