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Huskers Head to San Diego Seeking More of the ‘Best Pitch in Baseball’

February 21, 2020

Here’s the pitch.

“As a pitcher, you have to trust your stuff,” Will Bolt said.

Makes sense, right?

“I think that’s what we saw from the guys that did have success,” Bolt said of Nebraska’s season-opening series at Baylor. “They trusted their stuff; they’d get ahead.”

That last part was especially important, getting ahead in the count.

“When we did get ahead in the count, they (Bears) hit .150. But we were behind in the count too much, so . . . it’s just trusting your stuff,” said Bolt.

The Huskers used 11 pitchers at Baylor, winning the opener 19-9, then losing twice, the first in 10 innings. The staff had a combined 6.49 ERA and walked 16 in 26.1 innings.

Nebraska pitchers struck out 23. Third-game starter Cade Povich, as well as relievers Max Schreiber, Kyle Perry and Tyler Martin, didn’t allow an earned run.

Bolt and pitching coach Jeff Christy will continue to evaluate the rotation when the Huskers play in the Tony Gwynn Legacy event in San Diego this weekend. They’ll open against San Diego at San Diego’s Fowler Park on Friday, beginning at 8 p.m. CST, then play San Diego State and Arizona on Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (noon) at San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Nebraska’s three opponents have a combined record of 9-3.

Despite dropping the last two games at Baylor, it seems as if the Huskers haven’t lost their enthusiasm. The team’s competitive attitude is “above and beyond,” said sophomore infielder Cam Chick, who went 5-for-16, with a triple, home run and four RBIs in the three games.

“Failure is going to happen because it’s baseball. That’s the name of the game; you’re going to fail a lot. It’s what you do when you fail, like bouncing back from it. This team, we didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. We were going to come back and fight, no matter what.”

Nebraska showed that in the second game.

“I thought we played well enough to win two out of three games,” Bolt said. “If we’d have been told that back in November, we’d have taken it, you know, and we’d take it every day of the week.

“Sunday we probably let get away from us a little bit . . . had some at-bats that we’d been cashing in on the first two days that turned into double plays, and defensively, obviously, wasn’t clean enough.”

Only three of Baylor’s seven runs on Sunday were earned.

“I was really pleased with how our guys competed,” said Bolt. “It was a very competitive Baylor team that we played against, and our guys were ready to rock.

“I was pleased with how they got after it.”

Starting second baseman Jaxon Hallmark left Friday night’s game early and didn’t return. He’ll make the trip to San Diego, but his availability is uncertain, according to Bolt.

It’s “kind of a day-to-day thing with him,” said Bolt.

Nebraska’s starting pitchers will be the same: Gareth Stroh, Colby Gomes and Povich.

They’ll be facing potent offenses. San Diego scored 26 runs in four games, including seven in a victory (7-3) against Minnesota. San Diego State scored 22 runs in four games. And Arizona scored 40 runs in four games, only two of them in a loss (5-2) against Minnesota.

“You’re going to get hit, but if you get ahead and make quality pitches, you’re ahead in the count, it’s a lot tougher (on batters),” said Bolt. “And so whether you’re facing the No. 1 offense in the country or the No. 300 offense in the country, you’ve gotta throw strike one.”

That’s the bottom line, “really, that’s what it boils down to, is the best pitch in baseball (has) always been strike one; that’s the best pitch in baseball,” Bolt said.

“So we need to do a better job of that this weekend.”

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