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Huskers Host Gophers for 2021 Home Opener | KTIC Radio

Huskers Host Gophers for 2021 Home Opener

Huskers Host Gophers for 2021 Home Opener
(Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications)

After playing 11 straight games away from Lincoln to start the 2021 season the Nebraska baseball team (7-4) is set to host its home opener on Friday at 2 PM (CT) when it welcomes the Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-8) to Hawks Field for the first game of a four-game series.

While the Huskers played 11 games away from Lincoln to start the 2021 campaign, the Gophers have yet to leave Minneapolis. The Gophers opened the season with 11 straight games at U.S. Bank Stadium, including three games against the Northwestern Wildcats last weekend. Northwestern took the first two games, 4-3 and 10-3, before Minnesota avoided a sweep with a 7-3 win on Monday.

The Huskers are coming off a series win at Iowa. Nebraska was shutout in the opener, 3-0, but then scored 23 runs over the final two games to win the series, including a 10-8 win on Saturday and a 13-8 win on Sunday.

Following the series opener on Friday, Nebraska and Minnesota will meet for a doubleheader on Saturday starting at Noon. The first game of the double dip will be seven innings and game two of the day is slated to start approximately 45 minutes after the completion of game one and will be a nine-inning contest.

The four game series is scheduled to wrap up on Sunday, with first pitch set for Noon.

All four games this weekend will be carried on BTN+, a online streaming service through the Big Ten Network.

Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe and Ben McLaughlin call the action this weekend on the Learfield/IMG College Husker Sports Network. Every game this season can be heard for free on Huskers.com and the Official Nebraska Huskers App for both iOS and android devices.

Last Time Out

The Huskers are coming off a series win at Iowa. Nebraska was shutout in the opener, 3-0, but then scored 23 runs over the final two games to win the series, including a 10-8 win on Saturday and a 13-8 win on Sunday.

3/19: Iowa 3 – Nebraska 0

3/20: Nebraska 10 – Iowa 8

3/21: Nebraska 13 – Iowa 8

Next Up

The Huskers open the month of April by heading back on the road for a three-game series at Illinois. The Huskers last played a series in Champaign during the 2018 season and lost 2-of-3.

4/2: Nebraska at Illinois (4 PM)

4/3: Nebraska at Illinois (1 PM)

4/4: Nebraska at Illinois (Noon)

Leading Off

• Through March 23 the Huskers rank second nationally with a .994 fielding percentage. The Huskers have committed just two errors in 11 games. Oregon leads the county with a .995 fielding percentage and have committed three errors in 15 games.

• Max Anderson ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 14 RBIs. Rutgers’s Chris Brito leads the league in both home runs (8) and RBIs (18).

• Max Anderson leads the Huskers in average (.349), hits (15), home runs (4), slugging percentage (.674) and RBIs (14).

• 11 players have made their Husker debuts this season, including true freshmen infielders Max Anderson, Brice Matthews and Jack Steil, as well as freshman pitcher Emmett Olson.

• Nebraska ranks second in the Big Ten with 16 home runs, while Rutgers leads the league with 20.

• Nebraska ranks third in the Big Ten with 72 runs scored. Michigan (78) and Maryland (74) rank first and second, respectively.

• Nebraska’s pitching staff has given up the third-fewest runs in the league, 46. Indiana has allowed a league-low 28 runs.

Scouting the Gophers

• Junior Zack Raabe ranks second in the Big Ten and leads the Gophers with a .484 batting average (15-for-31). Raabe also ranks second in the Big Ten in on-base percentage (.600).

• Sophomore right hander Sam Ireland leads the Gophers in ERA (2.89), innings pitched (18.2) and strikeouts (19). Ireland also plays first base and is hitting .207 with three doubles in 10 games played, including eight starts.

• Minnesota has drawn a league-low 37 walks this year, but also have the second-fewest strikeouts in the league with 92.

• Minnesota’s defense ranks third in the Big Ten with a .980 fielding percentage as it has committed eight errors in 11 games.

