Huskers Look for Big 12 Title Sweep in OKC

The Huskers head into the Big XII title looking for a conference sweep.

Complete Notes in PDF Format:

Record (46-12, 19-8 Big 12) • May 16 Natl. Rankings: 5 (CB) • 7 (BA) • 7 (Sports Weekly) • 6 (NCBWA)
Day     Date    Opponent (Record)       Location        Time

Wed.    May 25  vs. Texas Tech (33-23, 9-16 Big 12)     SBC Bricktown Ballpark  8 p.m.

        If Nebaska Wins on Wednesday   
Thurs.  May 26  Missouri/Oklahoma Winner        SBC Bricktown Ballpark  8 p.m.
        If Nebaska Loses on Wednesday  
Thurs.  May 26  Missouri/Oklahoma Loser SBC Bricktown Ballpark  1 p.m.

Husker Pitching Probables
Game 1  Brian Duensing, Jr., LHP (6-0, 2.92 ERA)       

Game 2  Joba Chamberlain, So., RHP (7-2, 2.46 ERA)     
Game 3  Johnny Dorn, Fr., RHP (9-1, 1.96 ERA)  
Game 4   Zach Kroenke, Jr., LHP (6-2, 2.84 ERA)

Media Information
Radio: Pinnacle Sports Network (Jim Rose & Randy Lee)   Live Stats: &
TV:  Saturday's first semifinals (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and Sunday's title game (1 p.m.) will be carried on Fox Sports Net

Hotel Information
Hotel:   The Sheraton • One North Broadway • Oklahoma City, OK  73102
Phone:  (405) 235-2780  Fax:  (405) 232-8752 (FAX)

Baseball SID Shamus McKnight (402-540-0268, cell phone) and SID Student Assistant David Graff will be on hand in Oklahoma City to handle interviews with Nebraska coaches and student-athletes 

Mon.:   Depart Lincoln via charter bus at 10:30 a.m. from Haymarket Park
Tues:   Practice - SBC Bricktown Ballpark (9-9:50 a.m.);  
        Press Conf. -  11 a.m. at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant, across the street from the SBC Bricktown Ballpark

Huskers Look for Big 12 Title Sweep in OKC

The Big 12 co-champion Nebraska baseball team travels to Oklahoma City this week looking for its fourth Big 12 Tournament title in seven years, as the Huskers (46-12, 19-8 Big 12) participate in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament. The eight-team, five-day extravaganza begins Wednesday, May 25, at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark with four opening-round games and runs until Sunday, May 29, with the championship game.

All of Nebraska's Big 12 Tournament games will be carried on the Pinnacle Sports Network, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington with audio also available on Live stats for the tournament will be posted on and, though video streaming will not be available. Fox Sports Net will provide live broadcasts of both of Saturday's first semifinals (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and the title game.

The Huskers come into the tournament with momentum, winning each of their last six Big 12 series including a sweep of Kansas State over the weekend. The series sweep, coupled with Missouri's series win over Big 12 co-champion Baylor, gave both teams identical 19-8 records in the Big 12. NU trailed Baylor by two games with only two remaining before pulling even with the Bears, who lost two-of-three meetings to the Huskers during the regular season. It is Nebraska's third Big 12 title in five years (also 2001 and 2003) and sixth conference championship in school history (also 1929, 1948 and 1950).

As the No. 1 seed, Nebraska, which owns a five-game winning streak - its longest since March -  will open the tournament on Wednesday at 8 p.m. taking on Texas Tech, the No. 8 seed. The Huskers won two of three meetings between the teams two weeks ago in Lubbock. Missouri and Oklahoma, the No. 4 and 5 seeds, respectively, are the other two teams in NU's bracket.

Nebraska has traditionally enjoyed the confines of the SBC Bricktown Ballpark, one of the influences for the Huskers' own ballpark - Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. NU has won 15 of 18 games played at the Bricktown Ballpark, including 15 of its first 16 games.

Leading Off

•-With the 2005 regular-season co-championship, Nebraska becomes the only Big 12 school to win three regular-season titles. The Huskers won outright Big 12 crowns in 2001 and 2003. The only other Big 12 schools to win multiple conference regular-season crowns are Texas A&M (1998-99), Baylor (2000 and 2005) and Texas (2002 and 2004).

•-The Huskers have now won six league titles in school history (1929, 1948, 1950, 2001, 2003 and 2005), while Mike Anderson and Tony Sharpe are the only coaches in school history to lead NU to more than one regular-season title.

•-Nebraska's Big 12 baseball title marks the seventh conference crown by a Husker team this season. NU won Big 12 titles in volleyball, women's gymnastics, men's and women's indoor track and field and women's outdoor track and field, while the Husker rifle team also won the Great America Rifle Conference title.

•-Nebraska's 46 wins entering the Big 12 Tournament already ranks eighth on NU's single-season win chart. The 46 regular-season wins is also the third-highest total in school history and the most by a Husker team since 1988. Five of Nebaska's top-eight win totals in school history have come since 2000.

