Huskers return home to host Iowa
After finishing a 3-0 season sweep of the Kansas State Wildcats with a 6-0 win on Tuesday night in Manhattan, Kan., the Huskers return home for the first time in four games to host the Iowa Hawkeyes for a three-game Big Ten series at Hawks Field.
Both teams enter the weekend with a 3-3 record in Big Ten play and each team has played a conference series against the Northwestern Wildcats. The Huskers recently dropped 2-of-3 on the road to the Wildcats, while the Hawkeyes opened Big Ten play by taking 2-of-3 from Northwestern at home.
The Huskers will change up their weekend rotation a bit against the Hawkeyes, as Tom Lemke and Zach Hirsch will start on Friday and Sunday, respectively, for the third straight week, but sophomore Brandon Pierce will be inserted on Saturday for his first career conference start.
Head Coach Jack Dahm is in his ninth season at Iowa and his 18th season as a head coach. In his first eight seasons at Iowa, Dahm posted a 190-248 record and the Hawkeyes enter Friday's game with a 12-14 record this season.
Just like the Huskers, Iowa opened conference play with a 2-1 series win at home and then went on the road and dropped 2-of-3 to fall to 3-3 on the year. The Hawkeyes enter Friday's game on a two-game winning streak after winning a pair of mid-week games at home over South Dakota State. The pair of wins marked the third time this season the Hawkeyes have won two in a row, but they are yet to win three in a row in 2012.
Play on the road has not gone well for the Hawkeyes this year, as they are 1-4 in road games and 6-8 in neutral site games. Iowa's first road win came last weekend when they beat Indiana, 4-0, on Saturday in Bloomington.
Even after struggling offensively last weekend at Northwestern, the Huskers entered the week ranked in the top-25 nationally in nine categories, including a pair of top-five ranking in hits and runs scored.
Through April 1, the Huskers ranked second in the country in runs scored with 237, while New Mexico State, who the Huskers beat earlier this season, lead the nation with 300 runs. NU sits fourth nationally in hits with 337, only 13 behind Indiana State's nation-leading total of 350.
The Huskers are also ranked in the top-25 in slugging (11th - .467), batting average (13th - .320), home runs (17th - 27), home runs per game (19th - 0.90), on-base percentage (21st - .402) and doubles (24th - 60).
Defensively, the Huskers rank 22nd in double plays with 28, while Miami (Ohio) leads the country with 38 twin killings.
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