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MCCOOK WEATHER

Junior Cade Povich takes a 3-1 record into Friday's series opener. Photo Credit: Maddie Washburn

Huskers Hit the Road for Series at Penn State


Junior Cade Povich takes a 3-1 record into Friday's series opener. Photo Credit: Maddie Washburn

Friday, April 16 (5 PM)
Pitching: LHP Cade Povich (3-1) vs. TBA
TV/Streaming: BTN+
Radio: Husker Sports Network
 
Saturday, April 17 (12 PM)
Pitching: RHP Chance Hroch (2-0) vs. TBA
TV/Streaming: BTN+
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Sunday, April 18 (10 AM)
Pitching: RHP Shay Schanaman (3-0) vs. TBA
TV/Streaming: BTN+
Radio: Husker Sports Network
 
Following a 2-1 series win at home over the Maryland Terrapins last weekend the Nebraska baseball team (15-6) will play its next six games on the road, starting with a three-game set at Penn State (8-13) this weekend. The series in University Park, Pa., starts Friday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park at 5 PM (CT). The teams then meet on Saturday at Noon, before wrapping up the weekend on Sunday at 10 AM.

The series will be the third straight between the two teams in University Park, as the teams also met at Medlar Field in 2017 and 2019. Nebraska finished the 2017 regular season at Penn State and secured the regular-season Big Ten title with a 21-3 win in the series finale.

The Huskers enter the weekend winners in 10 of their last 12 games and sit at the top of the Big Ten standings with a 1/2 game lead over the Michigan Wolverines (15-7). Nebraska is 9-5 away from Lincoln this season, including a 4-2 record in true road games.

The Nittany Lions enter the weekend 11th in the Big Ten with a 8-13 record after they split a pair of games with both Michigan State and Purdue last weekend at the East Lansing Pod. Penn State split a doubleheader with the Spartans on Friday (L, 7-4 & W, 7-3), shutout Purdue on Saturday 11-0 and then lost to the Boilermakers on Sunday, 8-5. Penn State is 2-4 at home this year with series losses to Maryland and Michigan.  

The Huskers and Nittany Lions have played just two common opponents so far in 2021, Maryland and Purdue. The Huskers went 5-2 in their seven games against the Terrapins and Boilermakers, while the Nittany Lions posted a 2-3 record in five games.

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

Fans can listen to Greg Sharpe and Nick Handley 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 home against Maryland. The team's split the first two games before the Huskers won the rubber match on Sunday, 14-3. The Huskers have won their past two series with wins on Sunday and a total of four times this season.

4/9: Nebraska 6 - Maryland 2
4/10: Maryland 10 - Nebraska 7
4/11: Nebraska 14 - Maryland 3

Next Up
Nebraska is on the road again next weekend with a three-game series at Michigan State. The series opener is set for 4 PM (CT) on Friday, April 23, and will be broadcast on BTN. It will be NU's fourth trip to East Lansing since joining the Big Ten and its first since 2018. Nebraska is 5-3 at McLane Stadium since 2012.

4/23: Nebraska at Michigan State (4 PM)
4/24: Nebraska at Michigan State (2 PM)
4/25: Nebraska at Michigan State (11 AM)

Win the Weekend
Nebraska has won five 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). 

• Nebraska last won five straight conference series to start at season in 2006, when NU won six straight 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).

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

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

• This season Nebraska has dropped the series opener twice - Purdue and Iowa.

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

Leading Off
• Dating back to a win at Iowa on Saturday, March 20, the Huskers have won 10 of their last 12 games entering Friday's series opener.

• Through April 14, Nebraska ranks fifth nationally with a .983 fielding percentage. NU has committed 12 errors in 21 games. The next closest Big Ten program is Michigan, who is tied for 54th nationally (.974). The national top five includes:

  1. Notre Dame (.988)
  2. NC State (.986)
  3. Oregon State (.985)
  4. Creighton (.984)
  5. Nebraska (.983)

• The Husker offense ranks in the top-30 nationally in multiple categories:

  HRs Per Game - 1.52 (12th)
  Slugging Percentage - .485 (13th)
  Sacrifice Bunts - 22 (14th)
  Scoring - 7.7 (21st)    
  On-Base Percentage - .395 (30th)

• Nebraska had 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 three in the Big Ten in multiple offensive categories, including a No. 1 ranking in six categories 

  Batting Avg. - .292 (1st)
  Runs Scored - 162 (1st)
  RBIs - 140 (1st)
  Sacrifice Bunts - 22 (1st)
  Stolen Bases - 32 (1st)
  On-Base Percentage - .395 (1st)
  Hits - 201 (2nd)  -  (Northwestern, 205)
  Home Runs - 32 (2nd)  -  (Northwestern, 45)
  Walks - 104 (2nd)  -  (Michigan, 113)

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

  Shutouts - 3 (T1st with Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan)
  Fewest Runs Allowed - 90 (2nd)  -  (Indiana, 61)
  Fewest Walks Allowed - 67 (2nd)  -  (Rutgers, 50)
  Fewest Hits Allowed - 167 (3rd)  -  (Indiana, 106) 
  Fewest Doubles Allowed - 31 (3rd)  -  (Indiana, 23)

• Spencer Schwellenbach ranks second in the Big Ten with 24 runs scored and is tied for fifth in doubles with seven. Northwestern's Anthony Calarco leads the league in both categories with 25 runs and 10 doubles. Schwellenbach is also tied for sixth in the conference in saves with four, while TJ Brock leads the way with 10 saves. 