Husker 40-Win Seasons

No.     Year    Wins    Reg. Season wins        Final Record

1.      2000    51      42      51-17

2.      2001    50      41      50-16

3.      1979    49      46      49-15

        1980    49      45      49-14

5.      1988    48      48      48-23

6.      2002    47      39      47-21

        2003    47      42      47-18

8.      2005    46      46      46-12

        1984    46      45      46-20

Note: Underlined years are 45 regular-season wins or more

•-The Huskers' pitching has been a strength throughout the 2005 season, as Nebraska leads the Big 12 and ranks second nationally in ERA.

National ERA Team Leaders (as of May 22)

No.     Team    Team ERA

1.      Long Beach State        2.42
2.      Nebraska        2.48
3.      Texas   2.68
4.      Missouri        2.82

•-Nebraska has held 47 of its 58 opponents to four runs or less and its 2.48 ERA is on pace to break the school record of 2.64 set in 1965. Since the aluminum bat was introduced into college baseball in 1974, NU has never posted an ERA below 3.00. The Huskers could also break the Big 12 record for lowest ERA in a season, which is 2.66 by Texas in 2004.

Single-Season Team ERA Totals

No.     Team ERA        Year

--      2.48    2005

1.      2.64    1965

2.      2.69    1969

3.      2.73    1966

4.      3.07    1984

        3.07    1961

•-The Huskers are 28-4 at Hawks Field this season and 105-23 (.820) since the ballpark opened in 2002.

•-The Huskers' No. 3 ranking earlier this month was its highest in any national poll since the 2001 season - a year the Huskers were ranked first for two weeks in Baseball America.

•-At 46-12, the Huskers are enjoying one of their best years in the program's 100-plus year history. Here are NU's records at the 58-game mark for the last six years.

1999-2005 Records

Game    1999    2000    2001    2002    2003    2004    2005
58      41-17   43-15   44-14   41-17   44-14   36-22   46-12
59      42-17   44-15   45-14   42-17   44-15   36-23
60      42-18   45-15   46-14   42-18   44-16   --
61      --      46-15   47-14   43-18   45-16   --
62      --      47-15   48-14   44-18   45-17   --

•-The Huskers have gotten off to quick starts, scoring at least one run in the first inning in 29 of 58 games and outscoring their opponents 45-13 in the first inning of games this season.

•-NU has 17 come-from-behind wins this season, including overcoming a four-run deficit against No. 17 Missouri on May 8.

•- Eight of Nebraska's 12 losses this season have been by one run, as the Huskers are 8-8 in one-run games this year.

•-Nebraska's starting pitchers are a combined 31-4 this season and had won their first 19 decisions before Zach Kroenke's loss to No. 1 Texas on April 9.

•-NU has scored at least one run in 445 of the last 446 games dating back to the 1998 season. In 2004, the Huskers were the only Big 12 team not shut out, and NU currently has a string of 117 games with at least one run. 

•-After having just one multi-homer game in 2004, Nebraska has eight this season, including four by first baseman/catcher Curtis Ledbetter and two by All-American third baseman Alex Gordon.

•-Last month, Nebraska Head Coach Mike Anderson coached his 150th game at NU, becoming only the fourth Husker coach to reach that mark.

Husker Coaches at 150-Game Mark

Coach   150-Game Record Pct.

John Sanders    108-42  .720

Mike Anderson   106-44  .707

Dave Van Horn   100-50  .667

Tony Sharpe     92-56-2         .620

NU Puts Together Memorable 2005 Season

From being ranked 50th in one preseason magazine, Nebraska has enjoyed a steady climb to consensus top-10 ranking in the national polls. The following is a list of highlights of the 2005 regular season.

• Feb. 17 - Nebraska overcomes an early 3-0 deficit in the season opener at Hawaii-Hilo - the first of its 17  come-from-behind wins in 2005

• Feb. 25 - Joba Chamberlain strikes out 15 New Mexico Lobos in a 12-0 victory to earn national player-of-the-week honors

• Feb. 27 - Alex Gordon's eighth-inning three-run homer breaks a 3-all tie, as Nebraska defeated Rice for the first time ever at Reckling Park and the first time since the 2001 season

• March 12 - Gordon goes 6-for-6 in a doubleheader against South Dakota State, breaking out of an early-season slump where he hit .270 in his first 10 games.

• March 13 - NU hits a school and Big 12 record five homers in the fourth inning in a victory over SDSU.

• March 29 - Johnny Dorn takes a no-hitter into the eighth inning, highlighting a 10-2 victory over in-state rival Creighton.

• April 8 - Andy Gerch scores on Randy Boone's wild pitch in the bottom of the 16th, as NU topples No. 1 Texas, 4-3, in front of a selllout crowd of 8,485 and an ESPN2 national audience.

