Game 1- NU 19
Game 2- NU 3
Texas Tech Series
Game 1- NU 3
Game 2- NU 8
Game 3- NU 3
Weekly Notes: All in all, a good week for Husker Baseball but I am sure Coach Van Horn and company feel that the 2 losses this week for very winnable games. That is probably the most disappointing aspect of this week's games, there were also a great number of positives to be looked at as well. As we know mid week non-conference games give the coaching staff a chance to try some new faces in the lineup and on the mound. A lot of these players haven't be in game situations much this season and in their careers up to this point.
You can never have enough quality depth when your making a Big 12 Conference and College World Series run, and these games are perfect for that. Minnesota is a quality Big 10 team, and have been post season participants in the recent and past histories of the program. Van Horn won't schedule easy games just to pad his coaching record and his players stats, we know that. Look at Fresno St. Ever since NU swept them a few weeks ago, they have won 10 straight games. Late season matchups with Cal-Poly, La. Tech, and Wichita St. will give the team even more depth and experience heading into Big 12 tournament play and the NCAA post season.
Texas Tech series was going to be a tough series either way you look at it. Tech has a very good lineup and was one of the hottest hitting teams in the Big 12 and nation. Tech played 30 games compared to NU's 18 heading into this series and that cannot be overlooked. It's definitely an advantage to have an extra 12 games under your belt coming into Hawks Field to play a very tough NU team.
Komine (5-0) dominated once again as he usually does against anyone. There isn't much to say about Komine other than he is making the case clearer with ever outing, that he is the best righthander and possibly pitcher in the nation. Tech used the same strategy as Baylor implemented by holding their Ace Chris Phillips back a start to use him in Game 2. Fortunately for NU their strategy wasn't as successful, as Rodrigue (4-0) did what he had to do to get a victory in Game 2. Rodrigue supplied NU with another 8 strong innings, only surrendering 3 runs along the way giving NU a comfortable victory.
Game 3 of the Tech series was a very winnable game. A few key errors allowed Tech to put a few runs on the board. The defense played well all week though, a tough Game 3 won't put a damper on that. Aaron Marsden wasn't as sharp as he was in his start last Sunday, but he still gave NU a chance at the series sweep once again. That is pretty much all NU is looking for in a #3 weekend starter. A solid 6 or so innings and give the team a chance to win the game.
I am very confident that NU's offense will be able to out score a lot of teams on Sunday throwing their #3 starter as well if Marsden and any other #3 starter can keep NU within striking distance. That is just what he did in Game 3, going 5.2 innings and surrendering 0 earned runs. Brian Duensing did the same in Game 2 of the Minn. Series going a strong 7 innings giving NU a chance as well. The lineup is plenty potent enough to turn these 1 and 2 run losses in key victories down the stretch.
Season Notes: The Big 12 conference has shown to be one of the toughest in the nation up to this point in the season. Against 3 of the tougher conference teams, NU has come away with a 6 and 3 record. That is a very encouraging number looking at the remaining Big 12 conference schedule. There are no easy games however in the Big 12 this season. Ask Baylor who struggled with Missouri this weekend, dropping the first 2 games of the series so far.
NU faces road series starting this weekend at KSU. They also have series @Texas, @OK St, and @Missouri. The remaining home conference series are against OU and Kansas. Not an easy stretch, but if the starting pitching can continue to excel, there is no reason NU can't win 12 or 13 of the remaining 18 conference games. That would put NU in great shape to take home another Big 12 conference trophy to put in the growing NU baseball trophy case. It is definitely going to be an exciting stretch run for the Big 12 regular season title race. Let's hope the weather can warm up some next month and get a few packed houses when OU and KU come to town.
Jeff Leise is swinging one of the hottest bats in the conference. He can cause so many headaches for the opposition. The trio of great bat speed, bat control, and plate coverage makes him so deadly. Throw on top of that a good eye at the plate, good instincts and great speed, and you have an all Big 12 centerfielder and all american candidate. I am impressed with the overall lineup.
A team isn't going to score 8 to 10 runs every game, especially in the Big 12. This team however, has that capability every time they step on the field. Hopper and Morris will find their power strokes and it will all come together for the conference stretch run. The lineup has it all. Speed up top and at the bottom, great contact hitters who can all lay down a sacrifice when needed, and power potential in the middle. I really like the lineup as a whole.
From the young guys like Anderson and Bruce to the veterans like Blevins, Seely, Eymann and Bolt, they all have the capability of coming up with key hits and that is what wins ballgames in the post season when pitching duels usually heat up.
Tues. Western Illinois
Wed. Western Illinois
For Tickets: 1 800 8 BIGRED
Husker Connection Pitcher of the Week
Shane Komine Sr. R/R
Husker Connection Player of the Week
Jeff Leise Jr. L/L
BA: .478 (11 for 23)