This weekend the Huskers had a chance to prove themselves to a national audience. A good showing against the ‘Horns would do wonders in a season that has been less than great comparing to the accomplishments of the previous few years.
It seems when the stage is set like it was this weekend, we are expecting the players to be able to step up and do extraordinary things to help their team pull out the victory. This weekend Ryan Wehrle, the junior short stop, was the player who most answered the call.
Entering this weekend Wehrle was hitting a less than impressive .222, which is significantly lower than the batting average of .367 which he ended last season with. Many fans were getting impatient with him at the plate, and some were concerned he could not longer produce from the 2 spot in the batting line-up.
"I've settled on him in this 2 spot because I did move him around early trying to create something, just anything to get him going," says NU Head Coach Mike Anderson. "It's the first night I've really seen him attack. He sat back, got some base hits here and there but he attacked tonight good start for him, and hopefully he found just a little piece that was missing for him."
The confidence Coach Anderson had with his junior short stop really helped boost Wehrle's confidence and we all knew it was only going to be a matter of time before his bat started going again.
"He (Coach Anderson) has been there behind me the whole year. He's never lost confidence in me, he always comes up and says I'm his guy so he's been great through the whole season, it feels good to show this team what I can do a bit," said Wehrle.
After being selected First Team
Big 12 in 2006, Husker faithful had high hopes for Wehrle, but somehow things
were just not getting done at the plate but this weekend Wehrle was finally able
to put on the performance we have all been waiting for.
In game 1 of the series
"It feels good. It's been awhile so it feels real good. I felt confident up there so hopefully I can continue," said Wehrle.
It seemed all 8,419 people in attendance for Friday night's game could not stop talking about this single performance put on by Wehrle, and if we would be able to produce like that the rest of this series. The answer was yes.
In Saturday's game Wehrle went 2/4 at the plate, which could be considered just as impressive because this time around hit for the Huskers were not as easy to come by. The Husker team only was able to get 4 runs on 7 hits, all of which came in the first 3 innings of play. The Longhorns Adrian Alaniz threw an impressive game lasting until the 8th inning and he picked up his 10th win of the year in a 8-4 victory.
The series came down to the final game, Sunday at 12:05 these two teams would meet again to see who claimed the series victory. In order to do so the Husker team would need another day of big production from their leader Ryan Wehrle.
This game was a little different though, after DJ Belfonte was injured in Saturday's game, Wehrle found himself in a new role, the leadoff spot. Would he be able to get the job done and get on base, as the leadoff man should?
Wehrle was able to again make opportunities for the Huskers, although the team lost the final game. He had a single and was able to draw 2 walks from the UT pitching staff. Although his efforts made opportunities for Husker batters, they were not able to capitalize on them, and lost the series finale 2-6, to a very good Longhorn team.
Even with the loss Wehrle was able to improve his batting average to a more respectable .253. For the series Wehrle found himself up to bat 13 times and was able to produce 7 hits and 2 walks, something Husker fans are hoping continues. Teammate Andy Gerch acknowledges how important it is for the team to have a leader like Wehrle produce.
"Ryan did really well, its good to see the way he went about his business. He struggled early but if we can get him going, it's going to be a big confidence booster for this team," said Gerch.
It may be safe to say that the Ryan Wehrle of old is back and he looks ready to accept the leadership role on the field and now at the plate. The Husker season is far from over, still having to play three Big 12 Series, two of which are at home. With the amount of offense displayed this weekend, Wehrle has a great chance to lead this team to many more victories. Something everyone could be happy about.