• April 16 - Johnny Dorn fires 4.1 innings of shutout relief, capping NU's 6-4 win over Texas A&M, completing the Huskers' first-ever series win over Texas A&M in College Station.

• April 23 - Back-to-back homers by Alex Gordon and Curtis Ledbetter propel NU to a 4-3 win over No. 8 Baylor, completing a series win over the Big 12 leaders.

• April 27 - Nebraska's bullpen combines for 5.1 innings of no-hit relief to preserve a 4-2 win over Wichita State, snapping NU's eight-game losing streak in Wichita dating back to 1986.

• May 8 - Jesse Boyer's 11th inning walk-off homer gives NU a hard-fought series win over Missouri. The homer was Boyer's first homer in 276 career at-bats.

• May 9 - Nebraska is ranked third by Collegiate Baseball, its highest national ranking in any poll since the 2001 season.

• May 10 - A crowd of 20,011 - the largest single-game total in college baseball this season - is on hand to watch the rubber match of the season series between Nebraska and Creighton at Rosenblatt Stadium.

• May 20 - Nebraska's 5-4 win, coupled with losses by Missouri and Texas guarantees that Nebraska will finish either first or second in the league for the fifth time in six seasons.

• May 21 - Joe Simokaitis becomes the Big 12's all-time assist leader, passing Will Bolt's school mark of 639 assists.

• May 22 - Zach Kroenke's complete-game 3-1 win, coupled with Missouri's win over Baylor, gives NU a share of its third Big 12 title in five seasons.

The Class of 2005

NU's eight seniors have enjoyed one of the most successful runs in school history. The group has helped NU to a 226-90 record (.715) over the past five seasons with two CWS appearances (2001-02), three Big 12 regular-season titles (2001, 2003 and 2005) and three NCAA regional appearances (2001-03). Members of the Huskers' 2005 class include Jeremy Becker, Jesse Boyer, Daniel Bruce, Brandon Fusilier, Curtis Ledbetter, Phil Shirek, Joe Simokaitis  and Dustin Timm.

Road Warriors

One of the main reasons for the Huskers' success in 2005 has been their play on the road. The Huskers were 15-5 during the regular season after going 34-31 on the road during the previous three seasons. According to Warren Nolan's RPI site (, Nebraska's road record ranks among the nation's best entering the postseason.

Best Road Records
No.     School  Road Record
1.      Oregon State    15-4
2.      Tulane          16-5
3.      Nebraska        15-5*
4.      College Of Charleston   17-6
*-Records as of 5/22; NU's road record is listed as 15-4 on the site, but NU's loss to Creighton at Rosenblatt Stadium on April 5 is considered a road contest.

Road Records from 1999 to 2005
Year    Road Record
1999    10-7
2000    16-11
2001    18-8
2002    12-12
2003    12-8
2004    10-11
2005    15-5

Huskers Show Consistency in Big 12 Race

Nebraska has been the Big 12's most consistent program since the start of the 2000 season. The Huskers have finished either first or second in the Big 12 in five of the last six seasons, winning outright conference crowns in both 2001 and 2003. Here is a list of top-two finishes by league schools over the last six years.

Top-Two Big 12 Finishes (2000-05)
School  No.     Years
Nebraska        5       2000-03, 2005
Texas   3       2002-04
Baylor  2       2000, 2005
Texas Tech      2       2001-02
Oklahoma        1       2004
Texas A&M       1       2003

Its all about Winning...Series

After going 2-7 in Big 12 series last spring, the Huskers have enjoyed a 180 degree turnaround in 2005. Nebraska went 8-1 in its nine series, matching the best performance since the Big 12 was formed in 2005 (also in 2003). In fact, the only series NU dropped in 2005 was to No. 1 Texas in early April, and the Huskers then reeled off six straight series wins to close the regular season.

Big 12 Series Records
No.     Year    Weekend Series Marks
1       Nebraska        8-1
2.      Texas   7-2
3.      Baylor  6-3
        Missouri        6-3
5.      Oklahoma        5-4

It's More Common than Halley's Comet

When Nebraska clinched its series win at Texas Tech on May 14, it ended one of the longest dry spells in program history. It marked the first time that NU won every conference road series in Big 12 play and more remarkably, the first time that Nebraska won every league road series since 1938, a span of 67 years. For comparison's sake, Halley's comet, which last appeared in 1986, appears once every 76 years and is next scheduled to appear in 2061.

What to Watch For

•-With 11 saves, Brett Jensen is one save away from taking sole possession of NU's single-season saves mark. Jensen is tied with Thom Ott (11, 2001) for the single-season mark.

•-Johnny Dorn heads into the Big 12 Tournament with nine wins, which not only ties NU's freshman record (9 by Jamie Rodrigue in 2000), but is one shy of a school mark for most wins by a first-year Husker (10 Quinton Robertson, 2003). Dorn has won his last nine decisions and is tied for second in the Big 12 in wins.

