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Minnesota Preview

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
Had the opportunity to speak with someone close to the program this week so thought i'd give a little preview. Won't be doing this a ton before weekend conference series', but this is a big weekend for the Huskers.

Minnesota, coming off a sweep of Penn State and a mid-week "get right" game against a Division 3 school, enters this weekend with an 8-13 record, and an RPI ranking of 51st. Don't let the record fool you, like Nebraska, they know they have to go and get humbled a bit early in the season down south... their losses:

Minnesota Losses:
New Mexico (1-11)
Oregon State (1-13)
Gonzaga (5-6)
Dallas Baptist (0-9)
Dallas Baptist (5-7)
NC State (2-3)
NC State (4-8)
NC State (4-5)
Oregon State (1-2)
San Diego (5-6)
Washington (5-7)
Long Beach State (4-6)
Pepperdine (12-13)

2 losses to #2 Oregon State, 3 losses to #11 North Carolina State, 1 loss to #23 Pepperdine, 1 loss to #25 Gonzaga, 2 losses to #31 Dallas Baptist, I could go on, but that's a rough stretch for a northern school. They bring a 4 game winning streak into this weekends series and like Nebraska are undefeated in conference after sweeping Penn State. Minnesota is the preseason favorite to win the conference, and without Indiana on the schedule for the Big Red, this is a huge series, as both teams are currently tied for first in the conference after 3 games.

The Gophers have a Friday night starter in Max Meyer that has MLB scouts drooling, who moved to that role from closer last year and early this year, when a couple of the Minnesota starters really struggled. Friday night is going to be a pitchers game, where Nebraska will need to continue their trend of strong play in the field and minimal walks. Before this week started, I said 3-1 is what we needed to shoot for. We are currently 1-0, and I expect this series to be 2-1 one way or the other. I would be shocked by a sweep from either team.

Keys to the game:

- Matt Waldron has only given up 2 free passes (walks) in his 5 appearances. Minnesota is hitting .264 as a team, and no one with more than 5 starts is hitting over .300 for them. You can bet the gameplan will be to make them earn it, and not give free passes or errors in the field. Don't let the average fool you too much tho, as we have already discussed who they have played which is weighing down those numbers a bit.

- Great game for Angelo Altavilla against Crayton. If you remember, I stated Erstad had to be hoping for him to "get right" in the next 4 games to make his decision easy. From what i've heard, Altavilla is staying in the lineup due to his leadership and defensive abilities. His 5-5 day getting on base Tuesday has to help the confidence heading back home to Minnesota.

- Sticking with Altavilla, with Schwellenbach out this weekend, that leaves Chick (.271), Henwood (.294), and Hallmark (.271) to battle it out for the 2B and 3B spots. Nice to have that flexibility, and when you add Schwellenbach (.328) in the next few weeks, we have options.

- Minnesota has a Nebraska native on their staff in Joshua Culver (Creighton Prep). Many people were a bit upset when we lost him to Minnesota, he is currently 2-1 with a 5.08 ERA, and last year was 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA. You can bet he will be ready for this series.

- The outfield, what a difference a year can make for us... Palensky (.329), Hagge (.309), and Acker (.360) make things pretty salty out there and an athletic defense. Throw in Cross (.318) and if you want to add Hallmark there, and you have options out there as well.

- Luke Roskam may be a pitchers matchup decision where they alternate him and Gomes depending on what pitcher they are facing. If Roskam can break out of his slump, this lineup from top to bottom is night and day from what we saw in 2018.

Summary
It's still early, but it looks like our weekend rotation is settled with Waldron, Fisher, and Eddins. Eddins threw a great game last Sunday, and if we can get the same type of pitching as last weekend, our bats give us a shot. This will be much tougher sledding than playing Sparty at home, but 2-1 is the goal, and it's absolutely achievable.

Other B1G thoughts

- Freaking Indiana's baseball schedule to start the year in conference frustrates me:
Iowa (already swept)
Maryland (Crayton swept)
Penn State (Minnesota swept)
Purdue (one game, i'll give them this)
Michigan State (Nebraska swept)

And then they finally play Minnesota. They legitimately could be 12-1 in conference before playing anyone worth anything. But it's tough to sweep, so 10-3 is more likely.
 
Last edited:

cchusker

Recruit
Had the opportunity to speak with someone close to the program this week so thought i'd give a little preview. Won't be doing this a ton before weekend conference series', but this is a big weekend for the Huskers.

