Published Thursday, March 15, 2012 AT 9:35 AM / Updated at 11:24 PM
Baseball: Scheffert heating up; additional series notes
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

How do you know junior Josh Scheffert’s locked in at the plate? He proved it Tuesday against South Dakota State, when he stepped in the box after sitting all game long and blasted a no-doubt homer to left field.

It was Nebraska’s first pinch-hit home run since Kyle Bubak had one against Southeast Missouri State on May 8, 2010.

Scheffert hit his bomb in the seventh inning and added a single in the eighth. He’s hitting .375 on the homestand with seven runs, six RBI and two home runs.

“Hard work. Great approach,” coach Darin Erstad said. “He’s got a lot of confidence right now, but you get that confidence by working hard. He’s put himself in position to succeed and he’s reaping the benefits right now.”

Scheffert’s in the zone. Thing is, Nebraska has seemed to have at least one player in a similar type of hot streak since the season began.

Junior Chad Christensen went 6 for 10 in the opening series against Gonzaga. Juniors Rich Sanguinetti and Richard Stock combined for 16 hits in 36 at-bats (a combined .444 average) at the Kleberg Bank College Classic. Sophomore Michael Pritchard was 5 for 8 in Minneapolis.

It’s Scheffert’s turn now, apparently. We’ll see if he carries the momentum into the weekend. By the way, if you missed my recap of the Cal series finale, it was centered on Scheffert’s early success.

A short preview about the Louisiana Tech series is here. Action begins at 3:05 p.m. Thursday at Haymarket Park.

Notes for the weekend are below…

NEBRASKA

>> Scheffert’s played a pretty smooth third base in place of Kurt Farmer (calf), whose status is still day-to-day. Junior Kash Kalkowski (groin) is being evaluated on a daily basis, too. Senior catcher Cory Burleson (hit by a pitch on the chin Tuesday) should be in the lineup this weekend, but he was set to re-evaluated on the Huskers’ off-day Wednesday.

>> The Huskers’ starting pitchers probably aren’t too pleased with the 6.56 ERA that they’ve recorded over the last seven games (not counting midweek matchups). They’ve given up 51 hits in 35 2/3 innings pitched, striking out 19 and walking six. It seems they’re pitching to contact, but when breaks haven’t gone their way, they’ve just been unable to wiggle out of jams.

>> Senior Kale Kiser’s hitting .196, but his on-base percentage is .439. Pretty remarkable stat.

>> Opponents are hitting just .120 against left-handed reliever Tyler King. The sophomore has walked four batters and hit two others in 7 2/3 innings, though.

LOUISIANA TECH

>> The Bulldogs, picked to finish sixth in the Western Athletic Conference’s preseason poll, just lost to Creighton 3-1 Thursday. They did pick up a midweek win over Vanderbilt on Feb. 29 (but the Commodores appear to be in rebuilding mode after getting swept by Stanford and Oregon to start the year).

>> Players to watch: First baseman Alex Williams is batting .431 and he’s already hit six home runs. Shortstop Ryan Gebhardt was a Louisville Slugger freshman All-American last year. Closer Caleb Dudley needs one save to tie the program’s career record (18).

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.

Comments

  1. Tony says:

    I don’t think that NU’s pitching staff needs to do as well as Creighton’s did.(But, I hope that they do.) I think our offense is better. It would be great if both teams could maske the NCAA tournament this year.