•-Alex Gordon and Daniel Bruce both enter the Big 12 Tournament with 50 career doubles, tying for third on NU's career list. Gordon is also one homer away from moving into fourth place on NU's career homer list.

•-Joba Chamberlain has 106 strikeouts this season and is nine away from moving into fourth place on NU's single-season strikeout list.

•-NU's bullpen has been superb in 2005, posting a 15-8 record with a 1.91 ERA in 198.1 innings of work. NU has 15 saves, tying for second in the league. The Huskers had a streak of 37.2 innings without allowing an earned run from April 23 until May 10, and has not allowed an earned run in NU's last five games.

Charting the Husker Bullpen (2000-present)
Year    ERA     W-L     IP      H       R       ER      BB      SO      B/Avg
2005    1.91    15-8    198.1   149     56      42      64      168     .209
2004    3.70    11-11   201.2   206     97      83      63      161     .269
2003    3.94    14-7    205.1   207     117     90      73      180     .266
2002    4.26    12-13   228.0   232     129     108     69      172     .263
2001    3.21    20-8    232.2   223     122     83      99      189     .250
2000*   3.34    18-7    218.1   204     99      81      71      164     .247
*-Nebraska's pitching staff led nation with 3.14 ERA

•-While Joe Simokaitis holds the school and Big 12 record for assists (646 entering Wednesday), he stands in fifth place on NU's single-season assist list with 175, 21 shy of his own single-season mark of 194 set in 2003.

Last Time Out

Nebraska extended its winning streak over Kansas State to 10 games, sweeping the Wildcats on the final weekend of the season. The sweep, coupled with Missouri's series win over Baylor, forced a tie between the Huskers and Bears in the Big 12 standings.

Nebraska 5, Kansas State 4: Jeff Christy's sixth-inning sacrifice fly broke a four-all deadlock, lifting No. 5 Nebraska to a 5-4 victory over Kansas State. Trailing 4-3, Nebraska rallied against KSU starter Chase Mitchell, scoring a pair of unearned runs on a Trey Adams RBI single before Christy's RBI broke the tie. Adams paced the Huskers, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, while Brandon Fusilier had two hits and scored twice. Joba Chamberlain earned the victory, allowing four runs on six hits over six frames, while three relievers combined for three innings of one-hit relief.

Nebraska 10, Kansas State 2: Freshman Johnny Dorn earned his ninth win of the season, allowing four runs on six hits over 6.2 innings to improve to 9-1 on the season. The right-hander has won his last nine decisions and matched Jamie Rodrigue's record for wins by a Husker freshmen set in 2000.  Brett Jensen, who came in the eighth with NU holding a 7-6 lead and the tying runner at first, got out of the frame unscathed and allowed one hit in a scoreless 1.1 innings for his 11th save.

Nebraska 3, Kansas State 1: Zach Kroenke tossed a complete-game three-hitter, lifting the Huskers to a 3-1 victory in the series finale. The left-hander was dominant, fanning eight Wildcats and retiring 17 in row at one point before KSU broke up the shutout in the eighth. Alex Gordon went 2-for-4 while Brandon Buckman, Daniel Bruce and Curtis Ledbetter all had RBIs in the win.

Five Huskers Named Academic All-Big 12

Five University of Nebraska baseball players were honored on Monday, as they were selected to the academic All-Big 12 team.

The group, which includes four first-team honorees, is led by outfielder Daniel Bruce, who makes his third appearance as a first-team academic All-Big 12 selection. Bruce, who carries a 3.86 GPA in English, is one of four repeat selections for the Huskers. Relievers Jeremy Becker (agricultural engineering) and Dustin Timm (communication studies) both repeated as first-team honorees, while Phil Shirek (biological sciences) was a second-team selection for the second straight year. Junior Brian Duensing (English education) rounds out Husker honorees as he makes his first appearance on the squad.

The Huskers have had 21 academic All-Big 12 selections in three years under Coach Mike Anderson, including 15 first-team selections.

Name    Yr.     Major
Jeremy Becker   Sr.     Agricultural Engineering
Daniel Bruce    Sr.     English
Brian Duensing  Jr.     English Education
Dustin Timm     Sr.     Communication Studies

Second Team
Name    Yr.     Major
Phil Shirek     Sr.     Biological Sciences

Gordon Makes Bid for College Baseball's Best

Alex Gordon has lived up to the expectations of being considered the top player in college baseball entering the 2005 season.

The junior third baseman from Lincoln enters the conference tournament leading the league in five of the 12 categories the Big 12 tracks, including batting average (.396), walks, slugging and on-base percentage.  A strong candidate for every national player-of-the-year award, Gordon is expected to be one of the first picks in next month's Major League Baseball Draft. Gordon started the season hitting just .270 in Nebraska's first 10 games, but has been hitting at a .424 clip with 14 homers and 46 RBIs over his last 47 games, raising his average to a Big 12-best .396.  His biggest hit of 2005 so far was a three-run eighth-inning homer to break a 3-all tie against No. 7 Rice on Feb. 27, NU's first win over the Owls since the 2001 NCAA Super Regional.

