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GRAND ISLAND WEATHER

Nebraska Baseball Photo Credit: Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Welcome Wildcats to Hawks Field


Nebraska Baseball Photo Credit: Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Friday, May 14 (6:30 PM)
Pitching: LHP Cade Povich (4-1) vs. TBA
TV/Streaming: BTN+
Radio: Husker Sports Network
 
Saturday, May 15 (2 PM)
Pitching: RHP Chance Hroch (4-1) vs. TBA
TV/Streaming: NET/BTN+
Radio: Husker Sports Network
 
Sunday, May 16 (12 PM)
Pitching: RHP Shay Schanaman (4-2) vs. TBA
TV/Streaming: BTN+
Radio: Husker Sports Network
 
Following a 3-1 trip to Piscataway, N.J., for pod play against Rutgers and Indiana the Nebraska baseball team (23-11) returns home this weekend for a three-game series against the Northwestern Wildcats (12-16).

The series opener is set for 6:30 PM (CT) on Friday night at Hawks Field. The teams then meet at 2 PM on Saturday and the game will be broadcast statewide on NET. Sunday's finale is scheduled for Noon.

The Huskers enter the weekend 0.5 game back of Indiana (23-10) for first place in the Big Ten, with the Hoosiers visiting Michigan this weekend for a three-game series. The Wolverines sit third in the league with a 23-12 record, 1.0 game out of first place and 0.5 game behind Nebraska for second place.

Nebraska is 6-4 at Hawks Field this season and its only series loss this year came at home when it was swept by Rutgers two weeks ago. The Huskers and Wildcats last met for a series in Lincoln in 2016 and Nebraska took 2-of-3.

After a pause in team activities for the past two weekends, Northwestern returns to the diamond. The Wildcats had to cancel their past seven games due to COVID-19 precautions. Two weeks ago Northwestern was scheduled to host Michigan and Illinois for pod play and last weekend the Wildcats were slated to visit Purdue. 

Northwestern last played on Monday, April 26, and fell 12-9 at Iowa. The Wildcats have lost their last five games and are 12-16 on the year after starting 7-3 over their first 10 games. Northwestern is 10-12 away from Evanston, including a 2-5 record in road contests.

The Wildcats remains the nation's top home run hitting squad with 1.93 home runs per game. Junior Shawn Goosenberg leads the way with a .358 batting average, 11 home runs and a 1.125 OPS.

All three games this weekend will be carried on BTN+, an online streaming service through the Big Ten Network. Saturday's game will be carried statewide on NET.

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
Nebraska played a pair of games against both Rutgers and #17 Indiana in Piscataway, N.J., and went 3-1. The Huskers split their two games with Indiana and took both contests from Rutgers, including a 13-inning marathon in the finale on Monday.

5/8: Nebraska 7 - Indiana 6
5/9: Indiana 4 - Nebraska 2
5/9: Nebraska 15 - Rutgers 5
5/10: Nebraska 7 - Rutgers 6 (13 Innings)

Next Up
Nebraska's final road trip of the 2021 regular season will take them to Bloomington, Ind., for pod play against the Indiana Hoosiers and Ohio State Buckeyes. The Huskers will play four games in three days, including a pair of games on Saturday, May 22.

The Huskers have played both Indiana and Ohio State twice this season and are 1-1 against both teams.

Nebraska opens the weekend against Indiana on the Big Ten Network at 7 PM on Friday, May 21. The Huskers and Buckeyes meet on Saturday at Noon before the Huskers and Hoosiers meet that evening at 5:30 PM on ESPNU. The trip concludes on Sunday with a Noon meeting against the Buckeyes.

5/21: Nebraska at Indiana (7 PM) - BTN
5/22: Nebraska vs. Ohio State (Noon)
5/22: Nebraska at Indiana (5:30 PM) - ESPNU
5/23: Nebraska vs. Ohio State (Noon)

Leading Off
• Dating back to a win at Iowa on Saturday, March 20, the Huskers have won 18 of their last 25 games entering Friday. 

• As of May 12, the Huskers rank in ninth nationally with a .981 fielding percentage. NU has not committed an error in 17 of its 34 games and have committed multiple errors just seven times. Nebraska has yet to commit more than two errors in a game this season. Iowa is the next closest Big Ten school and ranks 56th nationally with a .974 fielding percentage.

• Nebraska had a seven-game winning streak earlier this season. It was the longest winning streak since 2016 when the Huskers won eight straight, including wins over Wichita State (2), Indiana State (2), Purdue (3) and Creighton (1).  - Nebraska had an nine-game unbeaten streak in 2017. The Huskers won five straight, tied Indiana, and then won three straight following the tie.
  
