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Spartan Baseball Series Preview: Nebraska

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Next up? The Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Spartans were supposed to take the field Wednesday afternoon against the Eastern Michigan Eagles but due to the fact that it was SNOWING, the game was cancelled.

If you are anything like me and don’t pay attention to the weather forecast throughout the week than you woke up at 8 a.m. (at least I did for school) very disappointed and surprised. I mean seriously guys, it’s time for the winter to go away, permanently.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The make-up date for these two teams will be announced at a later time. That being said, the Spartans will shift their focus to the Nebraska Cornhuskers who will open the weekend on Friday at 3:05 p.m.


The Basics

The Numbers

  • Record: 14-14 (3-6 Away, 2-4 Conference)
  • Best Win: @ Wichita State (RPI: 6), W 10-9 (10 innings)
  • Worst Loss: vs Northern Colorado (RPI: 227), L 3-6

Last Five Games

  • 4/1 — Ohio State, L 14-15
  • 3/31 — Ohio State, L 4-7
  • 3/30 — Ohio State, W 7-3
  • 3/27 — Creighton, L 1-3
  • 3/25 — Minnesota, L 0-2

Last year, the Nebraska Cornhuskers finished the season 35-22-1 (16-7-1 B1G). They won the Big Ten conference outright and had a great all-around year. Nebraska won 68.8% of their games and ended the 2016-17 season with 17 home wins (their best winning percentage in terms of home, away, and neutral site games).

During the regular season their best wins came against Arizona, Creighton, Minnesota, Iowa, and Maryland. They played Michigan State once (in a three game series) last year and won two out of three of those contests.

Unfortunately, the Cornhuskers lost the last four games of the postseason and weren’t able to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament. During the Big Ten tournament they beat Purdue (15-9) before losing to Iowa (0-2) and Maryland (5-8). Nebraska also qualified for the tournament and played in the NCAA Corvallis Regional where they lost to Yale (1-5) and Holy Cross (4-7).

This year it’s been a different story for the Cornhuskers. So far they haven’t been able to stay consistently above .500 and are struggling against teams they had no problem beating last year. There’s still plenty of time to turn it around but they’ve played in two Big Ten series and lost both of them.

Cornhuskers To Know

The Cornhuskers have a team batting average of .264 (251-949) with 34 doubles, 6 triples, 17 home runs, 155 RBI, 125 base on balls, and 15 stolen bases.

Their numbers are down from last year but inside of the Big Ten the Cornhuskers have still been productive. Offensively they have four starters averaging .287 or better from the plate.

  • Scott Schreiber: .389 (44-113), 9 2B, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 1 SB
  • Zac Repinski: .315 (28-89), 5 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 3 SB
  • Jesse Wilkening: .299 (32-107), 4 2B, 3 HR, 25 RBI
  • Jaxon Hallmark: .287 (27-94), 2 2B, 1 3B, 15 RBI, 3 SB

Defensively, they have a team ERA of 5.07 with 245.0 innings pitched, 288 hits, 138 earned runs, 102 walks, and 178 strikeouts.

Here are their best starting pitchers:

  • Luis Alvarado: ERA — 3.29, 2-2, 41.0 IP, 38 H, 15 ER, 39 SO
  • Matt Waldron: ERA — 4.18, 2-2, 28.0 IP, 44 H, 13 ER, 21 SO
  • Nate Fisher: ERA — 4.88, 1-4, 27.2 IP, 41 H, 15 ER, 17 SO
  • Matt Warren: ERA — 5.79, 3-2, 32.3 IP, 38 H, 21 ER, 24 SO

How The Spartans Match Up

Well Spartan fans, you know the drill. I’m back with another exciting edition of how this Michigan State team matches up with their next opponent, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

I’ll try to keep this short, sweet, and to the point for Spartan Nation. Since we last spoke Michigan State has lost a series against Rutgers (an up and coming team within the Big Ten) and won the Sunday finale to help Jake Boss Jr. get his 300th win as head coach.

They are now 7-19 overall and 1-5 within the Big Ten. As you all know this program is trending down and we are in for a long year that involves a lot of losing. So is the 300th win nice? Yes, but it certainly could have happened under better circumstances. I understand win number 300 is a huge accomplishment and milestone within the program itself. Boss is just the fifth coach in school history to ever reach such a feat. But it’s simply a silver lining and the real issue must be how astonishingly bad this Spartan team is right now.

We all have to take a step back and realize that Michigan State might be the worst team in the Big Ten this year, which (in my opinion) is unacceptable.

Prediction

The Spartans won’t stand much of a chance this weekend when they take the field against the Cornhuskers.

I won’t keep them out of the win column this time (like I did last week against Rutgers). However, I’m fairly certain Michigan State will be waiting a little longer to win their first conference series of the year.

The Spartans lose the series 2-1.