Gordon's 2005 Honors

• Baseball America National Midseason

        Player of the Year

• USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List

• Howser Award Semifinalist

• Wallace Award Watch List

• Collegiate Baseball Natl. Player of the Week (3/21)

• NCBWA Natl. Player of the Week (3/21)

• Big 12 Player of the Week (3/21 & 3/28)

• Collegiate Baseball Preseason Natl. Player of the Year

• First-Team preseason All-American (Collegiate

        Baseball, NCBWA and Baseball America)

•  Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year (Collegiate

        Baseball and Baseball America)

• Baseball America's Top Junior in the Country

• Baseball America's No. 1 College Prospect for the

        2005 MLB Draft

Gordon in the Big 12 (stats as of May 22)
Category        No.     Big 12 Rank
Batting Avg.    .396    1st
Walks   55      1st
On-Base Pct.    .548    1st
Slugging Pct.   .748    1st
Doubles 18      1st
Total Bases     151     2nd
Hits    80      2nd
Runs    63      2nd
Homers  16      3rd
Stolen Bases    23      7th
RBIs    53      6th

A career .359 hitter, Gordon already ranks in the top-10 on Husker career lists in seven categories: doubles (50, third), total bases (417, fifth), homers (41, fifth), RBIs (176, sixth), walks (131, eighth), hits (226, 9th) and hit-by-pitches (34, second). Here is how Gordon's career stats compare to Darin Erstad, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1995 MLB draft.

Comparing Gordon to Erstad
Year    G       AVG     AB      R       H       2B      3B      HR      RBI     SLG
Erstad  175     .356    733     188     261     46      8       41      182     .608

Gordon  179     .359    629     172     226     50      9       41      176     .663

Gordon will look to become the fifth first-round pick in school history and the first since Darin Erstad and Alvie Shepherd in 1995. The following is a list of the previous first-round Husker draft picks.

Previous First-Round Husker Picks
Player  No.     Team    Year
Steve Stanicek  11      San Francisco   1982
Bill McGuire    27      Seattle 1985
Darin Erstad    1       LA Angels of Anaheim    1995
Alvie Shepherd  21      Baltimore       1995

Random Bits of Gordon Trivia

• He has made 158 consecutive starts at third base dating back to the 2003 season

• He has been in the field for  717.2 of 718.2 innings (99.9 percent) in Big 12 games during his career. The only time he has been on the bench in conference play came on April 5, 2003, against Kansas when he sat the final inning of a 13-0 win.

• Was the 2005 Husker Power Lifter of the Year Award for his accomplishments in the weight room. The following is his freshman and most recent numbers during performance testing.

Gordon's Weightroom Improvement
Category        Freshman Yr.    Junior Yr.
Weight  196 pounds      216 pounds
Vertical Leap   30.5 inches     37.0 inches
Agility Run     4.72 second     4.29 seconds*
*-school record

Husker Pitchers Earn Passing Grade

Despite having five pitchers drafted in 2004 - the highest total of Husker pitchers taken in the draft in more than 20 years - Nebraska's pitching staff has excelled during the 2005 season.

Nebraska pitchers currently...

• Lead the Big 12 and are second nationally with a 2.48 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a league-low .219 batting average. Nebraska has only posted a sub-3.00 ERA three times in school history (1965, 1966 and 1969) - and none since the introduction of the aluminum bat.

• Have held 37 of 58 opponents to three runs or less as only five teams have scored more than four runs.

• Rank second in the Big 12 with 15 saves (third on NU's single-season chart) and allowed just 28 of 102 (27 percent) inherited runners to score.

• Issue a league-low 2.69 walks/nine innings, while ranking second in the league with 7.82 strikeouts/nine innings.

Huskers' Homegrown Rotation

Pitching Coach Rob Childress has built Nebraska's pitching staff into one of the Big 12's best on an annual basis, and 2005 is no exception. The Huskers are second nationally in ERA (2.48) and are holding opponents to a league-low .219 average.

Of Nebraska's top five starters, four are in-state products, including the entire weekend quartet of Joba Chamberlain (Lincoln), Zach Kroenke (Omaha), Brian Duensing (Omaha) and Johnny Dorn (Grand Island), who are a combined 28-5.

Gordon Named Howser Semifinalist

Husker third baseman Alex Gordon was honored May 19, as one of 16 semifinalists for the 2005 Dick Howser Trophy. Gordon was one of only two Big 12 players to make the semifinalist list, joining shortstop Seth Johnston. Fellow Huskers Joba Chamberlain and Curtis Ledbetter were both also on the initial 64-member watch list for the Dick Howser Trophy. The 2005 winner will be announced at the College World Series in Omaha on Friday, June 17, at 9:30 a.m. CDT.