• NU ranks in the top five in the Big Ten in multiple offensive categories, including a No. 1 ranking in two categories 

  Sacrifice Bunts - 28 (1st)
  Stolen Bases - 58 (1st)
  Runs - 241 (2nd)  (Michigan, 253)
  RBIs - 210 (2nd)  (Michigan, 231)
  Hits - 318 (3rd)  (Illinois, 329)
  Batting Avg. - .272 (3rd)  (Michigan, .278)
  Slugging - .433 (3rd)  (Northwestern, .494)
  Walks - 172 (4th)  (Iowa, 183)
  On-Base Percentage - .381 (4th)  (Michigan, .390)
  Home Runs - 41 (5th)  (Northwestern, 54)

• Nebraska's pitching staff ranks near the top of the conference in multiple categories including:

  Fewest Walks Allowed - 118 (1st)
  Shutouts - 4 (T1st with Michigan)
  Fewest Runs Allowed - 149 (2nd)  (Indiana, 120)
  ERA - 4.10 (3rd)  (Indiana, 2.87) 
  Fewest Doubles Allowed - 53 (4th)  (Indiana, 44)

• Three Huskers rank in the top 10 in the league in runs scored, including Joe Acker with his conference-best 39 runs. Spencer Schwellenbach and Jaxon Hallmark are tied for third with 35 runs. Acker and Schwellenbach also both rank in the top 10 in walks, as they are tied for fourth with 23 each. 

• Along with being tied for third in runs scored with 35, Spencer Schwellenbach is tied for fifth in the league with 11 doubles and is tied for ninth in RBIs with 28.

• Jaxon Hallmark leads the Big Ten with 48 hits, is second in stolen bases with 15 and is seventh in the league with a .340 batting average.

• Freshman Max Anderson is tied for third in the Big Ten with 44 hits.

• Cam Chick and Luke Roskam are tied for fifth in the Big Ten with 30 RBIs. Chick is tied for third in the conference with three sacrifice flies.

• Luke Roskam ranks sixth in the Big Ten with a .472 on-base percentage.

• Cade Povich ranks ninth in the Big Ten with a 3.09 ERA and ranks eighth in strikeouts with 63. 

• Chance Hroch has issued just 10 walks this year, tied for the third fewest by a Big Ten pitcher.

• 12 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. 

Control the Bases
Stolen bases will be at a premium this weekend, as Nebraska and Northwestern are the top two teams in the Big Ten at throwing out bases runners. 

• Nebraska is the top team in the Big Ten at limiting stolen bases as opponents are converting a steal just 52% of the time (13-25). Northwestern is close behind at 54.5% (15-33).

• It will be a test for Nebraska's offense as the Huskers enter the weekend at the top of the Big Ten standing with 58 steals in 69 attempts. The Wildcats have stolen a league-low 13 bases in 22 attempts.

Common Foes
Nebraska and Northwestern have played eight common opponents this year. The Huskers are 18-8 against those eight teams, while the Wildcats are 11-15.

Nebraska (18-8)
Penn State (3-0)
Michigan State (2-1)
Minnesota (4-0)
Illinois (2-1)
Maryland (2-1)
Rutgers (2-3)
Indiana (1-1)
Iowa (2-1)

Rutgers (11-15)
Penn State (2-2)
Michigan State (3-1)
Minnesota (2-1)
Illinois (2-1)
Maryland (0-4)
Rutgers (1-2)
Indiana (1-2)
Iowa (0-2)

Win the Weekend
Nebraska won seven straight conference series to start the 2021 season (the Minnesota Pod is not included since it was two games each against Iowa and Ohio State). 

• Prior to this season, Nebraska had never won seven straight conference series to start a season.

• The seven-series winning streak was snapped when Nebraska was swept at home by Rutgers. It was the first time Nebraska had been swept at home during the Big Ten era and the first time it had happened during a conference series since 2009 when NU lost three straight to Missouri during the Big 12 era.

• During the Big Ten era, the Huskers previously had never won more than three straight conference series to start a season (2013 and 2016).

• Prior to this season, Nebraska won six straight conference series to start the 2006 season, before dropping 2-of-3 at Oklahoma State. The 2006 Huskers started the year with conference wins over Kansas (2-1), Kansas State (2-1), Missouri (3-0), Texas A&M (3-0), Texas (2-1) and Texas Tech (3-0).

• This season the Huskers have secured a series victory with a win on Sunday five times - Purdue, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State.

• This season Nebraska has dropped the series opener three times - Purdue, Iowa and Rutgers.

2021 Series Wins
vs. Purdue (3-1)
at Iowa (2-1)
Minnesota (4-0)
at Illinois (2-1)
Maryland (2-1)
at Penn State (3-0)
at Michigan State (2-1)

The All-Time Series with Northwestern
• Nebraska and Northwestern have split 24 previous meeting, 12-12. Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten for the 2012 season the teams have met 18 times and Nebraska holds a 10-8 advantage.