• Schwellenbach is joined in the top 10 in runs scored by Joe Acker (T3rd, 23) and Jaxon Hallmark (T5th, 21).

• Jaxon Hallmark leads the Big Ten with 10 steals. Hallmark has stolen three bases in a game twice this season. Hallmark is also tied for third in both hits (30) and sacrifice bunts (4), as well as tied for fifth in batting average (.370) and runs scored (21)

• Freshman Max Anderson is tied for sixth in league with 28 hits.

• Joe Acker is in a three-way tie for second in the Big Ten with 16 walks. Luke Roskam is one behind Acker with 15 walks. Roskam is in a three-way tie for first in the conference with a .500 on-base percentage.

• Efry Cervantes is tied with Indiana's Collin Hopkins for the league lead with five sacrifice bunts.

• Cade Povich is tied with Penn State's Conor Larkin for sixth in strikeouts with 41.

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

Scouting the Nittany Lions
• The Nittany Lions are coming off a 2-2 weekend against Michigan State and Purdue at the East Lansing Pod. PSU split a pair of games with both the Spartans and Boilermakers.

• Penn State is 2-4 at home this year with series losses to Maryland and Michigan.

• In six home games this year the Nittany Lions are averaging 5.0 runs per game and are allowing 9.7 runs per game.

• The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten with 48 doubles, while Nebraska ranks last with 31.

• While Nebraska's offense is second in the league with 32 home runs, PSU's pitching staff has allowed just 13 homers - the third fewest in the conference.

• Gavin Homer leads the Penn State offense with a .338 batting average. No other regular starter has an average over .300.

• Curtis Robison and Jay Harry are tied for fifth in the Big Ten with seven doubles.

• Kyle Virbitskey is tied for the Big Ten lead in hit batters with eight.

• The 2021 baseball season is Rob Cooper's eighth as head coach of the Nittany Lion. Cooper was selected as the 14th head baseball coach in Penn State history on August 9, 2013.

The All-Time Series with Penn State
• Nebraska holds an 11-2 advantage in 13 previous games between the two teams. All 13 games have come with both teams as members of the Big Ten Conference. 

• Dating back to the 2017 season, the Huskers have won the last five games in the all-time series - all on the road.

• The first game between the two teams took place on May 24, 2012, at the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, and the Huskers won, 12-3.

• Nebraska is 5-1 all-time in University Park.

• The teams met for a series for the first time in 2014 and the Huskers swept the Nittany Lions at Hawks Field (13-3, 9-2, 8-4).

• Nebraska clinched the 2017 regular-season Big Ten title with a 21-3 victory in the series finale at Penn State.

• The teams have met for a Big Ten Conference series four times and this weekend will mark the third straight series in University Park. Nebraska hosted the first two series between the two teams and Penn State has hosted the last two series.

2019 - Nebraska won, 3-0 (University Park)
2017 - Nebraska won, 2-1 (University Park)
2016 - Nebraska won, 2-1 (Lincoln)
2014 - Nebraska won, 3-0 (Lincoln)

Leading Man
Joe Acker moved to the lead-off spot in the Husker lineup for the series opener at Iowa. Over the last 13 games...

• Acker has reached base in his first at-bat of the game seven times, including five walks.

• Acker leads the team in walks with 16.

• Acker has posted a .456 on-base percentage and ranks second on the team with 23 runs scored.  

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 AckerMojo Hagge and Luke Roskam.

• Entering Friday, the trio has combined to play in 482 games (Acker - 121, Hagge - 188, Roskam - 173) and 408 starts (Acker - 98, Hagge - 152, Roskam - 158).

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

2021 TV Schedule
Nebraska baseball's 2021 TV schedule was released earlier this week.

Saturday, April 10 – 2 PM – Maryland (NET)
Friday, April 23 – 4 PM  – at Michigan State (BTN)
Saturday, May 15 – 2 PM – Northwestern (NET)
Friday, May 21 – 7 PM – at Indiana (BTN)
Saturday, May 22 – 5:30 PM – at Indiana (ESPNU)
Friday, May 28 – Noon – Michigan (BTN)
Saturday, May 29 – Noon – Michigan (BTN)
Sunday, May 30 – Noon – Michigan (BTN)

Welcome Back
Not only did the Nebraska baseball team return to Hawks Field on Friday, March 26, for the first time in 319 days, but fans were also back in the stands for the first time for a Husker event during the 2020-21 athletic calendar. 

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 (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.

Schwellenbach Named Preseason All-American
Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Spencer Schwellenbach received third-team preseason All-America accolades from Baseball America and second-team honors from D1Baseball. Both publications tabbed him as a utility player.

Over his first two seasons at Nebraska, Schwellenbach batted .281, starting all 59 games he has played in for the Huskers. He played 44 games as a freshman in 2019 and 15 games as a sophomore in 2020 before the season was cut short due to COVID-19.