2005 Howser Trophy Semifinalists
Name    Pos.    School
Brian Bogusevic P-OF    Tulane
Lance Broadway  P       TCU
Cesar Carillo   P       Miami (Fla.)
Mike Costanzo   P-1B    Coastal Carolina
Jacoby Ellsbury OF      Oregon State
Alex Gordon     3B      Nebraska
Tyler Greene    SS      Georgia Tech
Luke Hochevar   P       Tennessee
Seth Johnston   SS      Texas
Ian Kennedy     P       Southern California
Ryan Patterson  OF      LSU
Brian Pettway   OF      Ole Miss
Shane Robinson  OF      Florida State
Ricky Romero    P       Cal State Fullerton
Gabe Scott      OF      Alabama
Corey Wimberley 2B      Alcorn State

Chamberlain Named to Clemens Watch List

Joba Chamberlain was added to the Roger Clemens  Award watch on April 15. The sophomore finished the regular season with a 7-2 record and a 2.46 ERA, fanning 106 in 91.1 innings of work. He ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12 in ERA (sixth), strikeouts/nine innings (10.45, third), strikeouts (106, third), opponent batting average (.194, sixth)  and innings (seventh).

The winner of the second annual honor, designating the top pitcher in college baseball, will be announced on July 14 in Houston, Texas. For more on the award, log on to

The Story on Joba

Sophomore Joba Chamberlain's college career has been a whirlwind experience. The right-hander began his collegiate career at Division II Nebraska-Kearney, where he went 3-6 with a 5.23 ERA as a freshman, before transferring to NU last summer.

The 6-3, 225-pounder has been of the Big 12's top performers in 2005, going 7-2 with season with a 2.46 ERA, fanning 106 in 91.1 innings of work. He ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12 in ERA (sixth), strikeouts/nine innings (10.45, third), strikeouts (106, third), opponent batting average (.194, sixth)  and innings (seventh).

Against New Mexico on Feb. 25, Chamberlain struck out 15 in seven shutout innings en route to Big 12 Pitcher of the Week and National Co-Player-of-the-Week honors from Collegiate Baseball. His 15 strikeouts were the most by a Husker pitcher since Shane Komine in 2000 and two shy of the Huskers' single-game record. Chamberlain then shut down No. 7 Rice, holding the Owls to one unearned run on four hits while striking out nine over 6.1 innings. On April 22, he fanned 10 Baylor hitters while allowing one run in a win over the No. 8 Bears

Joba's 10-K Days
No.     Opponent        Date
15      New Mexico      Feb. 25
12      Seton Hall      March 18
10      Texas   April 8
10      Baylor  April 22

Jensen Shines at Closing Time

Another pleasant surprise this spring has been the emergence of junior Brett Jensen as the Huskers' closer. The 6-foot-7, 195-pounder has converted 11 of his 12 save opportunities, as he is second in the Big 12 in that category. He is one save away from breaking Thom Ott's single-season mark of 11 set in 2001.

Johnny Be Good

Freshman right-hander Johnny Dorn has quickly adapted to the Big 12. The Grand Island, Neb., native leads the team in wins with nine and ranks third in the Big 12 with a 1.96 ERA. He has made 16 appearances, splitting his time between the rotation and the bullpen.  In his last seven appearances dating back to April 16, he is 5-0 with a 1.15 ERA.

Against Creighton on March 29, he pitched 7.2 innings of no-hit ball in NU's 10-2 win over the Bluejays. He fanned a career-high 10 CU hitters, the highest total by a Husker freshman in six seasons. Against Texas A&M on April 17, Dorn tossed 4.1 innings of shutout ball, earning not only his first league win, but clinching NU's first series win in College Station. He came out of the bullpen to go seven shutout innings - the longest relief outing by a Husker since 2001 - scattering three hits and fanning seven in a 4-3 NU win against Baylor on April 23.  Dorn was at his best at Texas Tech on May 14, holding the Red Raiders scoreless over eight innings while establishing his career high with 11 strikeouts in a 6-1 Husker win.

NCAA Freshman Leaders in ERA
No.     Name, Team      App     IP      R       ER      ERA
1.      Johnny Dorn, Nebraska   16      78.0    20      16      1.96
2.      Mickey Storey, Fla. Atlantic    21      77.1    24      17      1.98

Bruce Named to Academic All-District Team

Daniel Bruce was honored earlier this month, as  one of 11 players chosen for the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VII team. A four-year starter for the fifth-ranked Huskers, Bruce carries a 3.86 GPA in English and is a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection. This is the second straight season that Bruce earned academic All-District honors.

Bruce Named Nebraska Male

Student-Athlete of the Year

Senior outfielder Daniel Bruce enjoyed one of the finest days of his four-year career on April 18. Not only did he go 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored in the series-clinching win at Texas A&M, but he was honored later in the day as the Univeristy of Nebraska Male Student-Athlete of the Year. It marks just the second time that a Husker baseball player had been chosen for the prestigious honor (Jeff Leise, 2003). An English major with a 3.86 GPA, Bruce is hitting a career-best .325 with 30 runs scored this season.