• The teams have met for a series in Lincoln three times and the Huskers have won two of them, including the last meeting in 2016. The Huskers swept the Wildcats in 2013, Northwestern then took 2-of-3 in 2014 before Nebraska took 2-of-3 in 2016.

• The teams have also met for a series in Evanston three times and the Wildcats have won 2-of-3. The Wildcats hosted the last series between the two teams in 2019 and took 2-of-3 games.

• The teams have never met in the Big Ten Tournament.

• The first game between the teams took place in 1897 and the Wildcats won, 9-5. They met against in 1902 and Northwestern won, 11-3. The teams didn't meet again until 1989 and Nebraska picked up its first win in the series, 5-2.

• The last non-conference game between the teams was during the 2004 season when the Huskers opened the year in Albuquerque, N.M., and beat the Wildcats, 19-3, in the season opener.

Conference Series History
2019 - Northwestern won, 2-1 (Evanston)
2016 - Nebraska won, 2-1 (Lincoln)
2015 - Nebraska won, 2-1 (Evanston)
2014 - Northwestern won, 2-1 (Lincoln)
2013 - Nebraska won, 3-0 (Lincoln)
2012 - Northwestern won, 2-1 (Evanston)

Super Schwelly
Junior Spencer Schwellenbach is making is case for Big Ten Player of the Year with his play at the plate, in the field and on the mound. 

• Schwellenbach is hitting .275 and has been NU's No. 3 hitter in all 34 games this season. He is tied for third in the Big Ten with 35 runs, tied for fourth in walks with 23, tied for fifth in doubles with 11 and tied for ninth in RBIs with 28.

• Has drawn 23 walks and has been hit-by-pitch six times, while striking out just 32 times.

• Enters the weekend with a 0.82 ERA over 12 appearances out of the bullpen. Is 2-1 and has five saves in 22.0 innings and didn't allow a run over his first nine appearances. Notched 26 strikeouts to six walks - didn't issue a walk over his first eight appearances.

• Has committed just two errors this season in 135 chances.

Swiss Army Knife
Senior outfielder Jaxon Hallmark has been a tough on opposing defenses this year both at the plate and on the base paths. 

• Hallmark leads the league with 48 hits and is seventh in the Big Ten with a .340 batting average. He has also laid down five sacrifice bunts on the year, which is tied for third in the league. 

• On the base paths he has swiped 15 bases, which ranks second in the Big Ten. He has stolen three bases in a game twice this season.

Leading Man
Joe Acker moved to the lead-off spot in the Husker lineup for the series opener at Iowa.

• Over the last 26 games Acker has reached base in his first at-bat of the game 15 times, including nine walks, one hit-by-pitch and a home run.

• Acker leads the Big Ten with 39 runs scored and is tied with Spencer Schwellenbach for the team lead in walks with 23 each.

• In 2021, Acker has posted a .405 on-base percentage. His previous season-highs for on-base percentage were .364 in 2020 (15 games) and .345 in 2019 (46 games).

Let Him Out of the Pen
Elkhorn native Jake Bunz transferred to Nebraska after spending two seasons at Hutchinson Community College. The 6-5 lefty has been a vital arm for the Huskers in 2021, as he has made 14 appearances - including three starts.

• Has a 2.00 ERA with six runs allowed over 27.0 innings. Three runs came in a start against Iowa in Minneapolis. He has allowed just three runs in 16.0 innings of relief over 11 appearances.

• In his 11 relief appearances has 33 strikeouts to eight walks.

In the Polls
On Monday, April 26, the Nebraska baseball team was ranked by D1Baseball (#22), Baseball America (#24) and Perfect Game (#19). It was the first time during the 2021 season that the Huskers were ranked by D1 Baseball or Baseball America, while Nebraska had continued to climb the Perfect Game rankings since entering that poll on April 12.

Nebraska was not ranked by any of the three polls on May 3 or May 10.
 
Prior to this season, Nebraska was last ranked at the end of the 2017 season when Baseball America had the Huskers tabbed #25 in the country heading into the NCAA Tournament. That year the Huskers were a No. 2 seed in the Corvallis Regional.

Schwellenbach Named to Olerud Watch List
The College Baseball Foundation released its watch list on Tuesday, April 6, for the 2021 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award and Spencer Schwellenbach was one of 17 players selected. A shortstop and relief pitcher for the Huskers, Schwellenbach earned a weekly award from the organization on March 30 after his stellar play in a four-game sweep of Minnesota.

Back for Year No. 5
Three Huskers are back for their fifth season as a Husker in 2021, including Joe Acker, Mojo Hagge and Luke Roskam.

• Entering Friday, the trio has combined to play in 516 games (Acker - 131, Hagge - 198, Roskam - 184) and 431 starts (Acker - 108, Hagge - 155, Roskam - 168).

• Joe Acker and Mojo Hagge were each been named team captains for 2021.


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