From the College World series to today, Nebraska fans have had something other than football to buzz about. This season promises to be another exciting one and I for one can't wait. Our very own Scott "huskerkid" Kuhn will take his passion for the game and follow the Huskers this year as NU makes another run for the College World Series.
All in all, not a bad week of baseball for Van Horn's Boys. The 1 win 2 loss effort this weekend bears little resemblance to the early season troubles of past seasons. NU had a real tough time last year in this very same tournament getting roughed up by highly regarded teams in Rice and Georgia Tech.
Right of the bat, the northern teams are at a severe disadvantage as we all know. The unusually warm winter has given NU some valueable time outside and in the fresh air, still there is no question that the warm weather climate teams still have a big leg up in the early season battles.
New Mexico had 11 games under their belts, Rice 5 games, and Wake Forest 3 games when the Huskers faced each. Some people say that hitting is the toughest skill in sports to master, not seeing real live pitching for months makes it that much harder....There is one thing that really stands out about this first weekend of games, Van Horn ball is alive and well! . That scrappy, clawing, never say die attitude is coming back for this season.
Losing leaders like Dan Johnson, John Cole, Adam Stern, and Thom Ott is always tough on a young and inexperienced team. As we saw this weekend, new leaders are stepping up and not letting this team get away from it's mission of bringing home another ring.
Coming back from big deficits to have a chance to 'steal' games is what college baseball is all about. NU and Van Horn have been masters of staying within striking distance in games and finding a way to manufacture a run in crunch time.
Against two teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation, the Huskers never did pack it in when they went down big early on. Van Horn and his 'small ball' philosophy will keep you in just about every game, chipping away a lead one inning at a time. Losing is never acceptable, but I would say that Coach Van Horn is not at all discouraged by the early season play this wee! kend, and may even be more encouraged by what he saw.
With shakey performances from Jason Burch and Dustin Timm, the 2nd and 3rd 'weekend' starting rotation spots are still wide open. This definitely does not mean that Burch and Timm are out of the running by any means. Both players had very good fall camps on the hill, and one early season outing does not define a player. One thing is for sure though, Phil Shirek, Steve Hale and Jamie Rodrigue should all get a chance to audition for the starting rotation spots after impressive performances by each this weekend.
Husker Connection Player/Pitcher of the week:
PLAYER- Jed Morris Jr. C/DH
This week's stats: BA: .357 (5 for 14)
PITCHER- Steve Hale Jr. R/R
This week's stats: IP: 5.1
OPP B/A: .238