Homers Come in Bunches for Ledbetter

Throughout his Husker career, first baseman Curtis Ledbetter has shown the propensity to homer in bunches. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has six career multi-homer games, including four this season. The trend began in his Husker debut in 2003 when he hit two homers against Texas State. He is fourth in the Big 12 with 13 homers and also ranks in the league's top-10 in doubles (15, seventh), RBIs (45, 10th), total bases (128, fourth) and slugging percentage (.582, eighth). He has shown versatility, playing left field, catcher and first base throughout his three seasons at Nebraska.

Ledbetter's Multi-Homer Games

No.     Opponent        Date
2       vs. Texas State 2/14/03
2       vs. Kansas State        3/21/03
2       vs. New Mexico  2/25/05
2       vs. South Dakota State  3/15/05
2       vs. Iowa        4/6/05
2       at Texas A&M    4/15/05

Simokaitis Is Steady at Shortstop

The Huskers have one of the Big 12's best defensive players in shortstop Joe Simokaitis. The senior from St. Louis has been a four-year starter for Nebraska and holds the school and Big 12 assist mark with 645.

In 2005, Simokaitis has enjoyed his best defensive season of his career, committing just six errors in 252 chances (.976).  In fact, a third of his error total came in his first three chances of the season, as he went nearly two months without an error from March 12 to May 8 (159 chances). The error against Missouri was also his first error in conference play since May 1, 2004, a span of 30 league games and 138 chances in the field vs. Big 12 foes.

Career Assists
No.     Mark    Player  Year
1.      646     Joe Simokaitis  2002-present
2.      639     Will Bolt       1999-02
3.      604     Darin Petersen  1992-95

Simokaitis Makes Sacrifices

Joe Simokaitis has made it a habit of turning sacrifices into an art form. The senior has 42 sacrifices during his career, a total which ranks sixth on the NCAA's all-time list. He is second on the squad with 10 sacrifices this season and is four behind Creighton's Vince Pietro for fifth on the NCAA all-time list.

NCAA Sacrifice Bunt Chart
No.     Player, Team    Years   Sacrifices
1.      Rob Macrory, Auburn     1994-97 58
2.      Jose Trujillo, Miami    1986-89 53
3.      Damon Katz, Pepperdine  1997-00         49
4.      Jack Jones, Cal State Fullerton 1994-96 47
5.      Vince Pietro, Creighton 1997-00 46
6.      Joe Simokaitis, Nebraska        2002-present    42
        Jason Smith, North Carolina State       1997-00 42
        Mike Coss, Notre Dame   1988-91 42

Bohanan is Mr. Versatility for NU

Freshman Ryan Bohanan emerged as one of the Huskers' most valuable players during the 2005 season. In addition to his pitching, where he has a 1-1 record with a save and a 1.42 ERA in 16 appearances, Bohanan is hitting .263 with five RBIs, driving in four of the runs in his last five contests. Bohanan had his first career two-hit day in a win over Northern Illinois on May 18. Bohanan was a two-way performer at Goddard High School in Kansas, where he played third base when he was not on the mound.

Bruce Leads Husker Hit-by-Pitch Parade

Senior outfielder Daniel Bruce continues to climb the NCAA record book. When he was hit by a pitch in Saturday's series finale at OU on April 30, it marked the 65th time in his career he had been hit, a mark that ranks fifth in NCAA history.  Bruce, who set Nebraska's single-season record with 28 HBP in 2002, has rebounded after a disappointing 2004 season, hitting .308 with 17 doubles this season.

NCAA All-Time Hit-by-Pitch Leaders
No.     Name, School (Years)    HBP
1.      Tony Hurtado, San Francisco (1997-00)   92
2.      Gabe Somarriba, Florida Atlantic (1999-02)      81
3.      Jeff Ontiveros, Texas (1999-02) 74
4.      Clay Schwartz, Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1994-97)    68
5.      Daniel Bruce, Nebraska (2002-present)   65

Ledbetter Gets Defensive at First Base

One of the reasons for Nebraska's school record .975 fielding percentage in 2004 was the performance of first baseman Curtis Ledbetter. A two-time All-Big 12 pick, Ledbetter committed one error in 473 chances, as his .998 fielding percentage was the best ever by a Husker with 400 total chances in a season. In addition to his defensive prowess, the senior from Lawrence, Kan., hit .297 with eight homers and 56 RBIs, while leading the squad with 12 game-winning RBIs. 

This season, Ledbetter has been a major offensive force, hitting .319 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs, ranking in the league's top-10 in homers, doubles, total bases and slugging percentage. Ledbetter was the Big 12's co-Player of the Week on May 16, going 8-for-15 with a homer and six RBIs. In addition to playing first base, Ledbetter has also seen time at catcher, a position he has not played since his freshman year at Garden City Community College. He is third in school history with 1,065 putouts.

