Nebraska baseball starts its 2023 season on Friday, heading to California for a four-game series against San Diego.
The Toreros are coming off a season in which they won the West Coast Conference before losing in the NCAA regional round. Head coach Brock Ungricht led the team to a 37-20 record in his first year leading the team. He had served as an assistant in years prior.
San Diego will serve as a good opening challenge for a Nebraska team hoping to bounce back from an underwhelming 2022.
“The adrenaline’s going for sure, just as you get closer to the season and excitement’s there,” head coach Will Bolt said on Wednesday. “We have a group of guys I know that are going to be ready to go.”
The Huskers will start the series with Emmett Olson on the mound, a third-year left-handed pitcher who was a second-team all-conference selection in 2022. Bolt praised his competitiveness and ability to “set the tone” for the weekend.
Olson was a reliever for his first year with the team before moving into a starting role later in 2022. Throughout the changes in his career, he said his mentality has remained consistent.
“From being a reliever to being a Friday night guy now, hasn’t really changed anything about my mindset or anything,” Olson said. “It’s just go out there, get outs throw strikes and good things happen.”
Two newcomers, transfer Jace Kaminska and freshman Caleb Clark, are the respective Saturday and Sunday starters, while Monday’s is yet to be determined. Bolt said that there wasn’t a clear separation between Olson and Kaminska, and who starts when could change by next weekend.
Olson is confident in the starters beside him.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “You can’t ask for much more than two pretty good arms. I mean, Caleb Clark as well too, he’s unreal as well. So I mean, having three guys that could be a Friday guy, it does wonders for the team.”
Nebraska hopes to start fast offensively in the series as well. Bolt said that even if the Huskers aren’t getting on the board in a given frame, they want to make sure they’re having extended innings. They were one of the Big Ten’s worst offenses last season, but will be looking to change that with the help of players like Max Anderson.
Anderson has been one of the team’s top hitters in his time at Nebraska, and be looked to for production again in the upcoming campaign. Still, he made sure to emphasize that it’ll a be group effort on that end.
“It feels like our talents are meshing very well,” Anderson said. “And it’s not really a single effort right now in the scrimmages, it’s been our whole entire offense coming together to produce runs, and just kind of having a well-oiled machine going.”
He praised the team’s chemistry, and said that displaying that is a goal for the first series. Bolt echoed that sentiment, along with wanting his team to take advantage of its opportunities and remain competitive throughout the weekend.
“Just playing a brand of baseball that’s very competitive, where if we get punched, we punch back,” Bolt said of what he wants to see on opening weekend. “We don’t get content over the course of a game. If we have a chance to stretch the lead, we do it. I’d like that team aspect of it to show up where guys are picking each other up. If we make a mistake, don’t let it turn into two.”
Other news and notes
>> Entering the season, the roster is feeling the impact of injuries. Bolt said that Cayden Brumbaugh, Trey Frahm and Hayden Lewis are all out for the year.
A few more players are “dinged up” and unavailable at the moment, such as CJ Hood and Bryce Hughes.