Going "Deep Thoughts" III

Nebraska ran the table this weekend on Texas A&M. The victory brings back a little of the NU swagger and runs the undefeated home streak to four games. Putting both pitching and hitting together this weekend, NU managed to sweep a very impressive Aggie team. Scott Kuhn takes his always analytical look at the weekend that was in Nebraska Baseball.

Texas A&M Series (3-0)

Scores

Fri.- NU 6

A&M 4

Sat.-A&M 0

NU 3

Sun.-A&M 0

NU 10 Mercy Rule

Weekend Review: What can you say about NU's starting pitching against the Aggies this weekend? Not sure you could draw up a more dominating 3 game stretch from the starting pitchers than Shane Komine, Jamie Rodrigue, and Aaron Marsden. Even more impressive is their performances came in less than ideal weather for a pitcher to get loose in. The cold weather usually effects the pitchers grip on the baseball as well. Komine was a little uncharacteristically wild for him (4 walks) but was still overpowering as usual (14 K's).

I can't remember that many dropped 3rd strikes. Komine(4-0 1.22) had Aggie hitters set up all day long. Rodrigue(3-0 1.01) once again matched Komine's dominance in Game 2 of the series, giving NU possibly the best 1-2 tandem in the nation up to this point in the season. He has been getting stronger as the season has progressed, which is great news for the rest of the season. He has a lot of big game experience in his career and seems to be much more relaxed this season.

The key to Rodrigue's dominance has been getting ahead of hitters. It is probably the most important aspect for any pitcher, but is essential for a pitcher that isn't going to blow away hitters with hard fastballs and isn't a true strikeout pitcher. Rodrigue has been getting the first pitch over and staying ahead in the count in all of his starts this season, a Huge difference from his '01 season. He is making the hitters hit his pitch, they aren't able to sit back with a 2-0 or 3-1 count and tee off when Rodrigue comes into the zone. Rodrigue can stay away from the middle of the plate as well that way. He can bust righthanders in and stay away from lefthanders when he is ahead in the count. Game 3 turned out to be Aaron Marsden's ‘coming out' party.

NU had been desperately seeking a #3 weekend starter to compliment Komine and Rodrigue, they might have just found him on Sunday. Could Marsden be the Brian Rodaway of '02? A pitcher that wants the ball in Game 3's and give NU a chance to win every outing. The lefthander pitched 8 innings of 1 hit ball, striking out 9 and only walking 1 Aggie. He was rolling so well, I am sure he was disappointed a little in the 10 run mercy rule, he was throwing that well. If this is a preview of what's to come from Marsden, this Husker team will be scary for opponents the rest of the season. Texas A&M isn't the best hitting team in the Big 12, but they have beaten some very good teams this season. The way all three NU starting pitchers threw this weekend, there aren't many if any teams in Big 12 that could have done much offensively.

The Defense played very well this weekend as well all around. Some key Double plays by Bolt and company on Saturday were very big. The errors are going to come at times, hopefully they will be aggressive type errors, it's how they respond to them that will tell the story.

Season Notes: Pitching, Defense, and Timely hitting/base running wins games, and NU put all 3 together this weekend. Not just the veteran players have come up big, younger players like Drew Anderson and Daniel Bruce have continued to play like seasoned veterans. Each player helps bring a different aspect to the NU lineup. Both have very good speed and are smart base runners. They can help implement the Van Horn pressure offense. Good bat control, speed on the basepaths, and moving runners along all lead to manufacturing runs. With the way that NU's starting pitchers have been throwing 2 or 3 runs can be enough to win at times.

Timely hitting by guys like Jeff Leise, Matt Hopper, Jed Morris, and Brandon Eymann this weekend has shown just how dominant this team can be when all phases of the game start to come together. How impressive as Jeff Leise been? Wow, this guy has that knack of making great contact up at the plate on all different pitches and in all different situations. Very impressive and so difficult to do. It seems that the entire lineup has been more effective at situational hitting. Coach Anderson has definitely been working hard in batting practice on getting the players to make good contact with runners in scoring position and it has shown. It is will be exciting to see this offense come together even more with a few more games under their belts. NU is still only 16 games into a 6o0 plus game season more than likely. The offense still have time to hit it's groove.

The saying "hitting is contagious may be a cliché, but it's very much a real concept. Confidence plays such a huge role in baseball on both sides of the ball. When a team starts to roll, pitchers want the ball in their hands and hitters want men on base when the step up to the plate. After this weekend's sweep of Texas A&M, the Huskers confidence is definitely growing. The "home cooking" of Hawks Field at Haymarket Park is just what the doctor ordered after a tough series down at Baylor. Games on Tuesday and Wednesday at Minnesota will give the younger players some much needed game experience. Hopefully some of the young pitchers in the bullpen will get a chance to show what they can do as well. Keep the ball rolling towards another Big 12 Home set against Texas Tech next weekend.

 

 

Next Week's Schedule:

Tues. @ Minnesota

Wed. @ Minnesota

Fri. Texas Tech

Sat. Texas Tech

Sun.Texas Tech

 

 

 

Husker Connection Player of the Week:

Jeff Leise-Jr. OF

BA- .455 (5 for 11)

Hits- 5

Runs- 1

RBI- 3

 

Husker Connection Pitcher of the Week:

Aaron Marsden- SO L/L

IP- 8

Hits- 1

Runs- 0

BB- 1

K- 9

 

 


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