Six Husker Baseball Players Receive Degrees

Four current Husker baseball players and two recent standouts were among the 60 University of Nebraska student-athletes who participated in graduation ceremonies on May 8. Jeremy Becker (agricultural engineering), Jesse Boyer (communication studies),  Curtis Ledbetter (news-editorial) and Dustin Timm (communication studies) joined former players Justin Cowan (1999-2000) and John Grose (2002-04) in receiving their degrees

Two of the graduates played major roles in Nebraska's series win over Missouri, as Timm pitched 4.0 innings of standout to earn the victory on May 7. One day later,  Boyer provided Husker fans with the most dramatic moment of the year with his walk-off homer - the first round tripper in 276 at-bats for the senior from Littleton, Colo.

Huskers Look for Extra Television Time

Over the last six seasons, NU's two longest games have one thing in a common - a television audience. The April 8, 16-inning contest against No. 1 Texas was the Huskers' longest game in six seasons, taking four hours and 17 minutes on an ESPN2 national telecast.  Nebraska's Big 12 Tournament semifinal against Baylor was the Huskers' longest television broadcast, going 14 innings in May of 2004.

Longest Husker Games Since 2000
Opponent        Date    Innings Television
vs. Texas       April 8, 2005   16      ESPN2
vs. Baylor      May 22, 2003    14      Fox Sports Net
vs. New Mexico  Feb. 15, 2002   13      None

13 Husker Games Televised

Husker fans had ample opportunities to see Husker baseball in 2005, as 13 games were televised on a state-wide or national basis. NU went 7-6 on TV during the regular season, including a current four-game winning streak.

Husker Baseball on Television in 2005
Date    Opponent        Network First Pitch
April 5 at Creighton    NET     L, 3-4
April 6 Iowa    NET/CSTV        W, 6-1
April 8 Texas   ESPN2   W, 4-3 (16)
April 9 Texas   ESPN    L, 4-11
April 10        Texas   ESPN    L, 5-6 (8)
April 16        at Texas A&M    Fox Sports Net  L, 4-5 (10)
April 23        Baylor  NET/CSTV*       L, 1-4
April 27        at Wichita State        ESPNU   W, 4-2
April 28        at Oklahoma     ESPN    L, 1-5
April 29        at Oklahoma     ESPNU   W, 8-1
April 30        at Oklahoma     ESPNU   W, 7-1
May 7   Missouri        NET/CSTV        W, 7-5
May 21  Kansas State    NET/CSTV        W, 10-6
*- Live on NETV, Tape Delayed on CSTV
Huskers Draw 20,011 for Game with Creighton

Nebraska's game against Creighton on May 10th at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium drew the second-largest crowd in college baseball this season, trailing only the Minute Maid Classic mark of 21,995 set on Feb. 12. It was the largest single-game crowd this season, surpassing the 14,398 that saw the Georgia-Georgia Tech matchup on April 27, and the 10th-largest regular-season crowd in NCAA history.

2005 College Baseball's Largest Crowds

Attend.         Event/Teams     Location         Date
21,995  Minute Maid Classic     Houston, Texas  Feb. 12
20,011  Creighton-Nebraska      Omaha, Neb.     May 10
14,398  Georgia-Georgia Tech    Turner Field    April 27

The crowd not only broke the series record of 18,578 set in 2002, but also outdrew four Major League games that night as well.

MLB Games Outdrawn by NU-Creighton on May 10

Road    Home    Attendence
Chicago         at Tampa Bay    9,389
Houston         at Florida      11,687
San Diego       at Cincinnati   15,262
Philadelphia    at Milwaukee    12,082 

Huskers Set Big 12 Homer Mark

Nebraska put together one of the most explosive innings in school history on March 13 against South Dakota State, putting up 11 runs, highlighted by five homers. The 11 runs were the most by Nebraska in an inning since 2002, while the five homers in the frame set a school and Big 12 record. In addition, a pair of Huskers found their way into the NCAA record book by hitting two homers in the same inning. Brandon Fusilier and Curtis Ledbetter became the third and fourth Huskers to hit two homers in one inning, and the first since the 2000 season.

Huskers Set Single-Season Attendance Mark

For the fifth time in six seasons, Nebraska set a single-season attendance mark, averaging 4,426 fans per game in 2005. Three of the top-10 single-game attendance marks came in 2005, including a near sellout crowd of 8,486 against top-ranked Texas on April 8.

Average Attendance (1998-2005)
Year    Average  Natl. Rank
1998    597     NA
1999    953     37th
2000    1,148   32nd
2001    2,681   11th
2002    4,110   6th
2003    4,299   6th
2004    3,700   10th
2005    4,426

Huskers Feature Players from 10 States

Of the 40 members of the 2005 squad, 18 are from the state of Nebraska, including nine from the Omaha metro area and four from Lincoln. In all, a total of 10 states are represented on the 2004 roster.

Huskers by State
States  No. of Players
Nebraska        18
Colorado        7
Texas, Kansas, Iowa     3
North Dakota    2
Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming      1

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