• Minnesota has relied on a young pitching staff, as four sophomores and two freshmen have seen time on the mound. Out of 11 starts on the year, seven have been made by sophomores, including three each by Sam Ireland and Jack Liffrig and one by Trent Schoeberl.

• Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten prior to the 2012 season the Gophers are 3-6 at Hawks Field in three previous trips to Lincoln.

• The Gophers pitching staff has a league-high 7.41 ERA. They’ve allowed league highs in hits (116), home runs (20), runs (81) and runs scored (79).

• In the fall of 1981, John Anderson took over the job of leading the Minnesota baseball program. Forty years later, Anderson entered the 2021 season with 1,325 career victories, which are the most in the history of the Big Ten Conference and rank second among all active Division I head baseball coaches.

• Anderson has guided the Gophers to 11 regular season Big Ten titles and a conference-best 10 Big Ten Tournament titles. His regular season championships came in 1983, ‘84, ‘86, ‘87, 2000, ‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘10, ‘16, and ‘18 and his tournament championships in 1982, ‘85, ‘88, ‘92, ‘93, ‘98, 2001, `04, ‘10, and ‘18.

The All-Time Series with Minnesota

• Nebraska holds a slim 30-29-1 advantage in 60 previous meetings between the two teams.

• Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten prior to the 2012 season the Huskers hold a 17-7 advantage over the Gophers.

• The teams have met for a Big Ten Conference series seven times and Nebraska has won the first five series, but Minnesota has won the past two series.

2019 – Minnesota won, 2-1 (Minneapolis)

2018 – Minnesota won, 2-1 (Lincoln)

2017 – Nebraska won, 2-1 (Minneapolis)

2015 – Nebraska won, 2-1 (Lincoln)

2014 – Nebraska won, 3-0 (Minneapolis)

2013 – Nebraska won, 2-1 (Minneapolis)

2012 – Nebraska won, 3-0 (Lincoln)

• Nebraska has won both meetings between the teams at the Big Ten Tournament (7-4 in 2013 and 8-2 in 2019). The Huskers also won a non-conference game at the 2012 Dairy Queen Classic, 10-3.

Welcome Back

Not only will the Nebraska baseball team return to Hawks Field on Friday for its first home game of the 2021 season, but fans will also return to the stands.

The Big Ten Conference announced on Wednesday that it will allow fans to return to regular-season conference sporting events beginning immediately.

The decision to follow local health guidelines and restrictions was made jointly by Big Ten Conference Athletic Directors and the Council of Presidents and Chancellors in consultation with university medical experts and the conference office.

• Season ticket holders for the most recent ticketed season will receive the first opportunity to purchase tickets (i.e., 2019 volleyball, soccer; 2020 baseball and softball) and will receive direct email communication for their respective sports.

• All ticket sales will be on a single-game basis, and all tickets will be mobile.

• Fans will be required to wear face coverings in all Nebraska athletic venues.

Chick Digs the Long Ball

After leading the Huskers to a series victory at Iowa last weekend Cam Chick was named Big Ten Baseball Player of the Week on Wednesday.

• Chick broke out of an early-season slump and feasted on Iowa pitching over the final two games of the series, going 4-8 with two home runs, two doubles and nine RBIs. Chick entered the weekend hitting .174 (4-for-23) with one extra-base hit and two RBIs on the season.

Comparing the Pens

• Nebraska’s bullpen has thrown 42.1 innings this year and has a 2.55 ERA, while opposing relievers have thrown 43.1 innings and have a 3.95 ERA.

Husker Bullpen Numbers

ERA – 2.55

IP – 42.1

Runs – 13

Earned Runs – 12

Walks – 18

Strikeouts – 43

Home Runs – 3

Opponent Bullpen Numbers

ERA – 3.95

IP – 43.1

Runs – 23

Earned Runs – 19

Walks – 25

Strikeouts – 49

Home Runs – 7

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