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2012 Big Ten preview

McJack

Scout Team
10 Year Member
Sorenson's conference previews are out. Picks Huskers 2nd in B1G behind Mich St.

Can't wait for the season to start, excited to see what the new staff can do for the team.

http://blogs.eastonbaseball.com/collegebaseballtoday/2012/02/06/2012-preview-the-big-10-conference/


- NEBRASKA (30-25, 9-17 in Big 12)

2011 ISR: 72
Starters Returning: 8
Weekend Starters: 3
Mid-Week Starters: 1
Key Relievers (20+inns.): 3
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All Conference Candidates:
OF/1B Kash Kalkowski (.299-5-42, 11SBs)
OF Chad Christensen (.292)
RHP Tom Lemke (2-0, 5.29)
RHP Jon Keller (.3-6, 3.62)
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The Good News:
So here we go. A new conference. A new attitude. And most importantly, a new head coach in charge of directing this big-money program: the inimitable Darin Erstad. The former Husker hitting machine is still a name all baseball fanatics are well-aware of after having a highly-lauded career in the Bigs recently come to an end. That name recognition will curry a lot of favor on the recruiting trail too. Can’t wait to see what corners this program turns. For this year, they’ll be loaded for bear, returning eight starters, a couple others who were part timers (including hyper-talented OF Khiry Cooper, who hit .260 and was 6-for-7 in stolen bases) and all three weekend starters on the mound in RHP Jon Keller, RHP Tyler Niederklein (8-3, 34.17) and RHP Tom Lemke (though I admit, he started 14 games as a frosh, but only five last season). Biggest news of all?… Pitching guru Ted Silva comes in to join the staff. Believe me, that’s huge. The Huskers will be soph heavy on the mound with Keller, RHP Brandon Pierce (0-1, 4.02, 2svs, 20apps) and lefties Thyler King (0-1, 2.21, .149OBA) and Zach Hirsch (0-0, 2.04, .238OBA), who should both be leaned upon more this season.

The defense, which was an outstanding .975 last season (would’ve led the Big 10) will have 1B Kurt Farmer (.275-2-32), who could make the move to 3rd base, 2B Bryan Peters (.273-2-30, 12SBs) and incoming 1B Austin Christensen (who was the Iowa Player of the Year). But Kash Kalkowski (who returns after being drafted last June) could make the move to 1st base if early indications are correct. The Big Red stole just 50 bases last year… ummmm, with coach Erstad in charge, look for that number to possibly double. The recruiting class that ended up coming to campus despite the coaching change is pretty sweet, led by LHP Aaron Bummer (31st round pick, Yankess), C Richard Stock (a transfer from USC, former 45th round pick of the Brewers) and JC transfer RHP Travis Huber (who has been drafted twice, including 39th round pick by the Marlins last June). But the real find was Minnesota shortstop Pat Kelly, who looks likely to take over the shortstop duties after a bang-em-up fall campaign.
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The Bad News:
Well, I guess it’s easy to say that the bad news with a youthful, inexperienced head coach like Darin Erstad is that you know it’ll take a while for him to get used to the gig. Beyond that, the horrible 3-8 finish to last year’s month of May was a big eyesore to the Big Red post-season hopes and, ultimately, the straw that broke the back of outgoing coach Mike Anderson, who was a long-time blood-red Husker from back in the John Sanders days. Too bad too, ‘coz despite the poor finish it looked like the Cornhuskers were making strides last season. There are only five seniors on this year’s squad. Most of the offense is back, obviously, but the Cornhuskers can’t hit just .270 again this year. There are certainly a number of players that need to reach their potential in 2012.
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Schedule Note:
Hoping for a cold front.
For the second year in a row, the Huskers have managed to get two California teams to come to Lincoln as College World Series alums California plays a three-gamer in early March and will host Cal State Bakersfield comes to town in April. You KNOW they’d love to have snow flurries in the forecast to welcome their Golden State opponents. The Big 10 lidlifter will be when they host Illinois in late-March. Unfortunately, NU will play most of the month of May away from home with seven of their final 11 games on the road.
 
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bilsker

Tom Osborne
15 Year Member
I'm pumped. We're going to win Big 10 baseball this year, and most years, thanks to Coach Erstad.

And thanks to Big 10 baseball competely blowing. The move to the Big 10 was great for the university and for the athletic department (i guess) but it's the death blow to national relevance for NU baseball.
 

Porkchopexpress

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
And thanks to Big 10 baseball competely blowing. The move to the Big 10 was great for the university and for the athletic department (i guess) but it's the death blow to national relevance for NU baseball.
Outside of a good 5 year stretch in the early 2000's, how relevant was NU baseball anyways, on a national scale? They still play in one of the best ballparks in the country, and have a coach with national appeal. I know the B1G received just 1 bid to the NCAA's, but there are things that will benefit NU also playing in the B1G. Obviously the stadium, recent track record of getting guys in the majors, and coaching stability (assuming Erstad has what it takes), because I'm guessing any B1G coach that takes his school to the "next level" is taking off for a better program not long after.
 

McJack

Scout Team
10 Year Member
Outside of a good 5 year stretch in the early 2000's, how relevant was NU baseball anyways, on a national scale? They still play in one of the best ballparks in the country, and have a coach with national appeal. I know the B1G received just 1 bid to the NCAA's, but there are things that will benefit NU also playing in the B1G. Obviously the stadium, recent track record of getting guys in the majors, and coaching stability (assuming Erstad has what it takes), because I'm guessing any B1G coach that takes his school to the "next level" is taking off for a better program not long after.
true statement. But a ray of hope, I'm a Fullerton alum and have seen the likes of Augie and Horton blow town after winning championships at a perennial contender with endless recruiting riches within a mile of campus because of better money. So if good coaches leave great programs, it certainly follows that unproven coaches will leave middling programs without even leaving a note on the door. However, I tend to think Erstad will buck that trend, I think he wants to be here, and NU can afford to at least keep themselves in the conversation with the top programs. baseball salaries are much flatter than football. Silva is a short-term gem who I hope we take full advantage of while we have him.
 
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Porkchopexpress

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
true statement. But a ray of hope, I'm a Fullerton alum and have seen the likes of Augie and Horton blow town after winning championships at a perennial contender with endless recruiting riches within a mile of campus because of better money. So if good coaches leave great programs, it certainly follows that unproven coaches will leave middling programs without even leaving a note on the door. However, I tend to think Erstad will buck that trend, I think he wants to be here, and NU can afford to at least keep themselves in the conversation with the top programs. baseball salaries are much flatter than football. Silva is a short-term gem who I hope we take full advantage of while we have him.
I don't think Erstad's going anywhere. Maybe a MLB job at some point, but no way he leaves NU for another college. I was talking about the other B1G programs. It's likely Erstad will be coaching against up and comers, or guys who aren't quite good enough to coach in the baseball power conferences. Either way, that's good for long-term success in the B1G for NU.
 
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