Minnesota, coming off a sweep of Penn State and a mid-week "get right" game against a Division 3 school, enters this weekend with an 8-13 record, and an RPI ranking of 51st. Don't let the record fool you, like Nebraska, they know they have to go and get humbled a bit early in the season down south... their losses:

Minnesota Losses:
New Mexico (1-11)
Oregon State (1-13)
Gonzaga (5-6)
Dallas Baptist (0-9)
Dallas Baptist (5-7)
NC State (2-3)
NC State (4-8)
NC State (4-5)
Oregon State (1-2)
San Diego (5-6)
Washington (5-7)
Long Beach State (4-6)
Pepperdine (12-13)

2 losses to #2 Oregon State, 3 losses to #11 North Carolina State, 1 loss to #23 Pepperdine, 1 loss to #25 Gonzaga, 2 losses to #31 Dallas Baptist, I could go on, but that's a rough stretch for a northern school. They bring a 4 game winning streak into this weekends series and like Nebraska are undefeated in conference after sweeping Penn State. Minnesota is the preseason favorite to win the conference, and without Indiana on the schedule for the Big Red, this is a huge series, as both teams are currently tied for first in the conference after 3 games.

The Gophers have a Friday night starter in Max Meyer that has MLB scouts drooling, who moved to that role from closer last year and early this year, when a couple of the Minnesota starters really struggled. Friday night is going to be a pitchers game, where Nebraska will need to continue their trend of strong play in the field and minimal walks. Before this week started, I said 3-1 is what we needed to shoot for. We are currently 1-0, and I expect this series to be 2-1 one way or the other. I would be shocked by a sweep from either team.

Keys to the game:

- Matt Waldron has only given up 2 free passes (walks) in his 5 appearances. Minnesota is hitting .264 as a team, and no one with more than 5 starts is hitting over .300 for them. You can bet the gameplan will be to make them earn it, and not give free passes or errors in the field. Don't let the average fool you too much tho, as we have already discussed who they have played which is weighing down those numbers a bit.

- Great game for Angelo Altavilla against Crayton. If you remember, I stated Erstad had to be hoping for him to "get right" in the next 4 games to make his decision easy. From what i've heard, Altavilla is staying in the lineup due to his leadership and defensive abilities. His 5-5 day getting on base Tuesday has to help the confidence heading back home to Minnesota.

- Sticking with Altavilla, with Schwellenbach out this weekend, that leaves Chick (.271), Henwood (.294), and Hallmark (.271) to battle it out for the 2B and 3B spots. Nice to have that flexibility, and when you add Schwellenbach (.328) in the next few weeks, we have options.

- Minnesota has a Nebraska native on their staff in Joshua Culver (Creighton Prep). Many people were a bit upset when we lost him to Minnesota, he is currently 2-1 with a 5.08 ERA, and last year was 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA. You can bet he will be ready for this series.

- The outfield, what a difference a year can make for us... Palensky (.329), Hagge (.309), and Acker (.360) make things pretty salty out there and an athletic defense. Throw in Cross (.318) and if you want to add Hallmark there, and you have options out there as well.

- Luke Roskam may be a pitchers matchup decision where they alternate him and Gomes depending on what pitcher they are facing. If Roskam can break out of his slump, this lineup from top to bottom is night and day from what we saw in 2018.

Summary
It's still early, but it looks like our weekend rotation is settled with Waldron, Fisher, and Eddins. Eddins threw a great game last Sunday, and if we can get the same type of pitching as last weekend, our bats give us a shot. This will be much tougher sledding than playing Sparty at home, but 2-1 is the goal, and it's absolutely achievable.

Other B1G thoughts

- Freaking Indiana's baseball schedule to start the year in conference frustrates me:
Iowa (already swept)
Maryland (Crayton swept)
Penn State (Minnesota swept)
Purdue (one game, i'll give them this)
Michigan State (Nebraska swept)

And then they finally play Minnesota. They legitimately could be 12-1 in conference before playing anyone worth anything. But it's tough to sweep, so 10-3 is more likely.
 

cchusker

Recruit
Good analysis.....Meyer is also one of their leading hitters as he is DH even when he is the starting pitcher.....Minnesota will start 3 righthanders this week. I would love to see Roskam break out...or at least "get right" like Altavilla just did...we need his bat. You correctly stated not to underestimate the Gophers based on their won lost record...they have suffered one run (or two) tough losses to some quality teams. Need a good weekend! Lefthanded hiters must produce.
 

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
Good analysis.....Meyer is also one of their leading hitters as he is DH even when he is the starting pitcher.....Minnesota will start 3 righthanders this week. I would love to see Roskam break out...or at least "get right" like Altavilla just did...we need his bat. You correctly stated not to underestimate the Gophers based on their won lost record...they have suffered one run (or two) tough losses to some quality teams. Need a good weekend! Lefthanded hiters must produce.
Meyer is one of the guys hitting at .299, however, he is still looking for his first hit in league play. I assume that will come this weekend, but it’s nice to play them with him slumping a bit.

If we can get Roskam going, we are as dangerous as any team in the B1G.
 
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