Nebraska head coach Will Bolt takes notes during the game against Rutgers
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Huskers Focus on Positives Heading Into Series Against South Alabama

February 23, 2023

One week into the the regular season, Nebraska baseball is searching for its first win.

The Huskers avoided losing every game in their season-opening series against San Diego, tying to close it out on Monday. Their 0-3-1 record marks the program’s worst opening weekend since 2013. That team eventually lost its first seven games before finishing the year 29-30.

Despite the slow start, there are positives to be taken away. The competition was stiff, as San Diego is coming off a 2022 season in which it made NCAA Regionals. Husker head coach Will Bolt complimented the Toreros’ lineup at Wednesday’s press conference.

Much of his availability, along with the time three players spent talking to media, centered on the good. Bolt said that while the team was disappointed about the final scores, the coaching staff needs to be able to take a broader look at things.

“I heard this a long, long time ago when I first got into coaching,” he said. “The losses at the beginning of the year, the L’s can stand for learning if you treat it the right way.”

He said that after the first weekend, a coach can get a pretty good idea about the makeup of his team. In that sense, he saw a lot of good things. The offense recorded double-digit hits in three of the four games, and Nebraska totaled 25 runs across the final two.

Freshman Dylan Carey highlighted that effort, totaling eight hits, including two runs and two doubles in 17 at-bats. Five players recorded at least four RBI, and the team drew 18 walks. Carey said that his nerves faded away after his first plate appearance, and the latter half of the series is exactly what the offense wants to be.

“The third and fourth game is how we see ourselves,” he said. “We’re a good team, we’re a good offensive team and I expect us to have runs put up like that.”

Garrett Anglim, whose six hits included a triple, also said he saw that the team has the pieces to succeed. The most encouraging thing he saw was the fight Nebraska put up. In the first two games, the Huskers trailed before eventually tying it up. In the finale, they went from down six runs to up six.

They didn’t finish well in any of those contests, however, along with blowing a six-run advantages in the last two games. Much of that falls on the pitching, particularly relievers. Starters Emmett Olson, Jace Kaminska and Caleb Clark each put in at least four full innings on the mound and performed well until the innings in which they were respectively pulled.

The pitching staff as a whole issued 20 walks hit 10 batters in the series. The worst inning for the team was the bottom of the fourth in the final game, where San Diego scored nine runs. Nebraska used four pitchers in that frame, combining to allow four walks and two home runs.

“I didn’t think the bullpen was very competitive,” Bolt said. “Kind of in general, the things that we keep track of, first pitch strikes, 1-1 counts, 3-2 counts, shutdown innings, we were miserable in all those categories.”

Struggles like that can be “contagious,” the coach said, just as success on the mound can be. He said that he wanted his team to “set the tone” better on both sides in the series.

That’ll be a goal in the upcoming road series against South Alabama. The Jaguars have started the year 4-1, winning three games on their opening weekend and beating Nicholls on Wednesday. They finished fifth in the Sun Belt last year with a 31-23 overall record and lost their first game of the conference tournament.

Nebraska has a chance to shake off some of its opening weekend struggles in Mobile, Alabama, and that’ll start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

“We’re going to have to get some things sorted out certainly,” Bolt said. “But we’re going to continue working at it and this team’s going to have resiliency.”

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Tags: Baseball